I am a member of the #DisneyMustPay Joint Task Force, a group of various writers’ organizations (SFWA, MWA, ITW, etc), that is demanding that authors, comic book & graphic novel creators get paid the royalties they’ve earned for their work from Disney & its companies. Here’s the full press release:
LOS ANGELES (August 12, 2021) – The #DisneyMustPay Joint Task Force is expanding its focus and reaching out to all comic book and graphic novel creators who may be missing royalty statements and payments from Disney and its companies.
“Writers, artists, illustrators, letterers, and other artists are valued members of the creative teams that produce art and literature that is enjoyed by millions,” said Mary Robinette Kowal, Task Force Chair. “We are inviting these talented artists to share their stories and we will fight for them to receive the money that is owed to them.”
All potentially affected writers and artists should contact the Task Force to share their stories. Creators who are missing royalties or royalty statements may fill out this form hosted by SFWA. Anonymity is guaranteed.
Lee Goldberg, Task Force member and founder of the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers (IAMTW), adds his thoughts about the need for the #DisneyMustPay Task Force to expand its reach to all creators: “Novelists and illustrators provide a rich, all-encompassing story-telling experience, their words creating fully flesh-out characters and detailed images, if not entire worlds and universes, in the readers’ minds. The authors and artists honored their obligation to write and create their books. Now Disney should have the decency and integrity to honor their obligation to pay them. It’s that simple.”
Sandra Wong, National President of Sisters in Crime, states, “Sisters in Crime believes that writers and creators should be paid what they’re legally owed for their work, no matter the media or genre. We joined the Task Force to help spread the word to potentially affected authors, since Disney has placed the onus to be paid on writers and creators, and to lend our voice to an issue which has potential consequences for all creators.”
The Task Force’s goals are to ensure that all writers and creators who are owed royalties and/or statements for their media-tie in work are identified and that Disney and other companies honor their contractual obligations to those writers and creators after acquiring the companies that originally hired them.
Fans, fellow writers, and the creative community need to continue to post on social media showing their support so the #DisneyMustPay Joint Task Force can help writers. Thanks to their support, the message is reaching Disney and related organizations, to alert them to the work they need to do to honor their contractual obligations.
Progress has been made, most notably ensuring that three well-known media tie-in authors have been paid and attaining the cooperation of BOOM! Studios in identifying affected authors. However, more than a dozen additional authors are still in negotiations with Disney. Many of them, especially ones with lesser-known names, find communications with Disney repeatedly stalled until pressure is again applied by the Task Force and its supporters.
The #DisneyMustPay Joint Task Force, formed by SFWA, includes the Authors Guild, Horror Writers Association, International Association of Media Tie-In Writers (IAMTW), International Thriller Writers, Mystery Writers of America, National Writers Union, Novelists, Inc., Romance Writers of America, and Sisters in Crime (SinC). Individual writers on the Task Force include Neil Gaiman, Lee Goldberg, Mary Robinette Kowal, Chuck Wendig, and Tess Garritsen. The Task Force identifies and guides authors and creators who might be owed money. Disney is refusing to cooperate with the task force to identify affected authors.
The #DisneyMustPay Joint Task Force is working to make sure creators’ contracts are honored, but individual negotiations are rightly between the creators, their agents, and the rights holder. The Disney Task Force is working to address structural and systemic concerns.
Acknowledging excellence in this very competitive field, the IAMTW’s Scribe Awards honor licensed works that tie in with other media such as television, movies, gaming, or comic books. They include original works set in established universes, and adaptations of stories that have appeared in other formats and that cross all genres. Tie-in works run the gamut from westerns to mysteries to procedurals, from science fiction to fantasy to horror, from action and adventure to superheroes. HALO, Elementary, 24, Star Trek, Mike Hammer, Star Wars, Shadowrun, Doctor Who: these represent just a few.
The Scribe Award winners will be announced at ComicCon San Diego in July. The exact day, time and location of the Scribes Panel including the award ceremony will be announced shortly.
