Saturday, May 27, 2006

Reputation is All We Have

Elisabeth asked about how my Alias books came to be. It's a long story, and not one I even know all the answers to. But the one-word explanation is simple: Reputation.

That sounds so simple, yet it covers so many tiny details of a writer's life. It isn't just your writing ability, though that has to be good, but how you manage the business of writing. Can you meet a deadline? Do you know the subject? Can you produce an outline, and then stick to it (within reason)? Can you take editorial suggestion? Are you willing to rewrite/edit to editor or licensor requirements?

All these things, and more, go into a writer's reputation. And it is that reputation that makes someone offer you a job.

For me, that offer came in the form of an email invitation to pitch ideas for Alias novels. I don't know how I happened to be on that invitation list; someone asked someone else for suggestions, and my name came up. I have a few guesses - editors I had worked with in the past - but I don't know specifically. However it happened, the invitation was extended, with a warning that the books would need to be done quickly.

Now, here's my shameful secret. Up to that point, I had not watched the show. Not because I wasn't interested, but because I ration the number of shows to which I can be addicted at any one time, and my list was pretty full. But I had heard very good things from people whose opinions I trusted, and it sounded like fun. I wrote back immediately, saying I was interested, and ran to the video store. For a solid week, I watched every episode I could get my hands on, read online episode summaries, read the two outlines the editor provided for books already under contract, and basically immeresed myself in the show.

At the end of that week, I knew I had to write for Alias - the character, her family and friends, had me hooked. I had some ideas, some things I thought would be fun and interesting to do with the characters, and I bounced them off the editor. He liked one idea, and I set to work writing an outline. Within a very few days, he had a complete outline on his desk.

So, there's the first parts. I produced an outline, showing that I knew the property, and I did it in a short time frame, showing I could work under deadline. I also committed to write the book in a few weeks, if the outline was approved.

This is where the courtship rituals of tie-in fiction come in. Your outline must be approved by the editor, and then by whomever owns the property - in this case, ABC. For my Star Trek work, it was Paramount; for Mage Knight, it was Wiz Kids. Steve has been through this ritual with Wiz Kids, Marvel, Conan Properties, Paramount - the list is long and varied.

Anyway, there were changes from ABC. I rewrote the outline, it went back through channels, and eventually I had an approved outline for Strategic Reserve -- and 10 weeks to write the complete novel, while working a full-time job, and with the RWA National Conference (a story for a different time) in the middle, along with a long-planned family reunion. I spent nights and weekends in my office, and I wrote while traveling, and I turned the manuscript in on time.

When the inevitable edits came down through channels, I did the rewrite and sent it back. On time, and without being difficult. The result is on bookstore shelves now, and I am proud of what I accomplished.

The second book didn't go quite as smoothly, at first. ABC didn't like the outline the editor passed on, but they liked a minor sub-plot. It took a while, but I managed to take that sub-plot and make it a novel, which will be out in December. once again, I ended up doing the writing in a couple months, still with a day job and the usual distractions. But I did it on time, on target, and I tried very hard to be easy to work with.

Now, with ALIAS off the air, there are no plans for additional books in that series. But I have my reputation, and some time in the future, when an editor is looking for a writer for a project, my name may come up again. And when it does, the editors I have worked with, will have good things to say.

In the end, that reputation is the most important thing we, as writers, have.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hey Chris,

What a cool story! I have to confess that I've never seen the show Alias. We don't have reception on our TV. It's used strictly for movies and XBox. LOL

Your book sounds great and I need to pick up a copy before they're all gone! I'm sure I don't need to have watched the series to enjoy the story in your book. Right?

Okay, off to check out Steve's blog now.

Ciao baby!

BlueBugTDI said...

Chris,

Read the review on Amazon for the upcomming "Fantasy gone wrong" and your story was mentioned. Congrats, although they called it Cheaky.

Tim

meerab7876 meerab7876 said...

