Thursday, 9 May 2013

Inner City - Scott Norton

I recently began redrafting Inner City - my first novel, published online about two years ago. The book was listed free to try and gain a fan base as a writer and has so far downloaded close to 6000 times on both Smashwords and another site where it is available to be downloaded and read for free.

The book has had many reviews from wonderful readers who took the time to have their say on both the Goodreads and Nook Book sites. I really can't thank these people enough, strangers to me and only connected through my writing - if you are one of them, you will never know how important you are to me.

My stories evolve over time. They start like a fog and slowly clear. I don't know why and I wish they delivered themselves more fully formed - but beggars can't be choosers.

The reason for the redraft is I adapted Inner City into a screenplay and it has had some interest. That means nothing of course until finance is raised and production begins - and having been down the road before with other projects, even optioned projects, even development funding, even attached actors and directors, nothing is guarantee until the movie goes into production - and even then, cross your fingers it gets finished and released.

It also made a decent level in the Page Awards, before I withdrew, not having realised that money earned for writing TV scripts ruled a writer out of entering a screenplay. This still seems unfair to me as writing television serial drama and writing a screenplay are worlds apart - but I had definitely written more than the $25000 earned cap, so I did the right thing - embarrassed to not have read the rules properly before entering, I might add.

But, adapting the story for the screen and making it fit the 105 - 115 page model meant I had to make some very tough choices. Not all worked, but a couple ended up being so much better in story structure terms that I have been compelled to change the original to meet the story of the screenplay in those few areas. It makes the story far more suspenseful, it creates better rendered secondary characters and it will hopefully give me a chance to attract a publisher. It suddenly occurred to me, since I posted the book online two years ago, I haven't sent it to anyone.

The reason for this is that as a writer you go through peaks and troughs and somewhere around 2009/2010 I came very close to throwing in the towel. I had lots of work as a free script doctor, was involved in many volunteer production projects, writing and directing shows for the Melbourne International comedy festival etc, but unless I went back to working on television shows in production and giving up the dream of finding a way to tell my stories my way and getting them to an audience, it seemed I'd hit a brick wall.

That's when I published online. I published under my middle name of Norton to make sure friends and family didn't review or download - I wanted an unbiased view of whether or not my stories were worth telling.

So thanks to everyone who downloaded and a special thanks to those who reviewed - especially those who gave me the good with the bad. This sounds far too dramatic than it needs to be - but those people, for good or bad, have kept me writing. They are why I decided to try and tell the story as a film, my first choice in storytelling and the one I'm most experienced in, and they are also why I'm redrafting. My view is, nothing I write will ever be as good as I would like it to be - but with the help of those who have taken an interest and commented, Inner City is certainly headed in the right direction.

Will Inner City ever be offered for free again? Of course - to those who ask. If you read some of my blog posts, you will know I advocate free content in the belief that, if something is good enough, the free samples will generate paying customers down the track. Maybe by word of mouth or maybe through the next item produced... so feel free to ask for a copy... like some have already done. Ask and you shall receive.

As soon as the story is redrafted I will make sure those who asked get a free copy. And it's my pleasure to do so. Enjoy reading!

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