An enlightening little mention here on where the ideas for the film ‘Hellboy 2’ came from. My novel ‘Spanky’ was turned into the film script ‘Mephisto’s Bridge’, and so very nearly got made. I’d rather director Guillermo del Toro had created an original feature rather than a comic book sequel, but the film he was persuaded to make instead turned out well. He was very fair-minded and kind to me about what happened, and I have no complaints, except that if he had gone with his first plan it might just have changed my entire career!
What if? Are words you really don’t want to think about too much. Looking back as I take stock of my recent slew of books and consider my next move, I can see how many times I very nearly had film and TV shows made from material. I don’t tend to think about it anymore, because it has ceased to be important to me. For a while, though, I was desperate to have a film made of something I’d written. Now I look at shows like the excellent ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’, based on Margaret Atwood’s novel, and realise it’s over 30 years old, because that’s roughly how long it takes to get anything based on a book filmed.
The secret to staying calm as a writer is to concentrate on the one thing you do best – writing – and let others come to you if they see further possibilities in your work. I know too many people who have spent their entire lives attempting to get their books translated into other media and going slowly mad over it.
BTW, after publishing my most recent volume of short stories (this time as an e-book, sadly, as paperback collections have died a death) my promise to film students and directors still holds; if there’s any story you want to film, you can apply to me for free single-use rights.