Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Dear Daniel

Dear Daniel,

I want to share something with you and those who read this blog. The handful who’ve graced me with their readership know that my recent trajectory is nothing short of mind boggling. I’ve been writing since I was five. Been watching t.v. and going to the movies before then. One of my first memories is being in a let down hatchback of a Pinto. Yes. I said hatchback and Pinto. And my mom, dad, sister Brandy and I were at the drive-in. And yes, I realize I said drive-in. The movie we were seeing was The Empire Strikes Back. I can’t remember if I made it through the whole movie since that was 78 and that would make 3 at the time. But the experience I remember distinctly.

The speaker you hung on the window. The warm night air. The way you had to walk all the way back to the concession stand. The stickiness of the floor. Honestly one shouldn’t probably eat anything that came out of that place. Every now and again we had the money for it but ultimately we had large paper bags and this was before the advent of microwave popcorn. We popped our own popcorn. When I got older my aunt and uncle did this, brought a cooler of cokes and lawn chairs and we sat outside the car and watched the movies that way. It was a cool and special way to go to the movies.

Growing into adulthood I found I wanted to be a part of the magic. I wanted to write movies. But being in the middle of nowhere when it came film (I live in KY) and being part of a blue collar family I didn’t know anything beyond NYU and USC and  UCLA film school. And the competition for those scholarships it seemed was way out of my league and my parents didn’t have the money to send me anywhere. I went on a partial scholarship to a theatre arts program school where the focus was on acting. My mental health problems were already raring their ugly little heads so I dropped out after the first year.

After a brush with cult called Amway and bouncing around to several nothing jobs, I began to write. Not particularly well. But I played in my sandbox alone, playing around with the kinds of stories I wanted to tell. No one told me  what I was doing was right or wrong. I was pretty much allowed to develop on my own. Reading books, going to films of all kinds from Batman to Muriel’s Wedding.

For the longest time I resisted moving out of my family’s house, funny, right? I’d been on my own, living with a boyfriend and his problematic family. I loved him very much, but I couldn’t handle being cut off from everything I’d ever known, and after 5 months in New Mexico I moved back to Kentucky.

My voice was allowed to develop freely. And when I met Missy she approached me about writing a romance novel together. I, in my arrogance and ignorance told her sure let’s write a romance novel for the money. She loved the romance genre, and what I found was that love stories are hard to craft. Especially ones that demand happily ever afters where I had a penchant for killing off one or both of the lovebirds. Nicholas Sparks likes to blather and blither on that he writes love tragedy. The reality is he writes women’s fiction. Where romances don’t always end happily ever after. Honestly, I read how he treated a female writer for even suggesting this and I think he was just being a jerk.

That being said, my twenties were filled with learning the art of the pitch, which I hate to brag but I’m really good at it. And co-writing scripts and shooting short films. Some of which I would never show the light of day. But here’s the thing, my voice was developing over that time. And in my early thirties I exercised my novel writing muscle. I needed a break, and Lea Schizas of MuseItUp Publishing gave it to me for my romantic suspense short novel, Another Way to Die. (Yes, I know, I stole the title from Quantum of Solace’s Bond Theme. Bad Amy.) And proceeded to go through the most grueling edit ever. I now have five books with them. Each better than the last. I was 35. It was 2011. I am now 38, and have books spread out across three other small presses.

Then last fall I got the itch. I wanted to write a screenplay again. Just to see if I’d gotten any better. I hadn’t gone near a screenplay in 5 years. They say it’s a young person’s game, but at 38 Missy and I, women, no less, scored our first win ever with Bounty Hunter. This past spring Missy and I watched Kevin’s Burn In Hell tour. She asked me if I wanted to start down that path again. Why not? What did we have to lose?

In the span of 4 months I penned two short novels and co-wrote two screenplays. Since as you may have noticed I penned a pilot and developed a treatment. Wrote another short novel and now I’m working furiously towards a 70K length novel. My first one that I can actually take to agents.

For what it’s worth I know drive-in’s are dying. That New York will look vastly different on the publishing landscape, but I already have found an agent to submit to quite by accident. But first to finish that book, Bella Morte.


Amy McCorkle

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