The Mail I Get

I got this solicitation today from a woman I don't know:

I am the owner of this new platform a company that is launching now..

i am looking for some referrals re a writer for a novelization that launches as the prequel book to this universe…

I am half way through with an outline that needs to be re-edited and dialogue added…

full 118 page film script available to work with and my original epic and my team and all else.. I own all the rights to these works – registered at the writers guild etc.

I couldn't make any sense out of the email, so I looked at the site. That was even more incomprehensible (though just as badly written). It appears to be a blog dedicated to some fantasy world she's created and wants to exploit in books,movies, and a store. I think it has something to do with the magic of music, or musical magic, or God knows what. It's a real rambling mess.

It appears what she's looking for is someone to novelize a movie script of an outline of a novel that doesn't yet exist, except as a book proposal and an incoherent blog.

Well, she came to the right guy. I can't think of something I'd rather do or a more valuable use of my time. But darn it, I'm just too busy with other committments to jump at this great opportunity.

So it's all yours. Go for it.

10 thoughts on “The Mail I Get”

  1. I checked out her site. Anyone in need of a spare comma will find many of them peppered randomly in her sentences. That aside, the bottom line is that she has created an elaborate on-line interactive gaming experience that is highly praised by Bruce Pandolfini, the world-famous grandmaster chess expert famously portrayed by Ben Kingsley in the 1993 film Searching for Bobby Fischer. He wrote: “The Barrington saga, with all its mystery and challenging puzzle-quest, unveils a multi-verse of color, sound, logic, intuition, and evocative pleasure that can only be appreciated firsthand, by actually experiencing one’s way through its wondrous labyrinth. I love its play and I love playing it. Thanks for devising such ingenuity and rendering that voyage so engagingly.”
    The project began as a stage play twice funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, and evolved from there. Here is a link to a 2010 an interview with Mardi Ellen-Hill about the evolution of her project.
    While I don’t see this as anything well suited to your talents or mine, there may be writers who are members of IAMTW who are into the whole game thing adaptation that might actually be interested.

  2. I read up a bit on this woman. She is, apparently, her own biggest fan. I mean, when you engage in the kind of blissful self-aggrandizement that she does, who wouldn’t fall in love with you and your muddled body of work? Especially when you’ve named your company something like this: MEH.
    That’s right, her company is called “Meh”. I can’t wait to invest! Just the name alone fills me with excitement.

  3. Indie publishing is a swamp. I recently raised all my ebook prices to $5.99 as a way of saying I’m an established novelist, and have seen sales and income leap upward.

  4. I checked out the website and came to the same conclusion as Burl did, but I didn’t want to be the only person on the blog having some nice things to say, so I held off posting.
    It seems that the heart of the project is an online gaming experience, and it involves music, and it might be a terrific vehicle for a musical and acting teen star like Selena Gomez and her band. She can sing, write songs for the game, appear, act, star in a spin-off feature, star in a made-for-TV movie, star in the animated kids morning TV show, star in the Broadway musical. I haven’t played the game but for it to receive the praise of GM Bruce Pandolfini is a real plus. He’s the real deal.
    (Oh, and a small point: many persons can’t write grammatically to save their souls, but it doesn’t mean they don’t have smarts or talent or advanced degrees, and she seems to be one of them, I guess, because the story world she has created seems very involving, which is what the good games are.)
    Anyway, even if this project doesn’t appeal to you, Lee, and it doesn’t appeal to me either, still, it sets a good example: build a great game around an established teen star that can spin-off on many platforms and it might lead to great success. I wonder what Hilary Duff or Miley Cyrus are doing lately? Wouldn’t it be cool, and interesting, to play a great video game with Miley in it?

  5. After reading everyone’s comments I was reminded of a recent post by Lee where he talked about putting the craft of writing above the marketing and the pursuit of sales at any creative or ethical cost.
    In my opinion, that’s the problem with this person and their work. The writing and the concept is so muddled, so confusing, and so poorly written that it really is kind of sad.
    Worst of all, her real objective isn’t to develop truly interesting characters or tell a great story; it’s to build a multi-media “empire”–one that seems to exist more in her imagination that reality. And I don’t mean that as a compliment.
    So a producer, actor, or singer is going to look at this mess and take the time to unravel what it MAY mean so that they can make it into a starring vehicle?
    I seriously doubt it.
    As for the supporting quote from Bruce Pandolfini, well, who knows the genesis of that. Maybe he’s a long-time family friend. Perhaps he’s a relative. Or maybe something else less savory. Then again, it’s possible he just doesn’t read or write much outside of chess books and thinks this is high literature, even in its present form.
    Whatever the case may be, as a reviewer of fiction I would have to say that he makes a great chess player.
    That aside, despite his generosity I don’t think it will ultimately make one iota of difference to the future of what she’s written. People far smarter than me, including many of the readers of this blog, will take one look at what she has produced and either shrug or start laughing.
    I forget who said it, but there is an old joke about writers that goes something like, “I’m a writer–or a typist, depending upon whom you ask.”
    In the case of Mardi-Ellen Hill and her work, it seems apparent that she’s spent years killing digital trees, and at this point only the environment will thank her for doing so.

  6. Richard Dean Starr,
    Richard, I read your comments with interest, and I found myself agreeing with you but coming to a different conclusion.
    First, you say that she puts commercial matters ahead of story-telling. This may be true. But every project needs somebody that does this. So she reaches out to Lee for the story-telling, which is a good thing to do. Plus, having a commercially-minded person leading a project isn’t, I would think, bad.
    Second, you think she wants to build “a multi-media empire.” Well, why not? She has to aim at a target to hit it. The “aiming” is not a wrong thing. If Lee could join a project destined to become “a multi-media empire”—well, that would be a good thing, I would argue.
    Thirdly, you say the project is “a mess.” Yes, I see some mess, but that’s why she needs Lee. If it was a perfect concept, why would Lee’s skills be needed? There’s room for Lee to come in and add and delete and showrun the franchise. When a person can get in on the ground floor, it’s not because they aren’t needed.
    Fourthly, you question GM Pandolfini’s opinion. I tried to contact him but couldn’t. But he did not review fiction, he reviewed the game, and games are something he’s a world expert on, ask anybody who knows his work. Unless you have proof that he’s just being generous, then I think his opinion is worth something—I know his contributions to the chess world are.
    Lastly, you acknowledge that she has spent years on the project. Well, as Burl pointed out, she’s twice got funding for a stage production, and she’s spent over a decade on it, so, to me, that’s the sign of the real deal, and why wouldn’t Lee want to work with somebody who’s spent over a decade trying to get her story and her vision off the ground?
    So, we agree that she’s commercially-minded, wants to create a media empire, needs help with a messy concept, has gotten the praise of a GM, and has spent years on the project—well, that sounds like me, and some people I know, but she’s also gotten some success, and so I conclude this would not be a bad project to take into consideration. And all for the same reasons you say the project should be let go of. Interesting, eh?


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