Mark Terry

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

This Pen For Hire

March 21, 2007

A couple months ago I was talking to my agent, just a touch-base kind of thing, letting her know I was alive and what I was working on. I was working on the 4th Derek Stillwater novel and I was playing with a big espionage novel (currently on hold) and one night I had plopped onto the couch with the laptop and started playing, with no notion of doing more than entertaining myself, with a fantasy novel for kids.

My oldest son was reading over my shoulder--an annoying habit--and loved it and kept asking "What's next?" When I mentioned this bit to my agent, she asked to read it. It was about 25 pages, so I e-mailed it to her. She read it, loved it and asked when I would finish it. Well, I've finished it, she loved it and she's marketing it, so we'll see.

Also, Irene, my agent, said she had been discussing a YA concept with one of her editor friends, why didn't I try writing 25 pages or so on Concept X and send it to her. I'm not going to come right out and say what it is, but everybody on the planet would recognize it and I was surprised it hadn't been done for kids. So I wrote about 22 pages and a synopsis and turned it in to Irene, who loved it and sent it off to her editor friend, who did not love it.

It was a first lesson into how everybody has their own ideas about pre-sold ideas. So I figured it was dead and went on to finish the other kids' book and work on other projects. Then, around the same time (last Friday, actually) Irene sent out my kids' book to editors, she said, "So-and-so at XYZ Publishing is on the fence about your proposal for Pre-Sold Concept X and wants to read another 25 pages or so. How long will it take you to do that?"

Uh, I hadn't realized she was still peddling the concept. I told her a week to 10 days, then wrote them basically over the weekend and sent them off to her. So we'll see.

But it made me think of media tie-ins. You know those books, the ones based on TV shows or movies. Irene had told me that one of her clients had a gig to write a Nancy Drew book. The money was so-so (better than my current contracts though) but she was just so tickled to be writing a Nancy Drew book she didn't care.

Someday when I have more of a track record, I might pursue these tie-ins myself. There is money there and it's a challenge and hell, I'm a writer-for-hire and I'd just as soon make money writing a book about a pre-sold concept as I would an equivalent amount of money writing a magazine article or business report. At least once.

But if I had my choice of tie-ins? What would I choose? I admit, I'd be delighted with a chance to write a Star Wars book, especially if it dealt with Obi-Wan Kenobi or Luke Skywalker. I just think that would be fun.

But really, the one TV show I would most LOVE to write novels based on the character is Magnum P.I. I understand they've never done follow-up movies or any of that because of some contractual issues with Paramount. But if you were to ask me what my dream "fun" media-tie-in novel would be, well, it would be Magnum P.I., hands down.

How about you? What's your guilty pleasure?


Mark Terry


Blogger spyscribbler said...

Me? Star Trek and Alias. I missed the whole last ST series, though. I always had to work when it was on, and it never caught my attention. I could watch Next Generation, DS9, and Voyager over and over endlessly.

Good luck on the kids' books!

9:38 AM  
Anonymous Eric Mayer said...

I'd prefer writing a tie-in to writing legal articles. What the heck. It would have to be more interesting. I'd love to write Millenium. Of course that got cancelled rather quickly. As for characters...well, I'd enjoy writing either Travis McGee or Mr. Ed.

9:43 AM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

Ah, well, my blog ate my original reply.

SS, they've been showing ENTERPRISE on Monday nights on SciFi from 7-11:00 and I'm hooked. I like it better than DS9 or Voyager, although it had the advantage of not having overstayed its welcome like those 2 did.

Travis McGee... yeah, I can see that. That would be awesome. It's been 21 years. His last book came out the year I graduated from college, 1986. I believe it was The Lonely Silver Rain.

10:27 AM  
Blogger Joe Moore said...

I was an X-Files fan from the first episode back on a dark Friday night in 1993. I always wanted to write Dana Scully and Fox Mulder novels. This was before I stared writing fiction, unless you count corporate business oportunity plans as fiction. Most of mine were.

I know a couple of guys including Kevin Anderson did get to novelize the X-Files. If the show was still on today, I'd be the first in line to apply.

1:06 PM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

I would think they still were being published. You should check it out.

And I know what you mean about the business reports. I've been writing a lot of business reports that require me to scour annual reports and press releases for financial data. Talk about fiction writing!

1:36 PM  
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