By Sean Chercover
DATELINE: Key Largo. So, it's February, and it's about 78 degrees outside. That's the good news. The bad? The place I'm staying in has no Internet access. A small price to pay for a tropical February. As Trapper said, "We have to make some concessions to the war."
Oh, Marcus is here too. He says "Hi". I'll tell him you say "Hi" back.
We're writing a screenplay together.
It's been a few years since I've written in screenplay format. Obviously, it's very different than writing a novel. Between Big City Bad Blood and Trigger City, I spent some time writing short stories. Nowhere near as different as a screenplay, but still, the short story demands a level of discipline and economy way beyond the novel.
That's why I find short stories so hard to write.
But I think my second book benefited from what I learned during my time spent in Short Story Land. Will my next book benefit from the time spent in Screenplayland? I suspect that it might. There's so much focus on structure in screenwriting, and I find that I'm paying more attention to structure issues as I plot the next novel.
One thing that has surprised the hell out of me during this trip: Marcus and I have found that we can write together without bloodshed or tears. This is very good news.
There's a lot more February left, but so far, so good. If both Marcus and I return from Florida with all our limbs, you'll know that it stayed good.
I can't imagine co-writing a book with someone, but film is by nature a collaborative medium, and a screenplay is not a finished product. The film is the finished product; the screenplay is the blueprint for that product. So to me, it seems film is the perfect medium for collaborative writing.
Any of you switch between mediums in your writing? How does writing for one improve your writing in another? Or does it?
And what of collaboration? What's your take?