IAMTW thanks everyone who sent entries, all wonderful, for consideration. Congratulations to the following nominees:
BEST ORIGINAL NOVEL – GENERAL
Elementary:The Ghost Line by Adam Christopher
Kill Me, Darling by Mickey Spillane & Max Allan Collins
Don Pendleton’s Mack Bolan: Desert Falcons by Michael A. Black
24: Rogue by David Mack
BEST ORIGINAL NOVEL – SPECULATIVE
Deadlands: Ghostwalkers by Jonathan Maberry HALO: Last Light by Troy Denning HALO: New Blood by Matt Forbeck Pathfinder: Forge of Ashes by Josh Vogt Shadowrun: Borrowed Time by R. L. King Star Trek The Next Generation: Armageddon’s Arrow by Dayton Ward Star Trek Seekers 3: Long Shot by David Mack
ADAPTED NOVEL – GENERAL AND SPECULATIVE
Backcountry by D. E. McDonald
Batman:Arkham Knight by Marv Wolfman
Crimson Peak by Nancy Holder
MANOS – The Hands of Fate by Stephen D. Sullivan
Star Wars: Dark Disciple by Christie Golden
Mike Hammer The Strand “Fallout” by Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins
Shadowrun: World of Shadows “Swamp of Spirits” by Jason M. Hardy
The X-Files: Trust No One “Back in El Paso My Life Will Be Worthless” by Keith R. A. DeCandido
The X-Files: Trust No One “Dusk” by Paul Crilley
The X-Files: Trust No One “Non Gratum Anus Rodentum” by Brian Keene
The X-Files: Trust No One “Statues” by Kevin J. Anderson
Dark Shadows “Bloodlust” by Alan Flanagan, Will Howells and Joseph Lidster Dark Shadows “In the Twinkling of an Eye” Penelope Faith Doctor Who “The Red Lady” by John Dorney Doctor Who “Damaged Goods” by Jonathan Morris PathfinderLegends: “Mummy’s Mask: Empty Graves” by Cavan Scott
Star Wars: Kenobi by John Jackson Miller won the Best Origial Novel in the Speculative fiction catergory while Pacific Rim by Alex Irvine won Best Adaptation. The Best Audio Award went to Blake’s 7 The Armageddon Storm – by Cavan Scott and Mark Wright and Mike Hammer: “So Long, Chief” by Max Allan Collins and Mickey Spillane won for Best Short Story. The Archie Comics tie-in Kevin by Paul Kupperberg won the Best Young Adult Scribe.
Author Diane Duane was selected as the 2014 Grandmaster, the highest honor awarded by the International Association of Media Tie-In Writing, recognizing her achievements writing novels based on movie and television shows.
The annual award, also known as the Faust, recognizes Ms. Duane’s huge body of work and amazing versatility. A true master of multiple media, Ms. Duane has written for television and comics, and authored short stories and novels. She has written Star Trek and X-Men, Spiderman and Seaquest DSV. Her original series include Young Wizards, Feline Wizards, The Middle Kingdom. Her tv credits include both animated (Disney’s Duck Tales) and live action (Star Trek the Next Generation) and Dark Kingdom: The Dragon King.
Congratulations to the winners! Here’s the full list of nominees :
Blake’s 7: The Armageddon Storm – by Cavan Scott and Mark Wright
Dark Shadows – 33: The Phantom Bride – by Mark Thomas Passmore
Dark Shadows – 37: The Flip Side – by Cody Quijano-Schell
Mike Hammer: “So Long, Chief” by Max Allan Collins and Mickey Spillane
Star Trek Online: “Mirror Image” by Christine Thompson
After Earth: “Savior” by Michael Jan Friedman
After Earth: “Redemption” by Robert Greenberger
Warhammer: “The Dark Hollows of Memory” by David Annandale
Shadowrun: “Locks and Keys” by Jennifer Brozek
Original Novel General
Monk: Mr. Monk Helps Himself by Hy Conrad
The Executioner: Sleeping Dragons by Michael A. Black
Leverage: The Bestseller Job by Greg Cox
Leverage: The Zoo Job by Keith R. A. DeCandido
Murder She Wrote: Close-Up on Murder by Donald Bain
Original Novel Speculative
Supernatural: The Roads Not Taken by Tim Waggoner
Fringe: The Zodiac Paradox by Christa Faust
Star Wars: Kenobi by John Jackson Miller
Supernatural: Fresh Meat by Alice Henderson
Star Trek: From History’s Shadow by Dayton Ward
Archie comics: Kevin by Paul Kupperberg.
