Thursday, April 27, 2006

The Story Thus Far

The Story Thus Far

(Apologies to WriterAction members - I couldn't resist)

Yes, I finally have a website for my upcoming debut novel, The Harrowing - and the requisite accompanying blog. Now - what exactly to do with it? Luckily, since I have not yet officially launched this website or blog, I can blather on without repercussions, and possibly find my blog voice before anyone actually reads any of this. Anyone who happens on this space by mistake, please bear with me!

I guess the point is to try to be honest and useful to people who are interested in doing this writing/publishing/producing thing themselves. And since experience has shown I can be useful in that arena (see I'll just start and hope for the best.

Having worked as a screenwriter for ten years I find it a little unnerving to be an actual author now and to have attention suddenly shift to me, instead of me having to be constantly as charming but self-effacing as possible while servicing the (endless, bottomless, insatiable....) needs of the producers, director, star, or all of the above of whatever film project I happen to be working on. I was at the fun and fabulous LA Times Festival of Books last weekend and people kept asking me to autograph the postcards of The Harrowing and even asked to take pictures with me. And the book isn't even out until September.

Amazing, really - you become an author as opposed to a writer and people suddenly care what you think.

(But as a producer told me in a meeting last week - "Hey, don't get used to that." Right. Sigh.)

Anyway, right, the story thus far:

As my website bio details, I started in musical theater at a very young age. In fact, I was just about seven when I did a Civic Light Opera production of Rumpelstiltskin with Billy Barty. Now I have to say that's strange, to be seven, barely aware of reality, and find yourself in a full-scale, balls-out musical with a real celebrity Little Person. Mythic, really. Jung would have been proud.

I did musicals through high school, improvisational theater through and after college; moved into script reading, then professional film writing (that is, after a brief stint in video writing and production that I left out of that website bio); and proceeded to work as a screenwriter for really, far, far, FAR too long for sanity.

The last three or four years of my screenwriting career I became so revolted by "The Process" that I started quietly but systematically getting the rights back to all my original work that was sold or optioned to various studios. More on that later, I'm sure. And, oh yes, because I'm from Berkeley and thus everything is political, I also ran for the Board of Directors of the Writers Guild of America, west, the union of professional screenwriters, and won a seat, where I am working to increase screenwriters' political power in the industry. Dorothy Parker did it - I can only hope to follow in her footsteps in some small way.

As part of this epiphany of mine that the film business as currently constituted is death to writers (Exaggeration? Perhaps...) I wrote The Harrowing as a novel from one of my original scripts, sold the book to St. Martin's Press in fall of last year in a two-book deal (an incredibly fast and painless process, thank God, or I probably would have killed myself, seriously) and now find myself a complete naive in the wonderful world of publishing.

My book agent is Scott Miller, of Trident Media Group.
My editor is Ben Sevier, at St. Martin's Press.

(Which all makes me the evil twin of Robert Gregory Browne - or him the evil twin of me, we'll have to see which!)

The Harrowing debuts August 22, 2006

And it will all unfold right here, for anyone who's interested.

Love, Alex



Sandra Ruttan said...

The evil twin of Robert Gregory Browne - no, no, no!

Seriously, welcome to blogdom. Look forward to more posts!

Alexandra Sokoloff said...

Hey Sandra - nice to see you here -what a small world the Internet is. Seriously, it was amazingly weird to start reading Rob's blog after we were both assigned to the same panel at Thrillerfest (titled, frighteningly, "What Do You Mean I Can't Quit My Day Job???") and realize that besides the fact that we're both writing supernatural thrillers and learning this whole publishing thing from square one - we both broke into screenwriting through contests, we both broke away from screenwriting to do novels, we have the same book agent, the same publisher, the same editor, and a very dear and unusual friend in common.

The way my mind works, I'm immediately thinking he's merely a facet of my hitherto suspected but unproven multiple personality. Or am I the one who doesn't really exist?

All very troubling...

Sandra Ruttan said...

Oh my God, you two really were separated at birth! That's bizarre!

In order for their to be balance once of you must be the good twin, and the other the evil twin.

And all will regard you both with suspicion until which is which has been revealed!

Rob Gregory Browne said...

If anyone's the evil twin, it's me. I think you're probably the MORE SUCCESSFUL twin. :)

Just met with Ben and Scott in NYC, by the way. Had a great lunch, got to meet Sally, our publisher, and am really thrilled to be with St. Martin's.

Plus I found out that one of the perks of being an author for SMP is FREE BOOKS!!!

Alexandra Sokoloff said...

No, I'm the evil twin. I met the fabulous Sarah Weinman at BEA ( she commented on our separated-at-birth relationship and distinctly called me the evil twin.

As for more successful - wasn't it Donne who said "Comparisons are odious." ???

I think it's just about suicidal to compare yourself to other writer. There's always, always going to be someone who's "more successful". The thing that I try to keep in mind is that no one can write the people and stories I write. It's totally on me. If I do them justice, and make them live for other people, that's successful. Anything else is fool's gold.

But OH, is that hard to live by!