Author Angelo: Transitions

In January of 2016 I decided to start work on my first book. I took an old screenplay I’d written and obsessed over and repurposed it as an 20,000 word outline for a manuscript. An epic novel. I wrote little by little every week. Then, a strange thing happened. I became less focused on finishing the book, and more focused on telling the story. A year passed and remarkably,  the script-outline had been transformed into novel of approximately 101,000 words.

Not one to kill momentum, and feeling an emotional high as well as an intense sense of accomplishment at the relative simplicity with which I completed the first book — I said simplicity, not ease — I decided to start another.

My current book, “A Perfect Weapon” was first conceived as an action thriller screenplay for a movie. At the time, in my mind I’d written the script as if I’d adapted a Tom Clancy novel and had commissioned Michael Mann to direct the movie. After several rewrites and the typical independent film production struggles to get it made, I put the project aside. I revisited the concept in December after I’d completed my first book. As I looked back I remembered feeling constrained by the screenplay format for “A Perfect Weapon” and how pissed I was that much of the narrative had to be edited out for length. I imagined that working in reverse, adapting the screenplay into book form, was the perfect way to reintroduce all the material I had cut. 

“A Perfect Weapon” tells the story of a troubled US Marshal who subconsciously seeks redemption in his quest to apprehend an escaped prisoner who has been linked to an international terrorist event. During his investigation he uncovers confusing evidence in the woman’s background that don’t add up to terrorism. Meanwhile, his personal battle with inner demons over a catastrophic career mistake he made intensifies. Unfortunately intention turns into obsession and he’ll do and say anything to keep the trail from going cold. What he doesn’t know is that the escaped prisoner wants him to keep chasing her because she’s obsessed with him too.

“A Perfect Weapon” is coming along amazingly well when in fact I didn’t want to use that particular script as my next outline for a book. But a funny almost serendipitous thing happened. Sometime just before Christmas I sat down to start my second book and I forgot that I’d chosen a different script. I wrote for three or four hours on the first chapter. When I was done, I got up from the table and I thought, “Good thing I switched scripts, that was easy.” And then I remembered that I’d forgotten to switch scripts!

I’m now 25,000+ words into the book (including the 120 page script-outline). Every time I sit down to write, it’s a simple act of remembering the feeling I had when I wrote the screenplay, then transcribing those feelings into visceral narrative content.

The cool thing is, I also considered myself a prolific writer. Now, the proof is in all the IP content on my hard drive waiting to be adapted into a book.