Everything looks so green. What kind of summer is Maine having?vacanze mare viareggio

Legal Herbal Online said...

I am so pleased I found this blog, I really got you by an accident, while I was searching for something else. The story and blog you have published is very interesting as well as informatics, Thanks for sharing such type of informatics thing.kawartha lakes real estate

naila123 naila123 said...

Thank you for benefiting from time to focus on this kind of, I feel firmly about it and also really like comprehending far more with this particular subject matter. In case doable, when you get know-how, is it possible to thoughts modernizing your site together with far more details? It’s extremely useful to me.Huawei Nova 3i Singapore

tayyab ali said...

Thank you for sharing this excellent information. Your blog is really cool. It was truly user friendly experience.hotel versilia 2 stelle

Altcoin News said...

We are the independent publication delivering news around cryptocurrency news, ICO news & Latest Blockchain news. Our platform focuses on providing news around blockchain, cryptocurrencies, distributed systems and decentralized global economy. We regularly keeps its readers updated on Bitcoin news, Ethereum news & Altcoin news. For all crypto enthusiasts, Coinpublish is the place to be.

We make great efforts in contributing to gather unbiased and reliable information for our dedicated and influential readers across the globe. All updated information regarding price change, developments and technological advancements in cryptoverse are available on Coinpublish. Our platform allows marketers to promote latest news in the form of Press releases & Advertisements.

Our mission is to enlighten the world about the pros and cons of cryptocurrency and blockchain. When we decided to start Coinpublish, we were in a race with strong competitors. We had to be better and different. For this, we chose to roll the dice to come up with unique ideas in order to make the platform user-friendly and informative.

To know more about coinpublish visit the given link - www.coinpublish.com/

Anonymous said...

Shen Tong is a lead investor who provides senior management in investment in bookstore and publishing in Beijing. B&B Media has produced and created various programmes which have been highly circulated and acclaimed. In the year 1989, Shen Tong co-chaired a committee designed to form a dialogue concerning the Chinese pro-democracy movement. Shen Tong organised the democracy movement in 1989 that occupied Tiananmen Square while he was at Beijing University. Shen Tong studied biology at Brandies University on a Wien Scholarship.
Shen Tong co-chaired a committee designed to form a dialogue concerning the Chinese pro-democracy movement.Shen Tong
organised the democracy movement in 1989 that occupied Tiananmen Square while he was at Beijing University.

Affordable Online Boutique said...

The affordable online boutique is a leading store for the fashion loving women, and it offers classy, designer and trendy outfits at economical prices.Boutique in Atlanta offers a wide range of shopping options for women of all age groups. If you are looking for women's trendy tops or boutique dresses then affordable online boutique is the destination for you. The highlighting aspect of the southern boutique is the seasonal dressing offers. It offers a wide variety from boutique summer dresses to trendy sweaters that keeps you warm. The online boutique also specializes in rompers, jumpsuits, two-piece sets, coats, vests, cardigans, boutique tops, and women's accessories. Yes! Along with the trendy tops for women, you can also get the matching accessories like hair accessories to stand out of the crowd.

Online Boutique Store:https://www.bermere.com
Instagram Profile: https://instagram.com/shopbermere
Facebook Profile: https://www.facebook.com/shopbermere

Dental Services said...

Dental Services in New Jersey since 1998-Hamilton Dental Care. Offers a variety of dental services in Hamilton to meet all of your dental needs. Let’s say if you are searching for the cosmetic dentistry near me or cosmetic dentistry hamilton NJ then you might come across with the Hamilton Dental Care because it is the best dental health services provider in the NJ. It gives you a smile that you can be proud to show off.

Dental Services - https://www.hamiltondentalcarenj.com
Facebook Profile - https://www.facebook.com/Hamilton-Dental-Care-153063602028984/
Yelp Profile - https://www.yelp.com/biz/hamilton-dental-care-hamilton-township