That doesn’t mean we’ll be shutting down and riding out the economic storm…quite the opposite.
We’ll continue to introduce our members to tie-in editors and licensing execs with our quarterly mailing of member credits and contact info…we’ll continue to put out TIED-IN, our newsletter about tie-in writing…we’ll continue to give out the Scribe awards for excellence in media tie-in writing…and we’ll continue to moderate our highly popular private discussion board for media tie-in professionals.
And over the next month or two, we will also be renovating our website, freshening up our Facebook presence, and adding an audio category to our Scribe Awards.
We hope this will not only help our current members but also draw some new professional tie-in writers into the fold.
I write books more for myself than for my readers. I figure if I am not entertained, my reader won't be, either. Author Christa Faust feels the same way…
A reviewer recently accused me of creating a “Mary Sue” character in my Supernatural tie-in COYOTE’S KISS. For those who don’t know what that means, a “Mary Sue” is a too-perfect wish-fulfillment character that represents the author’s own idealized persona.
While I freely admit that the character in question is a wish-fulfillment character, it’s a completely different kind of wish. I created that character not because I’d like to be her, but because I’d like to fuck her. After all, we tie-in writers have to do something to spice up the daily grind.
I don't think I've ever created a character in a book or a screenplay that was a personal fuck fantasy figure. I'll have to try that one of these days…but I doubt it will be in a Monk novel.
The winners of the Scribe Awards, honoring excellence in media tie-in writing, were awarded Friday at a ceremony at Comic-Con in San Diego by the International Association of Media Tie-in Writers Author Peter David was honored as this year's Grandmaster, and engaged in a lively discussion about his career, and tie-in writing, at the ceremony, which was hosted by Max Allan Colins and drew a packed house.
Nancy Holder won the award for best original novel in the general fiction category for Saving Grace: Tough Love. The honors for best original novel in speculative fiction went to Nathan Long for Warhammer: Bloodborn: Ulrika the Vampire. This is the second time Long has won a Scribe for his work in the Warhammer franchise.
The Wolfman by Jonathan Maberry snagged the Best Adaptation/Novelization award while Nathan Meyer won for Best Novel, Original or Adapted, in the Young Adult category with Dungeons and Dragons: Aldwyns Academy.
For the last few weeks, author Jonathan Maberry has been running a terrific series of lengthy, detailed interviews with Scribe nominated tie-in writers on his Big Scary Blog about the nuts-and-bolts of their craft. This week he focuses on the authors nominated for "Best Speculative Original." Here's an excerpt:
BIG SCARY BLOG: Talk about your process for creating a media tie-in book.
MATT FORBECK: If I’m not already familiar with the basis of the book, I immerse myself in it as best I can and become a fan of it too. As I do that, I look for story hooks, little “what about that?” or “wouldn’t that be cool?” bits. Those become the seeds of the novel. Once I have that, I write up an outline, get it approved, and dig in for real.
JEFF GRUBB: I think all media projects have a core ethos, an underlying truth about them. The original creators of the project may not know what it is, and in fact it may evolve over time. One of the goals I have when working on a media tie-in book is to dig down and find that piece, find that core ethos, and remain true to it in the story. Guild Wars 2 is very much about people coming together to fight a greater threat – that is one of Dougal Keane’s major conflicts in the book.
DAVID MACK: It’s a lot like most other writers’ processes, I imagine. Either I solicit an editor for a shot at writing for a particular license, or they approach me. Either way, if it’s a property I know well, I might already have ideas ready to pitch and develop. If it’s one that I’m curious about but don’t know intimately, I’ll dig in and immerse myself in it until I start to get a feel for its big picture, its characters and its broader storytelling arcs.
Next, I’ll try to find a story that interests me and seems to offer some new angle that neither the show nor its existing tie-in titles have explored. In some cases, such as a tie-in line that’s been running for a while, an editor might ask me to craft a story specifically to advance a part of an ongoing narrative.
Then I write a proposal, just a few pages, to see if my general idea is what the editor is looking for. Once we settle on an idea, I prepare a much longer and more detailed full outline that can be presented to the license-holder for approval. Once we get the green-light, I go to work on the manuscript.
