I am currently working on the screenplay of 'XINGU' - A Levalle Brothers Adventure. It is a much different process than it was writing the book. I suppose it would be more similar if I wasn't working off a completed manuscript. 

The two processes do share one thing - the finished product must adhere to very industry-specific formats. I've spent the better part of the last few days just getting to know the new one.  

I've completed the first draft of the opening scene: murder, arson, kidnapping, drama, hate and loss. And all of that on the first page. Cool.

Well, back to the screenplay. Cheers
I posted this MONDAY, FEBRUARY 27, 2012, on my 'A New Writer's Tale' Blog. Worth re-posting, especially for those aspiring writers. But beware. I've had a lot of people in the know tell me that my timeframe was actually much shorter than the great majority.

Looking Back (First Keystroke to Publication)

With three days to go before Avery McShane is released by Bloomsbury Children's Books in the U.K., I decided to look back and assess how long it took to get to this point. Here are the cold, hard numbers:

- From first keystroke (ever) to release date: 1,114 days (or 3 years, 1 month, 18 days)

- From first keystroke (ever) to Book Deal: 595 days (or 1 year, 7 months, 18 days)

- From first keystroke (ever) to Signing Agent: 491 days (or 1 year, 4 months, 6 days)

You see, Avery McShane was not the first manuscript I started. That honor fell to Paleopeople, which I have completed several times. Or at least I thought I had, until my agent sent me back to the keyboard again. 

I started writing Avery McShane while I waited for my agent to read and review Paleopeople. Here are the numbers starting from the day I typed the first word of Avery McShane:

- From first keystroke (of A/Mc) to release date: 869 days (or 2 years, 4 months, 16 days)

- From first Query Letter (for A/Mc) to release date: 821 days (or 2 years, 3 months)

- From first keystroke (of A/Mc) to Book Deal: 320 days (or 10 months, 16 days)

- From first Query Letter (for A/Mc) to Book Deal: 272 days (or 8 months, 29 days)

Obviously, not in any particular order, but you get the idea. For the record, it seemed much longer. These numbers will probably not mean jack to a non-writer, but they are the kinds of numbers any new, aspiring writer might find of interest. Good thing I never really gave it much thought. If I had, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have kept going - but I did. And now I have three more days to go. Drop in a bucket.
And now, just to keep up the theme of re-posting blurbs of mine from other blogs, I present to you the first post from my 'Adventures of a Third Culture Kid' blog.


Friending TCK's

I have friended people on Facebook that I haven't seen or heard from in over thirty years. Some of them last heard from me forty-five years ago. These are friends that grew up with me in the middle of Venezuela in the Sixties, and others from Ecuador in the early and mid Seventies. I now spend more time interacting with them than I do with all the friends I met since then. It could be just because they were there during my formative years and friends from those years are indelible to everyone, but I think there's more to it in the case of TCK's.

We share a common bond and it transcends differences. Differing political and religious views take a back seat to that bond of growing up as foreigners in foreign lands. We reminisce about the experience and most of us keep up on the goings-on in those places. Many return to visit and some never leave those places.

And it's even more than that. I know what I'm getting when I friend a TCK. They are less bigoted and prejudiced, on the whole, than the rest of the population. It's a fact. And they tend to be more educated - four times more likely than the average person to receive undergraduate and graduate degrees - and it's not because they're smarter or richer. It's because their eyes have been opened to a whole new world of possibilities and it makes little sense for them to stop learning more and more about it. I know it sounds uppity, but it isn't intended to be. I mean, who wouldn't want to surround themselves with people who have been there and done that; who don't judge books from the covers; who know that Bolivia isn't a country in Africa and that they speak Spanish there? Who wouldn't want to be a part of that informed perspective of the world?

Of course, my cadre of non-TCK friends tends to reflect these qualities, too. It's just natural that I would gravitate to them. Open minded? Well traveled? Read a lot? Rational? Fret that the international community seems decidedly anti-American, but really know first-hand why? Wish you could do something about it or, in fact, do do something about it? Then you are a friend of mine - whether you are a TCK or not.

The following is the first post from my 'A New Writer's Tale' blog. It's good timing. In less than one week it will have been four years since I started writing. Wow.

I Decide to Write a Book
January 11, 2009

Two years ago, almost exactly. My management consulting business was in the tank. The economy had gone south for the winter and my clients flew down there with them. I was depressed and alone and sitting in my office overlooking the marina. The dreams of making the business work turned into the reality of it never happening. I did what I usually do when I have little to do and I'm depressed. I picked up a book and started reading. The book was Dinosaur in a Haystack, by Stephen J. Gould. I had last read the book almost fifteen years before and it was one of my favorite non-fiction works and what the author had to say resonated deeply with me.

I opened the book to the first page, and what should I see? A doodle. A simple sketch of a spirally shell with a caption below it reading "Shell People". The doodle immediately brought back the memory of the plane flight. I sat in First Class on a 747 headed for Amsterdam. My final destination was Archangel, in the Arctic Circle part of Russia. I remember seeing the Aurora Borealis, not for the first time nor the last. I doodled for the duration of the flight and a story was born. I did not write the first word of the story until January 11, 2009, but when I did it the doodler became a writer.
Slowly but surely I will consolidate my other blogs into this brand spanking new one. I'll bring over the best posts from them, and then slowly phase them out. I never spent much time on them anyway.