One writer, two authors
I’m mostly known for writing comedy. Scratch that. I’m barely known, but when I am, it’s likely for comedy. So how does a silly clown writer go serious?
When I started putting the plan together for releasing A Book A Month, I knew I wanted to try and stray from my comfort zone of being funny. Literally 85% of the writing I’ve ever been paid for has been (or at least intended to be) comedy. Sure, I’ve pitched serious things, but they’ve never been picked up because of the stigma associated with the irreverence that haunts my work history.
And pitch history, for that matter.
Here’s some genuine advice: don’t try and pitch a thriller in which a pregnant woman is kidnapped, and accidentally throw in an impression of the fetus imprisoned in the womb whilst being doubly-imprisoned by the mother’s captors. I believe the phrase “You’ve put me in a prison, inside another prison!?” was uttered. There were chuckles, but fairly swiftly I was out the door.
That screenplay is going to become a BAM down the line because it’s a damn good story, but my proclivity for laughs got the better of me. Despite having praise for the script, I think it alienated the potential producers.
But that tends to be my downfall through most of my career. As I’ve often said;
“Other people fail upwards, I succeed downwards.”
So how does one deal with this perception – or at the very least, try and separate the two different strains of writing they’re going to be throwing out in the world?
They borrow from someone smarter than them.
Iain (M) Banks published twenty three novels in just under thirty years, flitting back and forth between regular ol’ fiction as “Iain Banks”, and science fiction under the initialized “Iain M Banks”. Those who preferred SF could stick to the initialed books, those who were more enamored with the mundane to the un-initialed, with everyone else picking and choosing as they wish, but knowing the quality of the writing would remain the same.
So, as the BAM project rolls out, I’ll be borrowing that bit of smartitude.
Straight books will be un-initialed, silly ones will be initialed. At one point I considered separating the SF from the regular fiction and maybe do a J.K. Rowling, but that seems over complicated. Plus, having met me, I’m pretty sure I don’t have that many straight fiction books deep inside.
So, when the second (and fourth, and sixth etc) BAM comes out, and it’s by a guy with my name, but a sneaky initial, don’t be too confused. And if you are confused, I truly worry about how you get yourself dressed, go to work, and generally live in the world.
Anyway, I’m pretty sure I’ve run out of steam on this tidbit of blog, so I should probably jump to the obligatory plug for the first BAM by the uninitialed ‘serious’ me, “@”, which comes out in just two weeks:
See you next time!