Episode # 25 – Switching Writing Genres with Michaelbrent Collings

In Uncategorized by Simon Whistler2 Comments

switching writing genres with Michaelbrent Collings

Switching Writing Genres with Michaelbrent Collings

In this weeks interview I talk to Michaelbrent Collings about hopping writing genres and screenwriting. We start the show having a chat about the different genres he writes in and why he has written in switched writing genres previously. We then turn to talking about screenwriting and his background in it and how he re-purposes his books into screenplays which might be bought by a studio. Importantly we talk about things an author can do to increase the chance of their book being turned into a film.

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Links:

The Colony – Michaelbrents most popular book.

Amazon Profile

Michaelbrent’s Website

Facebook

IMDB (!)

Mentions:

Brandon Mull – Author

Ink Tip – Script sales.

Drews Script-o-rama – Online database of scripts

Internet Movie Script Database – Another script database.

Show notes:

Serialized his book because he realized that it was going to be too big to do in one go. This has the benefit of keeping him noticed by Amazon (something Elle Casey talked about in this episode).

Practice

You need to practice to be a good writer and you need to understand that it is probably going to take a while before you write a good book. There is one thing that successful writers have in common – a lot of books.

Hopping Writing Genres

Michaelbrent has several writing genres and he describes this as being a result of, “his surname not being King”. He realizes that he needs to write where the money is, if a book of his sells well then he is going to write more in that genre.

Being able to do what he wants everyday (writing) is nice, but it is scary as he is unsure whether the bills are going to get paid each month. Even major authors worry about this.

Script Writing and Movies

Michaelbrent has been a screenwriter for a long time. This is work that pays and is less speculative than writing fiction. For authors thinking of this, check out some of the resources he mentions above. He turns his books into screenplays and vice versa and tries to sell both in order to maximise income. That said, don’t think this is easy to do – writing a screenplay is a very different beast from writing a novel.

If you are interested in having your book turned into a movie, having a screenplay of it will dramatically increase your chances of getting it picked up. Further, your book getting picked up by a producer doesn’t mean it is going to get made. Selling it to a smaller production company, even for less money, means it is much more likely to get made.

If the idea behind your book can be captured on a movie poster, you have a much better chance of having a studio pick it up.

Oh and you should also sell a lot of books, a lot a lot.

Quotes:

“Your first book is going to probably suck butt”

“If you belong to the sub times ten genre, don’t call yourself a bestseller”

Tip for new writers:

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Simon WhistlerEpisode # 25 – Switching Writing Genres with Michaelbrent Collings
  • just shared this episode on Twitter. Great and different – I actually learn story writing through copying famous movie scripts (e.g. Forrest Gump, Indiana Jones, Star Wars etc.) These are master craftsmen who understand dialogue and storytelling.
    (almost) no adverbs, no tell or exposition, just clear, nose-the-grindstone minimalist storytelling.

    The links are very useful, I will check out the script websites.

    BTW – I really liked Michael’s humor – crazy how he turned from lawyer to horror writer.

    (and Simon, I like how you focused on screenwriting this time. I think writers can learn a lot from wordy craftsmen in other areas – no great author I know just learned writing from other book writers.)

    • SimonRSP

      Thanks! I spent way to long over on Drews Script-o-Rama – it was the first time I had read movie scripts and I was amazed at how fast the story goes. The scenes play out so much faster in your head, it was brilliant (and addictive). I finished an early draft of Back to the Future and an unmade 1989 version of American Psycho in an afternoon!!