Cities and suburbs, real and imaginary.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Stuff I'm thinking about

You know, there has been some talk ih the wires about medie tie-in novels.

Jeff VanderMeer, of course, just produced his take on Predator v Everyone, and I know I'll get to it, eventually. I admit, I'm far more interested in his latest Ambergris novel. I am very curious to see what he does within the straightjacket of media tie-in.

I know a couple friends that do much media tie-in work. Martha Wells is not only an awesome fantasist of such works as "Death of the Necromancer" and "City of Bones", but she also works in the SeaQuest world (because, as she explains, she oves SeaQuest.)

Samantha Henderson recently wrote a kick-ass media tie-in novel in the Ravenloft world. The first line stays with you: "I am a speaking angel." You'll know what I mean when you read it.

Chris Roberson, a partner in alcohol-related crimes at every sci-fi convention, has written quite a few and continues to do so, on top of running a publishing company with his wife, and raising a daughter. I admit that I have yet to meet his daughter. For all I know, he says he has a daughter, and really just photoshopped a bunch of pictures together that he shows to people, always saying his daughter is at grandma's or at the sitter or somewhere. Seriously, where does he find the time for everything he does?

Regardless, if there was a stigma, I bet it wasn't because of the quality of the books. I bet it was the quality of the contracts. If everyone knew you were cranking out a book under a crappy contract that wouldn't even carry your name, why would they respect that? If people, however, got paid a decent check, and got crossover audience from the shared world into the author's original fiction, and was treated respctfully by the publisher - well, naturally, this is the stuff that respectability is made of.

I've actually been very open to doing work for hire. I've expressed this many times in many ears. No one has hired me. Why would they hire me, when they could hire Jeff Frikkin' Vandermeer, right? Why hire me when you can hire someone at the same price whose fans will follow them into the shared world?

Anyway, I was just thinking about media tie-in novels, and how unsuccessful I've been at getting my challenge-loving hands around one. I'm always up for new adventures and new difficult boxes out of which to work, after all.

I might even write a YA novel next. Who knows?

Having rambled enough for one day, I leave you with this important thought that I am thinking about, watching a stranger walk down the street:

"If you see a stranger, follow him!" - Radical Edward, from Cowboy Bebop Episode "Toys in the Attic"

Gotta go follow that stranger...


Anonymous said...

I would love to join the ranks of the media tie-in authors. I'm with you on that one.

Playing in someone else's world can be fun. Basically, you are getting paid to write fanfic.

Anonymous said...

Honestly, I don't think they care about cross-over audiences unless you have Gaiman-like numbers. They're really looking for a solid track record of finishing projects and not being a flake. That requires a writer to build up a track record. But it varies.

Besides, I think it would be a horrible thing for you to do a tie-in novel now. I have a brand that can survive charges of "sell out" from doing a tie-in. You don't. If you followed up Last Dragon with a tie-in, you'd have less chance of avoiding a label.

You have a remarkable talent, Mr. McDermott. Use it for good first. Then use it for what's morall indifferent. ;)


J m mcdermott said...

Thanks for your kind words, Patrice and Jeff! I'll think about that, Jeff. The point is moot since no one seems to want my pen in their playgrounds right now.

I would love to be able to do more and different work in as many ways as possible, though. The way I think is that's how writers learn and grow as writers.

Again, point is moot. Maybe someday I'll get to worry about being accused of "Selling-Out". That will be a very fine day.

Anonymous said...

Hey, one correction. Martha wrote some Stargate Atlantis novels, not Seaquest.

J m mcdermott said...

Oops! I'll fix it in a minute. Still, as someone who watched neither show, I actually couldn't tell you the difference.