If I could go back in time and tell the first person who said to me "you're a really good writer" to shut up, I would. Writing, though cathartic and what I was meant to do, has brought me (almost) nothing but heartache and disappointment. But for some unknown reason, I write - I always have and always will. It's a curse. I have done a lot of different writing - screenwriting, business writing, technical writing, media writing... and I thought those types were going to be my life...
But last fall when I decided to adapt one of my screenplays into a novel, everything changed. I suddenly became excited again about books and storytelling, and now find myself immersed in the world of books again. This time last year, I had no idea I would now be sending out queries to agents for a book I had written. I had no idea what #DVPit was. And #PitchWars... what? So, here I am...
A little bit of history... about my book
The origin of my novel Lost Together goes back many years when I took a course in screenwriting. I fell in love with that form of writing and thought I had discovered the kind of writing I was supposed to do. The final assignment, of course, was to write a screenplay. Lost Together (then known as Freefalling) began as a short 10 minute horror script. By the end of the course, I had developed it into a feature-length dramatic screenplay. After the course ended, and encouraged by my teacher who became my mentor, I went through many drafts until he and I were satisfied.
I then began to "shop it around", not really knowing what I was doing - submitting it to contests and pitching it to producers. When it made it through to the quarterfinals of a contest called Slamdance, I thought, "wow, this is easy." Ha! I can easily say that trying to get a screenplay into the film industry is next to impossible. Progress stalled and I became very disillusioned. I stopped writing. A couple years later, I decided I needed more than just one script, so I regained my confidence and churned out script after script in a wide-variety of genres. 10 years since that screenwriting course, I have a portfolio of 10 screenplays - some of which have gotten into producers hands... but have sat there.
Last fall, I read an article about the surge in interest in YA novels, and especially those that featured diversity. I had an epiphany: I have the perfect YA novel - my screenplay Lost Together, and I already have an outline (my screenplay). With my decision made, I used NaNoWriMo in November as my vehicle to push me to write my novel. Through several months, many breaks, sleepless nights, eye strain, back pain, re-writes, revisions, polishes and re-polishes, I finished Lost Together - the novel, last month.
About my book...
The tagline: A grief-stricken teen finds solace in chaos.
The logline (screenwriting speak): A straight-A high school teen and his unstable childhood bully form an unlikely alliance to escape their dysfunctional and abusive families, until a night of drug-induced rage changes their lives forever.
The back cover: Will Thomas has a perfect life – money, a nice car, a beautiful girlfriend, a loving family, and a sports scholarship to university. But it all falls apart when his father dies in a suspicious car accident. Shane, a troubled Indigenous teen, and Will's childhood bully, is released from prison to complete his high school diploma. Consumed by grief, Will spirals into Shane’s life of drugs and family violence. The two boys turn to each other to cope with their dysfunctional and abusive families – a decision that ends in tragedy.
A little bit of history... about me
I was born in a very small town in Nova Scotia. I learned to read and love books before I started school. Until the town got a library, I read everything in the house and at school - twice, I think. I discovered writing when I was a pre-teen. A few years later, consumed with the creative writing process, I wrote a novel... then a second. I knew they weren't very good - I was just happy to have written something. After completing university, I came home one summer and discovered the manuscripts in a drawer. I began to read them, then tucked both of them under my arm, went out to the backyard, tossed them both into a large metal barrel, and burned them. They were awful.
I followed my BA in English Literature with my adventure in screenwriting. Screenwriting temporarily derailed my novel writing career. For the next ten years, I compiled a portfolio of ten feature screenplays and teleplays. I also created and managed my own professional website and blog, mainly to satisfy my love of film, tennis, and politics. Lost Together has brought me full circle back to books. It began as a 10 year exile in screenwriting. That short screenplay has now turned into a novel. It was a roundabout way of getting back to books. Life is funny isn't it?
Follow me on Twitter @IAmTrevorScott
(FYI: I Tweet a lot about progressive politics and professional tennis too :)
Find other #PitchWars #pimpmybio participants here.
This Canadian film from 1988 is yet another one of my favourites that has become a 'cult classic'. I hate that term because it infers that something about the film prevented it from becoming either a commercial or critical success and therefore it is relegated to the $0.99 bin at your old video store or on Amazon. Nothing could be further from the truth. The fact of the matter is that PIN was lost in the sea of horror films (mostly bad) that were manufactured and rolled off the conveyor belt in the 1980s. That it was a Canadian film didn't help matters in the distribution department. Simply put, PIN is a good scare and one of the best psychological thrillers ever made.
In one of his first roles, David Hewlett is fascinating as Leon who becomes too attached to the anatomically correct medical dummy PIN. His performance is thoroughly engaging. Terry O'Quinn and Bronwen Mantel perfectly play his distant, authoritative and rule-laden parents. Cynthia Preston as Leon's sister delivers a tortured, compelling performance as she struggles to comes to terms with Leon's mental instability. Based on the novel PIN, the story takes center stage and it's completely believable.
Wrongly labelled a horror film, PIN is instead a character study of mental illness. It treats the subject with real issues and circumstances instead of using it as exploitation to only scare the audience and make people afraid of schizophrenia. Leon doesn't just suddenly think PIN is real. He always has and this becomes the touchstone of the central issue of the story - Leon's mental illness. What makes this film so good is we learn that Leon has always struggled with mental illness, but it is those around him who act they way they do that create the tension, stress, thrills and scares of the film - not Leon.
Director and screenwriter Sandor Stern had the vision to craft this film as a character study - not an exploitation horror film. When a character study involves so much rich, emotionally wrought circumstances, the drama (and in this case, thrills and scares) flows from it naturally. When you look at this film from this point of view, it becomes much more compelling and in the end, the film becomes an example of the best of its genre. Thoroughly recommended. Highly praised, this little 'cult classic'.
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