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 byStacia Deutsch
The International Association of Media Tie-In Writers (www.iamtw.org) has announced the nominees for the 2014 Scribe Awards, recognizing the excellence in the field of media tie-in writing… the best thriller novels, mystery novels and science fiction novels based on movies, TV shows and games.
The winners will be announced, and awards presented, in July at the San Diego Comic-Con.
The 2014 Scribes Nominees:
Best Adaptation (Noveliization)
Man of Steel by Greg Cox 47 Ronin by Joan D. Vinge Pacific Rim by Alex Irvine
Best General Original
The Executioner:Sleeping Dragons by Michael A. Black Murder She Wrote: Close-Up on Murder by Donald Bain Leverage: The Bestseller Job by Greg Cox Leverage: The Zoo Job by Keith R. A. DeCandido Mr. Monk Helps Himself by Hy Conrad
Best Speculative Original
From History’s Shadow by Dayton Ward Supernatural: Fresh Meat by Alice Henderson Supernatural: The Roads not Taken by Tim Waggoner Fringe: The Zodiac Paradox by Christa Faust Kenobi by John Jackson Miller
Best Short Story
“Savior” by Michael Jan Friedman
“Redemption” by Robert Greenberger
“Locks and Keys” by Jennifer Brozek
“Mirror Image” by Christine M. Thompson
“So Long, Chief” by Max Allan Collins and Mickey Spillane
“The Dark Hollows of Memory” by David Annandale
Best Young Adult
Kevin by Paul Kupperberg Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 by Stacia Deutsch The Croods by Tracey West
Dark Shadows – 33. The Phantom Bride by Mark Thomas Passmore
Dark Shadows – 37. The Flip Side by Cody Quijano-Schell
Blake’s 7 The Armageddon Storm – by Cavan Scott and Mark Wright
There have been lots of questions and concerns among professional “tie-in” writers — the authors who write books based on TV shows, movies, games, etc — about Amazon’s new Kindle Worlds program. So the International Association of Media Tie-in Writers, which I co-founded with Max Allan Collins,approached Amazon’s Philip Patrick, Director, Business Development and Publisher of Kindle Worlds, to see if he’d be willing to answer some questions from our members and, to our delight, he was. Here are some of the questions and his replies:
Q: I have a mid-list career (and growing) as a cozy mystery writer, and as an indie publisher. Work in tie-ins has become harder to find and less lucrative over the last couple years, and I’ve mostly stepped back from the field. Initially I dismissed Kindle Worlds as a bad bet. But now I am rethinking that. Do you see this program as a way to expand the troubled tie-in market for authors and to create more opportunities for franchise holders?
Philip Patrick: We see Kindle Worlds as another option for all writers and readers, and a great opportunity for professional writers to explore the stories and Worlds they feel passionate about. Licensors have an opportunity to deeply engage with their enthusiastic fans, and earn new revenues from the Worlds they created. Our job is to create the best possible experience for writers, readers, and World licensors.
Q: There’s lots of fanfiction out there and the vast majority is awful. What kind of curation is Kindle Worlds going to do, not so much for adherence to franchise rules but in terms of writing quality?
