Monday, January 29, 2007

So what does happen now?

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore—
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over—
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?
—Langston Hughes, "A Dream Deferred"

I was so excited about the writing contest I mentioned in my previous entry. I've been busy writing, editing, rewriting and formulating my ideas, in addition to going to the gym, eating right, keeping up (to some degree, at least) with my apartment blah blah blah. I've enlisted the help of a few people to review my work and offer me suggestions. All in all, I've been pretty psyched about finally writing and at the possibility of catching the eye of a publisher in the contest.

Unfortunately, the manuscript I've been working on is a complete rewrite of a fantasy adventure book two friends and I wrote back in eighth grade. When I told one friend of my plan, he was like "Sure. Whatever. I think this will be a good thing for you." When I told the other person about it, she was like "Well, I don't know..."

Before you think I'm trying to usurp someone else's hard work, keep in mind that (1) The manuscript I'm writing bears very little resemblence to the original, except in the most basic story (2) I'm the only one who's kept this story idea alive for the past twenty plus years (3) And the finished product is going to reflect 85-90% the sweat of my brow. I don't mind sharing the credit. In fact, I want to share the credit. And I certainly don't mind sharing any monetary profit. The reason I brought this up to my erstwhile collaborators was to make an arrangement for the share of any future monies in advance.

My concern is that no contest or book publisher would take a chance on an unpublished, untested author if there were even a hint of intellectual property dispute. I've told a few friends about this recent development. But so far none of them understand the real problem. This contest was a rare opportunity for me. All I've ever wanted to do in my life is write. And this was a way for me to bypass the endless slush piles of agents and publishers. Now as I march ever steadily towards forty, I see that chance slipping away from me.

As you might guess, I'm thoroughly disgusted by the entire affair. I swear, just being a drunk took a lot less effort. It's not as if I seem to be getting anywhere, anyway. Bollucks to the money, too. I haven't touched a drop in over four weeks, and I'm still dead broke, overdrawn on my checking account and conniving as to how I can scrape together a few bucks to put gas in my car.

3 Comments:

At 6:00 PM, Anonymous ssb said...

if the new manuscript is basically something new, can't you say something like "based on the story x, by a, b, anc c." or, "inspired by the story x" or something like that. that way you're giving credit to everyone for the original idea, while giving yourself due credit for the new writing.

 
At 6:10 PM, Anonymous sbb said...

forgot to mention, a few weeks ago i found a copy of a story you wrote in high school. my brain is too tired to remember the name of it right this second. it appeared to be an original typed copy. i'm sure you have copies, but would you like me to send it to you?

 
At 10:08 PM, Anonymous melisse said...

Gosh, I have no idea what the solution is but there's got to be one. Don't give up - do some research, whatever. But don't stop writing.

 

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