WiRL: “You’ve gotta keep up with the other kids”

Dad on computer while kid plays with iPad

(Image: NYT)

Episode 63: The One with Sensible Screentime

Morgan damns Barry with faint praise. Mornings! Showers! Is the “limit your kid’s screentime” notion an anti-feminist plot? Barry’s theory that multiple TVs lead to divorce. Plus, Morgan preps for her first writing conference…and makes a soul-searching confession.

Stories I Never Told: Watchmen

Given that this has happened, I guess it’s time to tell this never-to-be-told tale…

A long time ago, I had an idea for a story. The great thing about the idea was that it could fit into any DC comic at any time. Talk about versatile, eh?

Here goes: Whatever DC comic I was lucky enough to be writing, I would start having shadowy figures show up, saying cryptic things. Eventually, I would reveal that those figures were, in fact, the characters from Watchmen. Dr. Manhattan, Silk Spectre, Nite Owl, Ozymandias, Rorschach, the Comedian… All of ’em.

And they would be acting totally like typical superheroes. Right down to insipid expository dialogue. Like, “Good thing Dr. Manhattan decided to resurrect the Comedian and Rorschach! We need the team at full strength!” And “This parallel earth is so different from our own!”

In short, I would pissing off a metric ton of Watchmen fans by repurposing the characters in this way.


Until it’s revealed that these “Watchmen” are actually just denizens of the DC Universe cosplaying as characters from their favorite graphic novel!1 So, yeah, it would basically just be me trolling the fans.

Told Paul Levitz this idea once. He laughed.

  1. Because it has been established that Watchmen exists in the DCU as a graphic novel.

Why isn’t there an I Hunt Killers movie/TV show?

IHK_movie_theaterOf late, I have noticed a certain topic coming up on social media. And it boils down to the question at the top of this page.

For those of you new to the series, rest assured: It was attempted and it failed. There’s no one to blame — things just don’t work out sometimes.

I get it, though — if you’ve read the books and you really, really liked them1 then you’re sitting around going, “WTF, Hollywood? These books are perfect for (as one person wrote to me) ‘a television show or series of blockbuster movies.’ Get on it!”

You want a movie or a TV series. Hell, so do I.

Here’s the deal: There are a ton of books that would make great TV or great movies. A ton of them. Thousands of books are published each year; mere hundreds of movies are made. Not everything that’s worthy will be chosen.

And in general, so far as I can tell, Hollywood decides to make a movie or a TV show from a book based on one of two factors:

  1. Someone very powerful really loves the book and insists on turning it into a film, or
  2. The book is a mega-super-duper-bestseller, so Hollywood knows there’s a built-in audience for it, making it a risk worth taking

It’s not just about “It’s really good and would make a great movie!”

As to #1: Well, look, if any of you out there are close personal friends with someone powerful in Hollywood, sure, go ahead and hand that person a copy of I Hunt Killers. Because if Brad Pitt or Reese Witherspoon or Ryan Reynolds or Jennifer Lawrence read and love it, it’ll become a movie. I guarantee it.

But so far, that hasn’t happened.

As to #2: Hey, I know you loved the books, but we need a couple hundred thousand of your friends to love it, too. Or at least to buy it. Don’t get me wrong: I Hunt Killers is without a doubt the most successful book of my career; it even landed at #3 on the bestsellers list! But what makes something a “hit” in publishing doesn’t always measure up to something that will get Hollywood’s attention. As best I can tell, I’d need to sell four or five times more copies of I Hunt Killers to get Hollywood to sit up and take notice. And at this late date, with the book being so old, the odds of hundreds of thousands of readers suddenly discovering it are pretty slim.

The news isn’t all bad, though. There’s still option #1. Rest assured: My agent is always working to put the book in front of the right people, and even though we’ve had no luck thus far…we only have to get lucky once.

  1. And thank you for that!

WiRL: “Scotland, My Favorite Country”

Episode 62: The One with Eight Followers, Maybe Twelvesunset over water

Morgan is obsessed with Snapchat. Follow-up on programming your brain and baby paranoia. Leia climbs on a truck. Vacations are good. New ideas for stories! The scourge of outlining. Morgan publishes an essay. Pitching vs. blogging. The frustration of being ignored by editors and agents.

Summer 2016 Teen Author Reading Nights!

The schedule for the Summer 2016 series of Teen Author Reading Nights has been announced! Yours truly will be reading from The Secret Sea on August 3, but be sure to check out all of the amazing authors who show up each month. (All readings begin at 6pm at the Jefferson Market Branch of the New York Public Library.)

June 1

  • Tara Altebrando, The Leaving
  • Jennifer Castle, What Happens Now
  • Gordon Korman, Slacker
  • Lois Metzger, Change Places With Me
  • Sarah Mlynowski, Think Twice
  • Lindsay Ribar, Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies

July 6

  • Caela Carter, Tumbling
  • Melissa Grey, The Shadow Hour
  • Jeff Hirsch, Black River Falls
  • Kathryn Holmes, How it Feels to Fly
  • Ann Stampler, How to Disappear
  • Stephanie Kate Strohm, The Taming of the Drew

August 3

  • Aimee Friedman, Two Summers
  • Barry Lyga, The Secret Sea
  • Amanda Panitch, Never Missing, Never Found
  • Laura Stamper, Little Black Dresses, Little White Lies
  • Sarvenaz Tash, The Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love