To stay in the right mindset while working on a given franchise, I’ll try to listen to music soundtracks from it (if they’re available), and have DVDs ready for reference and quick refreshers on characters’ speech patterns, etc. Online references are also often invaluable tools, especially for a series that is still in production while one is working on it. Thank Heaven for the invention of wiki reference sites!
SEAN WILLIAMS: Well, firstly, I have to make sure I know the property sufficiently well to do it justice. With Star Wars or Doctor Who, say, that would be easy: I’ve been a fan of them for decades. Depending on the kind of project, the next step would be to get right down into the details of the story and character, since they’re the aspect of the tie-in most important to get right, at least in the early stages. This is always accomplished in collaboration with editors and other stakeholders in the project–the people who own the property, basically. I’m not just telling a story for me: in a real way I’m just channelling something for someone else. But that is a fun process, and a challenge, one I take very seriously. There are snafus sometimes, without a doubt, but whether I have one month or one year to write a tie-in, I give it the same energy and consideration I would give one of my own books. To do anything less would be to cheat everyone involved.
The entire series of interviews is well worth your time, regardless of whether you are into tie-ins. There's a lot of great insights into the craft and business of writing books shared by the authors, all of whom are experienced, hard-working pros.
After writing five BURN NOTICE books, my brother Tod has called it quits, turning down a contract for more. Remarkably, the publisher has decided to retire the series as a result. Now that THE BAD BEAT, his final book in the series is coming out, Tod reflects on his blog today on what he's learned from the experience. Here's an excerpt:
…writing Michael Westen taught me how to write series fiction and, beyond that, how to pace commercial crime fiction. See, previously, the crime fiction I wrote was decidedly not series and decidedly not commercial, really. (And I would argue that I never really set out to write crime, specifically, even if Living Dead Girl and Fake Liar Cheat and a bunch of my short stories are, you know, stories about crimes.) At any rate, writing the books required a completely different skill set — the deadlines alone required that they be almost completely plot and voice driven, which is somewhat different than my other work which tends to be character and setting driven. Writing Burn Notice has changed the way I approach crime fiction, which is good since the novel I'm writing now — more on that in a moment — is a pretty straight crime novel.
[…] because the deadlines were so close, I also had to learn to not be an obsessive rewriter, which meant I had to keep a pretty tight plot, which meant I did more outlining than usual…and by that I mean I outlined anything at all, which I typically don't do. I also ended up trusting myself more. Usually when I'm working on something new, I show drafts to my wife or to my agent or trusted friends to get some feedback, but I just didn't have the time to do that with these books and the result is that I ended up needing to be honest with myself. Not an easy thing for any writer.
Now I don't feel so guilty about getting him the gig.
My friend Doug Lyle, the medical advisor on my scripts & books, as well as my doctor, is writing the tie-in novels based on the hit USA Network series ROYAL PAINS. It was a series he was born to write…I just had to convince him first.
Q: I know readers and writers alike will want to know how you came to be chosen for the gig. Was there a writing/audition process?
A: I have to blame my good friend Lee Goldberg for this. As you know, Lee writes the Diagnosis Murder and Monk novels. His brother Tod writes the Burn Notice novels and his partner Bill Rabkin writes the Psych novels. These are called tie-in novels because they are tied to a television series.
Penguin approached Lee about taking on the Royal Pains project, but he told them he was probably not the guy to do it but that I might be. He recommended me to them. So that’s basically how it began. After I spoke with my wonderful editor there, Sandy Harding, and my equally wonderful agent, Kimberly Cameron, I finally decided to sign a two book deal with them.
Q: Royal Pains is such a fun television series. Were you a fan, first? You’ve done a terrific job with the characters’ voices in First, Do No Harm–particularly Divya’s. Does it help to have live actors as models for the characters that you’re writing?
A: Thank you. I’m glad you liked the characters and the story. Yes, I watched the TV show before I was ever approached to write the novels. Though I have problems with some of the medical stuff that Hank does–couldn’t happen in the real world–I really enjoyed the characters and their interaction. I liked the humor and I liked the other characters that surround the four main ones. And I thought it was an interesting premise.
