By Robert Herold
I recently gifted an advance reader copy of The Eidola Project, my first published novel, to TVWriter™’s Larry Brody with a huge thank-you for providing the impetus to write it.
He responded a few days later with a review of the first twenty-five pages, saying how much he was enjoying the book. He also asked me to write a piece for TVWriter™ on how I came to write this “wonderful” (his word!) novel at the cusp of qualifying for senior discounts at various retailers (I’m 63). So, move in a little closer to the screen boys and girls and I’ll tell ya.
It all began with a twinkle in my folks’ eyes. OK, perhaps we shouldn’t go that far back. It began with an honest appraisal of my life in my 50’s and acknowledging that I missed writing.
I had written three plays that were published for the school market years before. Since then I’d always had that nagging thought that I wanted to put it back into my life, and by gum, I wasn’t getting any younger.
So, I wrote three pilots and submitted them to the People’s Pilot 2014 Competition, which resulted in having two scripts in the top five in 2014. I spent the next year pitching the scripts and getting lots of requests, but things went no further, so I wrote Larry and asked for advice.
Larry wrote back saying that with my talent I needed to move to L.A. “Do it. Do it now,” he said, because there were people there I should meet.
As a result of hearing that, my wife and I had an interesting discussion over dinner in our Seattle home the very same night, after which I wrote back asking Larry if the fact that I was 60 years old, a frisky 60 but 60 nonetheless, bear on what he, my wife, and I were talking about.
To my chagrin Larry wrote back to say, “forget it.”
He said that he’d been a plaintiff in a class action lawsuit about showbiz ageism, which the plaintiffs won, but this didn’t change the culture in Hollywood. He mentioned it was difficult, but not impossible, for someone long in the tooth to break-in.
Larry went on to suggest I find other avenues. He suggested making movies of my own or perhaps writing a novel—cue the chorus of demons! (Hey, I write horror, OK?) And the rest as they say was history.
The transition to writing novels was not smooth. I had a lot to learn.
Yet the visual style of writing inherent in TV and movie scripts can be a real plus. There are many genres that benefit from this style, which lends itself most closely to plot-driven books.
Other novels choose to dive deep into a character or a set of characters. They are introspective titles that are centered around what the character is thinking and may have very little plot.
One task of a TV and movie writer is to show character motivations and thoughts through actions, choices, and, yes, through dialogue.
The introspective approach is a very different one from scripts, yet it provides new opportunities along with the challenges.
As a novelist, I needed to learn to let the reader know what a character was thinking and to utilize all the senses. How did things smell, taste, sound, feel, not just how they looked.
Nevertheless, one complement I truly appreciate is hearing that my writing is cinematic, that the reader can see my book in their mind’s eye.
Some people make disparaging comments about plot-heavy books, claiming they are facile and not truly literature. Others say that introspective books with little plot are boring.
I recommend avoiding this either/or approach. Both offer opportunities. Find the approach that works for you. Feel free to mix. One thought to consider: Most classics were best-sellers in their day, and often have a strong plot and compelling characters.
My first novel, The Eidola Project, is about to be published, my second novelinvolves a werewolf and is currently at the editor, and I am 100 pages into book number three.
I’m having a blast!
Do I wish I got started earlier? Yes and no.
Honestly, I probably wasn’t ready to do the hard work it takes to be a writer when younger. I also wanted to raise a family and was worried about the vagaries of being an artist.
Now that my kids are grown, I am nurturing that side of myself that was always there. And, as I said, I’m having a blast! If this leads to something on television, that would be fantastic. If not, I’m enjoying the journey. What more can one ask?
Robert Herald was a top finisher in both the 2013 and 2014 PEOPLE’S PILOTs. He’s one hell of a writer and we can’t help believing that any book he publishes is going to be well worth reading. The Eidola Project is available for pre-order at Amazon.Com