|"in JMS unplugged, one of the pages had mention that you were working
on a novel that would come out early 2005 I believe? I haven't heard
any word of this since then. I also recall you saying that you were
going to do a Silver Surfer miniseries...I could be wrong on that one
though. Or has Fantastic Four taken over that idea? Thanks!"
The novel is taking its own bloody time, as is the play. I've always
been a very careful novelist, and only tend to work on the books when I
have time to dedicate to that book and nothing else (which is why there
have been so few of them over the years). And a lot of the last year
was taken up by TMOS and related stuff...so before things get crazy I
want to get back into them again.
I'm also about one-third of the way through an original screenplay
based on a true story, a mainstream story set during WW2. I don't
figure it'll be done for a while, yet, though...I'm having to do a
great deal of research in order to get this right.
In terms of other projects...one thing that I may need to clarify,
especially in light of a number of querying emails I've gotten of late
in the wake of TMoS.
Writers -- the working ones, especially in TV and film -- get
approached by literally dozens of people a year on a variety of
projects. Most of the time, the average audience member never knows
about this because you only hear about the ones that get made. I have
always tried to make everyone familiar with the process of being a
writer, good and bad, so from me you hear about almost everything that
comes along. With other writers, you hear about the one thing that
does go ahead, not the twelve that didn't go, for one reason or
What makes for a successful writing career, especially in this town, is
first and foremost that you are *hired,* that people pay you to write.
There are people in town who've written dozens of screenplays, all of
whom are considered very successful, despite the fact that not one of
them has ever gotten produced.
With maybe two gaps of less than six months each, I've been working as
a writer in TV and film non-stop for twenty-two years. Only 2% of the
WGA earns six figures and above; I haven't fallen below that in 19
If you go over the jmsnews.com archives, you won't ever find me saying,
"Well, I'm going on vacation for the next month because it's quiet and
I may as well." There's a reason I haven't taken a vacation since
1986...because I've been too freaking busy.
The second criteria is that what you write should get made, both in
terms of pilots and scripts. I've written well over 200 produced
scripts, and of the five pilots I've written -- B5, Crusade, Rangers,
Jeremiah, Polaris -- four were produced and aired, and three went to
series. The usual batting average is one out of ten just to get the
thing *made* let alone aired. Which is why I don't write many of
them...I write the pilot, it goes into production, and if it goes to
series, I vanish up my own ass for years at a time.
(That, incidentally, is probably the only real downside to my
career...I launch a show and dedicate myself to it full time, not
developing other shows or projects at the same time, which many other
writers do. It's important to me to invest all my attention, not split
it by developing at the same time I'm producing. So while I'm working
on a project, I pretty much just disappear from the rest of the world.
Emblematic of this, I had a meeting not long ago with some CBS
executives, and one of them said, "You know, around here you're a lot
like Bigfoot...everybody's heard of you but nobody's ever actually SEEN
So after Jeremiah, I had a few months off to catch my breath, then TMoS
came up (as well as a number of other offers that I passed on because
they weren't things I felt I could do well), and kept me busy until
just a few weeks ago, and now I've taken an offer on another series
that should, if all goes according to plan, start prep in July.
I say all this just to give you a sense of the landscape from here, and
to say to those who've written in and worried...don't. Believe me, I
haven't been *out* of my ass in alligators in years, and if current
trends are any indication, won't be for some time to come.
We now return to our regularly scheduled Q&A....
To the FF question...my first issue comes out in May, issue 527, and
I'd particularly recommend it for B5 folks because this is more of an
SF title for me...I get to explore the Big Questions, and get into
interstellar and cosmic issues...it's a very big playground, and at
three issues in, it's just a fun book to write. So you may want to get
your store to pre-order it for you, because I'm very very happy with
The Silver Surfer mini is proceeding apace...art is coming in, I'm
three isses into that one as well, but I don't know when it's going to
be coming out because they want to get a bunch of the art under their
belt before they pull the trigger. (It's all *painted pages* not just
drawn and inked/colored...and it's spectacular, gorgeous stuff.)
And one note on the prose area...I don't get a chance to write fiction
very often, but I recently turned my hand to a short story. It's
SF/horror, entitled "The Darkness Between the Stars." By coincidence,
not long after finishing it, I got an inquire from the editor of the
Book of Dark Wisdom, a very spiffy little magazine with an SF/horror
point of view, asking if I had anything. So that story will be
appearing in, I think, either issue 6 or 7. (Their website is at
Dream Police, meanwhile, will debut in June, and The Book of Lost Souls
is targeted for September, both under Marel's Icon line. I'm VERY
happy with how Dream Police has come out...Mike Deodato did the art,
and it's spectacular. Beautifully noir.
Finally, I should have some additional convention info in the next few
weeks for folks who've been asking.
More later...gotta get back to work (yes, on Sunday).
message copyright (c) 2005
by Synthetic Worlds Ltd.
Reprint rights expressly
forbidden to SFX Magazine