As for having live actors as models, it’s a double-edged sword. I have these characters that are already created and so therefore I don’t have to come up with new characters out of whole cloth. But, it also means that I can’t tinker with them or take them in directions that I would like. You are constrained by the creators and the TV series as to what you can and cannot do. But overall it was fun.
He goes on to share more about wriing the ROYAL PAINS novel, as well as his other fiction and non-fiction books. You’ll want to check it out.
Christa Faust will moderate Further Adventures: On Writing Novelizations and Media Tie-In, a special luncheon program sponsored by MWA/SoCal at the Sportsman's Lodge in Studio City on June 18, 11-2pm. Guests include Doug Lyle (Royal Pains), William Rabkin (Psych), Nathan Long (Warhammer), and yours truly. Lunch: $20 for MWA members, $25 for non-members. Visit the MWA website to pay via Paypal or to download mail-in form.
The International Association of Media Tie-in Writers is proud to announce the 2011 Scribe Award nominees for excellence in licensed tie-in writing — novels based on TV shows, movies, and games – and this year’s Grandmaster, honoring career achievement in the field.
This year’s Grandmaster is Peter David, who has worked in television, film, books (fiction, non-fiction and audio), short stories, and comic books. He’s the acclaimed author of over fifty novels, many of them New York Times bestsellers. His extraordinarily prolific output of consistently excellent books includes two dozen original Star Trek novels, three Babylon 5novels and novelizations of such major motion pictures as Spiderman, Iron Man, Fantastic Four,and The Hulk.
David is also one of the most successful and acclaimed comic book scripters in the business with popular runs on such titles as Supergirl, Star Trek, Wolverine and, in particular, his work on The Incredible Hulk franchise (in comics as well as books). His many awards include the prestigious Will Eisner Comic Industry Award. He lives in New York with his wife Kathleen and their three children.
Our 2011 Scribe Nominees are:
CSI: SHOCK TREATMENT by Greg Cox
BURN NOTICE: The Giveaway by Tod Goldberg
MIKE HAMMER: THE BIG BANG by Max Allan Collins and Mickey Spillane
MURDER SHE WROTE: The Queen’s Jewels by Donald Bain
PSYCH: The Call of the Mild by William Rabkin
SAVING GRACE: TOUGH LOVE by Nancy Holder
GUILD WARS: GHOSTS OF ASCALON by Matt Forbeck and Jeff Grubb
STAR TREK: MIRROR UNIVERSE: THE SORROWS OF THE EMPIRE by David Mack
STAR WARS: FORCE UNLEASHED II by Sean Williams
SUPERNATURAL: HEART OF THE DRAGON by Keith R. A. DeCandido
WARHAMMER: BLOODBORN: ULRIKA THE VAMPIRE by Nathan Long
FINAL CRISIS by Greg Cox
GOD OF WAR by Matthew Stover & Robert E. Vardeman
THE WOLFMAN by Jonathan Maberry
BEST YOUNG ADULT
ALPHA & OMEGA: THE JUNIOR NOVEL by Aaron Rosenberg
DUNGEONS & DRAGONS: ALDWYNS ACADEMY by Nathan Meyer
THUNDERBIRDS: SITUATION CRITICAL by Joan Marie Yerba
The Fifth Annual Scribe Awards will be given at a ceremony and panel discussion held during Comic Con International in San Diego in July 2011. Details will be announced soon.
I had nothing to do with HOT LIGHTS, COLD STEEL, but I can take credit for championing Doug for the ROYAL PAINS books and luring him into our evil cult of tie-in writers. It was the least I could do after all the medical advice he's given me over the years for my various scripts and all of my DIAGNOSIS MURDER and MONK books.
I've read the first few chapters of the ROYAL PAINS book and can report that he's perfectly captured the show. I'm looking forward to Doug joining me, my brother Tod, and William Rabkin for signings this summer to promote our various tie-ins (all for the same publisher and TV network).