Writing is Writing

by Mel Gilden

I have written a lot of novelizations and media tie-in books, but sometimes that doesn't seem to count for much in the wonderful world of publishing.  I generally turned in satisfactory work on time.  In the old days, 10 or 15 years ago, I could always count on my editors to throw more work my way.  But editors don't always stay in place.  They get married or change careers or otherwise stop being my editor.  The new editor, whoever she is, has her own favorites and can't seem to find the time to return my call or email when I introduce myself.  For this reason, it seems that I have to re-install my career every decade or so.

Good news, then.  I finally got a call back from a nice lady at Disney Press™, the arm of Disney publishing that is responsible for media tie-ins, and I expect to be writing for them soon.

Some of you may believe that it is a step down, or even a whole staircase down, to go from writing original novels to writing stories about licensed characters.  I don't think so.  Writing is writing, and I always do my best.  And I would much rather write about licensed characters than work at some office or sales job.  Besides, I'm not dead yet.  There is no rule against writing my own stuff between or even during media tie-in projects.

More good news came when I heard from a non-profit organization looking for a grant writer/editor.  I'm still getting my tootsies wet in this area, but as I said, writing is writing.

I'm reading a book of essays and short stories by a woman named Merrill Joan Gerber.  So far, the essay that interested me most was a recounting of her experiences at a writer's colony in New York state called Yaddo.  It reminded me of my own experiences at the two Clarion Science Fiction Writers workshops I attended.  The first workshop was particularly important to me because 1) it was the first occasion I was away from home for any length of time, and 2) it was the first time I was a member of a group in which I was not the weirdo because I was a writer.  We were all weirdos, and rejoiced in it.

I have DVD's of the old British TV show called Secret Agent, known in the UK as Danger Man.  As is the case on American TV, one sees the same faces over and over again in different roles.  The shocker on this occasion was seeing Bernard Lee as a hemi-demi-semi bad guy.  The only time I'd see Lee before was as M, James Bond's boss in the early Bond films.  And now here he was having a serious heart-to-heart with John Drake.  I had no trouble fantasizing about how Drake and Bond worked for the same man, and how they occasionally met in the hallway to discuss the spy biz.

I am reminded of the Twilight Zone episode staring William Shatner, in which he plays a man who sees a gremlin out on the wing of his airplane pulling wires and other bits out of the engine.  In that episode, when the stewardess can no longer deal with him, a man comes back from the cockpit to see what he can do about quieting Shatner's character down.  The man from the cockpit is Ed Kemmer, who a few years before had been Commander Buzz Corey of the Space Patrol.  And here is was conversing with Captain Kirk of Starfleet.  I love stuff like this.

Shatner and Kemmer

Christine White, Ed Kemmer, and William Shatner.   btw, Nick Cravat was the Gremlin!