PP: Part of our mission at Kindle Worlds and Amazon Publishing is to act as a laboratory and develop new ways for writers to be creative, to connect with readers, and to earn money. In the case of Kindle Worlds, we don’t see ourselves as curators, because part of our job is to open up these Worlds to writers and readers who feel passionately about their characters and stories. Ultimately our customers will decide which writers and stories they enjoy through their reviews, but the quality is already coming through: Kindle Worlds stories have received great reviews – more than 840 customer reviews, in total – averaging around 4.3 stars. The prospect of selling a book and having it get reviewed by passionate fans makes a writer better, we think.
Q: What other properties does KW expect to acquire? Can you talk about what type of properties they are interested in and what makes them appropriate for KW?
PP: It all comes down to great storytelling, compelling characters, and vibrant geographies that writers are excited to explore. Some Worlds are going to be more current than others, of course, but there are many iconic works and characters that Kindle Worlds writers are going to love.
Q: What is the criteria and process for selecting worlds/franchises/properties, how are the owners compensated, etc? Can authors contact Amazon about licensing their books and short fiction for Kindle Worlds? Basically, what opportunities exist for authors on the licensing side of KW?
PP: We are always looking for new Worlds from authors and other licensors, and because royalties are split three ways – between the licensor, the writer, and the publisher – there is incentive and opportunity for all three.
Q: KW allows authors to keep their copyrights. Yet the effect of the agreement is work-for-hire. Can you explain your thinking?
PP: Kindle Worlds differs from works-for-hire in that our authors retain 35% of net revenue of their books’ sales. We like to think of our royalties as an incentive to write really good stuff, so it sells well for a long time. Authors get to contribute to a World and make an on-going profit off their original works in that World, which is really cool, a win-win for the author and the World. An author grants us an exclusive license to the story and all of the original elements the author includes in that story. We then allow the original World licensor and other Kindle Worlds authors to use those new elements. That seems fair to us and it’s why we have the rights set up as we do. If a writer doesn’t want to make that concession, we understand and we have a lot of ways they can publish their own original work on Amazon.
Q: The audio royalty seems low, as does the sublicense royalty. Can this be negotiated on an individual basis?
PP: No, we don’t negotiate individual terms. We feel the royalty rates are very competitive.
Q: With the price of the work to be set by Amazon and with the royalty rate set at 35%, what incentive is there for a writer to write stories longer than 10,000 words? If a longer story is going to get the same rate as a shorter work, it would seem to make the most sense for a writer to write more short works than one longer one (e.g., 5x 10k word stories rather than 1x 50k story). Can you address this seeming inequality of payment?
PP: The current standard author’s royalty rate for works of at least 10,000 words is 35% of net revenue, while shorter works (between 5,000 to 10,000 words) pay authors a digital royalty of 20% of net revenue. Kindle Worlds is an option and a choice for authors – we think many will quite like the choice.
Q: KW reserves the right not to publish submitted works. Could you provide some information as to what happens during the review and approval process? What happens after a writer hits the submit button? Does Amazon review the story, does the IP holder review the story? Are there editorial changes to be made or is the story simply approved or denied without editorial changes to be made?
PP: Every Licensor sets Content Guidelines for their Worlds. Once a writer submits his or her story, we review it to ensure that it follows those Content Guidelines for its World. The pre-publication review process typically takes a day or two. If we have questions during the review, we reach out to the author to figure out answers. But there is no storyline approval a writer has to go through. This is an open playing field with some boundaries (the Content Guidelines), but if a writer writes within those Guidelines, then we very much expect to publish the writer’s story.
Q:What are the top three mistakes writers are making when submitting stories to KW and what can writers, professional and amateur, do to make the KW process easier on themselves from submission to approval?
PP: Great question. My biggest piece of advice would be to follow the Content Guidelines and really focus on a story that will appeal to a World’s core fan base. As you all know, that takes some work to do. But it is worth it.
Q: Will Amazon promote works by established authors differently than works by “fans”? Would KW let readers know our credits so they can take that into account when deciding whether to make a purchase? If so, how do we let KW “editors” know during the submission process that we are pros with published books, also available on Amazon, to our credit?
PP: Every story will ultimately stand on its own merits, particularly the stories our customers respond to with positive reviews and recommendations. Amazon highlights all of an author’s works through their author pages, both previously published novels and Kindle Worlds titles.
Q: Say an author wants to write a Quantum Leap novel (expired show) or Person of Interest (a current Warner Brothers Television show). Can an author work with KW to obtain a license to write in that universe?
PP: We know that a lot of IAMTW members have long and deep relationships with both current and expired properties and we’re happy to receive suggestions. Our feedback email on site is checked on a regular basis and that is a great way to reach us.
Q: How does the editorial staff handle creative control specifically related to the individual property? An example: I write a Vampire Diaries novel where I kill everyone off. Readers complain that I don’t have the voice right, I clearly have never watched the show, etc. Do readers have a say in whether a KW book remains in print? Will KW ask an author to do a rewrite in response to reader reviews?
PP: One creative challenge in Kindle Worlds is that incredibly passionate and knowledgeable fans are typically among the first readers. If a story misses the mark, those fans will voice their response through customer reviews. How a writer responds to customer reviews is really up to him or her. We wouldn’t put a book out of print or demand re-writes based on customer reviews alone. The Kindle Worlds platform is flexible enough, though, for a writer to rework and republish their story based on customer feedback. That’s a unique feature of digital publishing overall: a writer can modify his or her work almost in real time, as they receive critical feedback. We’d gladly accept a new version of a book if a writer wanted to make changes after customer reviews came rolling in.
Q: At the moment the requirement to have a US bank account is a barrier for non-US writers to become involved with Kindle Worlds. Are any plans to relax this or provide another route.
PP: Yes, we are working to make the platform more accessible globally.
Q: Do publishers and license holders (Universal, Paramount, etc.) see this program as a real threat to the tie-in publishing world as it exists now? Are they unlikely to allow KW fiction if an existing book line (for example, Monk, Star Trek, Leverage, Supernatural, etc.) already exists? The argument against KW could be “why would a reader buy a $7.99 Supernatural book if they can get the KW stories for significantly less?”
PP: This is a new option and a choice for those licensors. Kindle Worlds may not be attractive for everyone, and that’s fine. But the response so far has been very encouraging, and we continue to receive useful feedback from all of our partners: licensors, writers, and fans.
Q: On the author side, are the publishers pressuring franchise holders NOT to do business with KW because they are concerned fewer pro authors will work for them, with the restriction and tiny royalties/advances, when they can get a bigger royalty writing for KW?
PP: You’d have to talk to them.
Q: Is one of the things holding back KW from acquiring more name-brand franchises (Star Trek, Superman, X-Files, Twilight Zone, Dr. Who, etc.) that franchise holders are worried that allowing non-pro, cheaper Kindle World’s fiction will diminish the value, financially and creatively, of their properties?
PP: First, I’d say we are thrilled with the Kindle Worlds we’ve launched to date, and very excited about what we have coming up. This is a new business and a complex one at that, so we’ve always expected it would take some time to develop. That said, we are constantly adding new World Licensors and will be announcing new Worlds in the coming weeks and months.
Q: How likely are we to see vintage TV (WIld Wild West, Remington Steele, Mannix, Lost in Space, Knightrider, Hart to Hart, Stargate, Farscape, etc) and movie properties (Dirty Harry, Independence Day, High Noon, Bill & Ted, Breakfast Club, etc) included in Kindle Worlds? The franchises on KW now don’t seem to be the ones likely to draw lots of passionate readers or writers.
PP: Those are all great suggestions; we are actively exploring many different properties, so stay tuned on that front. I’d challenge the idea, however, that the Worlds we have don’t draw passionate readers or writers. Since June, we’ve published more than 250 Kindle Worlds titles, and they’ve earned hundreds of positive reviews, with an overall review average around 4.3. We’re thrilled with the response to date.
Q: Where does Amazon hope to see the KW program a year from now?
PP: The response so far has been very encouraging. We are thrilled with writers who have been publishing with us and the readers who have been buying their stories. And we’re excited to continue to add new Worlds for writers and more stories for readers.
I got two very similar emails today asking, basically, the same question about tie-ins. Here they are:
I’m seeking guidance on writing a novel series for a past TV franchise that continues to hold a loyal fan base. You had accessibility to writing the Monk novels from your freelance work on the show and your established relationship with the creator. Any suggestions on who would be the appropriate contact to query regarding rights from a past dramedy for which I am interested in writing a novel series? Would it be the creator via his agent or someone else?
And here’s the other one:
wanted to let you know that lately I’ve read several of your Monk novels and have enjoyed them greatly. I wanted to ask you how would someone approach studios regarding writing novels based on existing shows? I’ve a Doctor Who novel and was wondering if you had any pointers on how I should approach publishers. Who do I approach – do I approach BBC Books direct or do I approach the TV company, copyright holders?
The simple answer is that, in most cases, TV tie-in books are publisher-generated and do not come about because of an author’s interest in the property. The way it usually works is that either the rights-holder (usually a studio) with a hot series property auctions the publishing rights to the highest bidder…or a publisher approaches the rights-holder (usually through the licensing department of a studio) about licensing the publishing rights to a property. Either way, the publisher will pay the rights-holder a license fee as well as a percentage of the sales. The rights-holder also maintains creative control of the project and provides photos, logos, and other marketing materials related to the show. Once the rights are secured, the publisher then seeks out authors to write the tie-in books…usually going to established professional writers who they know can work within tight guidelines and deliver a strong, clean manuscript in very little time.
As unproven authors, you really have nothing to offer the rights-holders of a classic, or hit, TV series that would motivate them to license the novel rights to you. If a publisher is already producing books in a tie-in series…like, say, STAR TREK or DOCTOR WHO, you could contact the editor and pitch yourself as someone to consider to write one of the books, but the chances of that approach succeeding are, to be blunt, nil.
So the bottom line is there’s really no way for you to interest a studio in letting you write novels based on one of their shows unless you approach them with a publisher attached…or you are already a big name in your own right and having you attached to the book would guarantee significant sales and publicity. You can learn more about tie-in writing, and how the tie-in biz works by reading Tied In: The Business, History and Craft of Media Tie-in Writing
The International Association of Media Tie-In Writers, founded by yours truly and Max Allan Collins, is pleased to announce the winners of the 2013 Scribe Awards, honoring excellence in media tie-in writing (books based on games, tv shows, movies, toy, etc). The awards were handed out at ComicCon San Diego. The winners are:
Best Original Novel: Robert Jeschonek for Rising Sun, Falling Shadows, a Tanhauser novel
Best Adapted Novel: Kevin J. Anderson, for Clockwork Angels, based on the album by Rush.
Best Audio Tie-in: Nev Fountain, for The Eternal Actress, a Dark Shadows story.
Grandmaster:Ann Crispin, for lifetime achievement in the craft of media tie-in writing.
When I heard the name of the IAMTW’s Grandmaster Award, it struck me as ironic that it’s officially the “Faust Award.” I know this title refers to Frederick Faust, who wrote as Max Brand, but to those of us who work in media universes, it sometimes comes down to making a deal with the devil, doesn’t it? Some members of the writing profession look down on those who take on media tie-in projects as having sold out, or assume they’re lazy and can’t do the work to create “real” fiction. Those of us here all know, of course, that nothing could be further from the truth. It is every bit as challenging to write a good tie-in story as it is a good original novel. When you throw in tight deadlines, unreasonable and clueless studio minions, and the rules of story canon, it can be even more difficult than writing an original book.
But a good story is a good story, no matter what universe it is written in.
My dear friend Andre Norton once listened to me complaining about how tie-in writers aren’t respected the way they should be, and remarked, “Being a storyteller is one of the oldest and most valued professions. Without stories to lift us out of life’s problems and doldrums, where would we be? Be proud of what you do.”
Andre was a very wise lady, and her words stuck with me over the years….
It wasn’t easy for me to walk away from writing the Monk books. After 15 novels over seven years, I’d become very attached to the characters. Monk, Natalie and the rest of the gang were always on my mind because I was always writing the books. But I decided it was time for a change (little did I know I’d soon be writing THE HEIST with Janet Evanovich!) And when I let my publisher know I was leaving, they told me they’d like to continue the series without me. They asked if I could recommend someone to pick up where I left off. I strongly recommended my friend Hy Conrad, a writer-producer on MONK and a terrific mystery plotter. He already knew the characters inside-and-out and had written some of the most beloved episodes of the TV series. I knew the characters would be in very good hands with him, no matter what direction he decided to take the books. And that, of course, was the first, fundamental issue he had to deal with, as he explains in this guest post…
When it was announced I was taking over these novels, Monk fans started contacting me in droves, all asking the same question. Was I going to reboot the series, like a Batman or Spider-Man franchise, or just pick up where Lee Goldberg left off?
To be honest, I never thought of rebooting. To me, the Monk characters are real. On the show, the other writers and I took Monk and Natalie to a certain place in their lives. Meanwhile, in a parallel universe, Lee continued to expand them, smoothing out little bumps and creating new ones. I didn’t want to mess with that reality.
In the new books, some things will naturally be different, because Lee and I are naturally different. For example, his Natalie knows a lot about architecture. Mine, not so much. His Monk is more obsessed with numbers and symmetry. Mine is a little more phobic. I tried to insert some pop references into Natalie’s voice. But the show never did many pop references and it doesn’t come naturally to me.
In many ways, Lee strengthened the Monk franchise. For one thing, he knows San Francisco and the wonderful character of the town. We wrote the show in Summit, New Jersey, and, while we did have a San Francisco map, it was pinned on the far wall and no one wandered over there very often. I’ll try to do improve on our atmospheric quality, I promise.
The same goes for forensics accuracy. Lee had called on a cadre of experts to make sure his details were right. Despite our own police consultant, the Monk writers tried not to burden ourselves with too many facts. At one point, the production team called to tell us our formula for bomb making was ridiculous. We replied, “Do you really want us broadcasting how to make a bomb?” That shut them up.
The good news is that we were sticklers for logic. We may not have known bomb making, but we insisted that the logic of every story always worked. For example, when Monk was in a life-threatening predicament in Act Four, which he usually was, we knew we had to send Stottlemeyer in there to save the day. In a lot of TV shows, the writers never ask, “Well, how did Stottlemeyer know Monk was in trouble?” We did. And sometimes it would take us a full day to answer the question.
The other good news is that I was with the show from beginning to end, for all eight years. I was the mystery guy, while everyone else had come from the world of comedy. Along the way, I think I had some influence on the way Monk talked and interacted. In other words, he wound up a little bit like me, which makes writing for him a pleasure.
When I first told Monk creator/executive producer Andy Breckman that I was doing this, his response was, “Great. You can use some of the Monk stories we never got to do.”
Mr. Monk Helps Himself is one of those stories. I brought it into the writers’ room during season six. We played around with the idea until it morphed into something totally different—Mr. Monk Joins a Cult, guest-starring Howie Mandel. That’s how it happens in a roomful of writers. There are dozens of great plots, half thought through, buzzing around in our collective memory.
I have to admit it’s nice to finally have the last word in what mysteries Monk solves and how he reacts. I’ll try not to abuse the power.
Anderson was honored for remarkable achievements in the tie-in field, which include more than one hundred novels, adding up to over 20 million books in print in thirty languages. His work includes the Star Wars "Jedi Academy" books, three internationally bestselling X-Files novels, the Superman novels The Last Days of Krypton and Enemies & Allies, many novelizations (Sky Captain & The World of Tomorrow, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, etc.) and, of course, the ten globally bestselling DUNE novels he has co-authored with Brian Herbert.
Receiving the honor was, for Anderson, “like receiving a standing ovation for something that was already fun in the first place, and I am very honored to be recognized by my colleagues in this particularly challenging line of writing."
He wasn’t alone accepting honors on Friday. The Scribe Awards, recognizing excellence in the field of media tie-in writing for Best Original Novel in Speculative and General Fiction genres, Best Adaptation, Best Young Adult novels and Best Audio performance, were also awarded at the event, which included a lively panel discussion with the winners and nominees.
Cowboys & Aliens by Joan D. Vinge was the winner for Best Adaptation, Dungeons & Dragons – Forgotten Realms: Brimstone Angels by Erin M. Evans took the prize for Best Speculative Original Novel, Mike Hammer: Kiss Her Goodbye by Max Allan Collins & Mickey Spillane won for Best Original Novel, and Thunderbirds: Extreme Hazard by Joan Marie Verba was honored for Best Young Adult Novel. Mike Hammer: Encore for Murder by Max Allan Collins & Mickey Spillane won the Best Audio award.
Collins was “blown away” by his double win this year, but was particularly pleased that “the work I've been doing to bring Mickey Spillane's unpublished, unfinished material to fruition has earned this kind of recognition."
The IAMTW (I Am a Tie-In Writer) is dedicated to enhancing the professional and public image of tie-in writers…to working with the media to review tie-in novels and publicize their authors…to educating people about who we are and what we do….and to providing a forum for tie-in writers to share information, support one another, and discuss issues relating to their field.
Anderson is the author of more than one hundred novels, adding up to over 20 million books in print in thirty languages. His work includes the STAR WARS "Jedi Academy" books, three internationally bestselling X-FILES hardcovers, the Superman novels THE LAST DAYS OF KRYPTON and ENEMIES & ALLIES, many novelizations (SKY CAPTAIN & THE WORLD OF TOMORROW, LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN, etc.) and, of course, the ten globally bestselling DUNE novels he has co-authored with Brian Herbert.
He has won or been nominated for numerous prestigious honors, including the Nebula Award, the Bram Stoker Award, and a New York Times Notable Book prize…and now he can add IAMTW Grandmaster to the list of his extraordinary achievements
The awards will be given at a ceremony in July at this year's Comic-Con convention in San Diego.
GRANDMASTER: KEVIN J. ANDERSON
GENERAL FICTION / BEST ORIGINAL NOVEL:
ROYAL PAINS: FIRST DO NO HARM by D.P. Lyle
MIKE HAMMER: KISS HER GOODBYE by Max Allan Collins & Mickey Spillane
BURN NOTICE: THE BAD BEAT by Tod Goldberg
SPECULATIVE FICTION/BEST ORIGINAL NOVEL
STAR WARS: KNIGHT ERRANT by John Jackson Miller
DUNGEONS & DRAGONS – FORGOTTEN REALMS: BRIMSTONE ANGELS by Erin M. Evans
SUPERNATURAL: COYOTE’S KISS by Christa Faust
DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS: THE SHARD AXE by Marshiela Rockwell
PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: THE PRICE OF FREEDOM by A.C. Crispin
BEST ADAPTATION GENERAL OR SPECULATIVE
CONAN THE BARBARIAN by Michael Stackpole
CRYSIS LEGION by Peter Watts
TRANSFORMERS: DARK SIDE OF THE MOON by Peter David
COWBOYS & ALIENS by Joan D. Vinge
BEST YOUNG ADULT
ME & MY MONSTERS: MONSTER MANNERS by Rory Growler (Ian Pike)
THE SMURFS movie tie-in by Stacia Deutsch and Rhody Cohon
THUNDERBIRDS: EXTREME HAZARD by Joan Marie Verba
MIKE HAMMER: ENCORE FOR MURDER by Max Allan Collins & Mickey Spillane
DARK SHADOWS: THE LOST GIRL by D. Lynn
HIGHLANDER: ALL THE KINGS HORSES by Scott Andrews
DOCTOR WHO: THE MANY DEATHS OF JO GRANT by Cavan Scott & Mark Wright