With ten pages left to go on editing SOS United States, I’ve started to ponder the next steps in this project. First, I’ll start to research agents and publishers in the political thriller field for their submission/review process. Just like the world of film, each company has a different process—one that must be followed. I’ll also start to look for an editor for that necessary work. Although, if the manuscript is picked up by an agent/publisher, they would have their own editors to bring to the manuscript. Another step will be to review self-publishing companies. While this method was a bit taboo years ago, like the film industry, it’s been standardized to make it a worthwhile commercial option.
Regardless of how the book winds up in the market, it’s a project completed. There is a certain satisfaction in bringing an idea to life. Whether you are committing it to paper or screen, knowing that it will eventually be shared with an audience is a thrill like no other. I remember so many years ago, when my first book Frozen Assets arrived in my office. Opening the box from the printer and seeing months and years of work bound into hardcover was something I’ll always be immensely proud of.
Works like this don’t happen overnight. So many want to be an accomplished screenwriter or author. What they must understand is that it’s hard work. Work done the old-fashioned way. Research, outlines, writing, rewriting, etc. etc. I’m not a slow or fast writer, I’m more methodical – midrange if you will. I like to move along, but I’m also thinking of the story, the characters, and various arcs. For SOS United States, I found that while the end of the book is basically the same as the screenplay, there are differences that I think give the story more heft, or as I like to say gravitas.
That is what makes a writer a writer. We think of an idea, and we execute. We labor over writers’ block to come up with a way of presenting a story that’s new and fresh. One that we hope will entice the reader to turn a page or to sit through the next minute of a movie. When we consider the centuries of creative writing and the great works that have been created that continue to entertain audiences to this day, I think we all shudder at the thought that something may terminate those efforts of genius—I speak about artificial intelligence.
Unless you are living under a rock or perhaps the planet, artificial intelligence, better known as AI, has now permeated nearly every industry. The threat to creative writing is the AI may soon replace humans. I have no interest in a book, screenplay or other creative work that has been written by a computer program. Yes, AI is wonderful for customer service, research and the like, but even that takes away from the originality of the human process. By another example, we know AI is actively working in the legal profession, but the mind of a skilled lawyer who has a feel for the law that shapes our society, is something that should never be relegated to AI—less, AI begins to regulate us.
I don’t believe in living in the past. We know that developments in AI and a host of new technologies make our world a better place. But that being said, we must be sure that technology doesn’t replace the gifted thought, creativity and compassion that makes up the human being. For while we created this new technology, let’s not have it recreate us.
“Machine intelligence is the last invention that humanity will ever need to make.” – Nick Bostrom
There are those times when you are just going about your business when suddenly the phone rings. I can’t speak for those that read this blog, but when my phone rings, and I don’t recognize the number, I just let it go to voicemail. I was pleasantly surprised, and pleased, to learn that it was a former colleague from my days as the publisher of a figure skating magazine. She was calling from the Ice Theatre of New York and advised me that they were honoring my skating coach from my days at Sky Rink at an upcoming event.
During my call with Jirina (who is the Executive Director) we reminisced about those years at Sky Rink (1980s) and the glorious decade that followed that saw the sport grow as an industry around the world. Many of us that worked in the sport saw our enterprises grow to levels we only imagined.
But for me the origins go back to the late 1980s and Sky Rink. This was a rink that was literally in the sky. In the case of Sky Rink, it was on the top floor of an office building. It was during those years that I met my coach Darlene who not only trained me harder than any coach I had previously, but did it with pride and levity. She used to call me Louella after the famed columnist Louella Parsons for the stories I would tell. Who would have thought that years after I would launch a newsmagazine that became the world’s largest in the sport.
It was during the Sky Rink days, that I was introduced to Moira the founder of the Ice Theatre of New York. While I always had an appreciation of the arts from dance, ballet and classical music, this was an organization that married all these disciplines to the ice. The result has been a decades-long “ice theatre” that has continuously presented new ways for audiences to enjoy the art of figure skating. The first event I ever coordinated was their storied annual gala. Those early experiences paved the way for the career I have enjoyed.
To learn more about the Ice Theatre of New York and their 2022 Benefit Gala and Performance, please click this link. This year’s event honors Olympic Ice Dance Champions Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean with Darlene Parent and Wade Corbett as Alumni Award Recipients. Tracy Wilson and Brian Orser will co-chair the event while Betty Wasserman is the Ice Angel Award Recipient.
It has been an interesting week walking down memory lane as Facebook reminded me about the 2016 World Figure Skating Championships that were held in Boston. Aside from an appearance on ESPN’s 30 for 30, I hadn’t been connected to the sport for many years. Suffice to say it was a wonderful reunion of friends and colleagues from days long past.
For it was at those championships that I conceived the idea for Serpentine – a political thriller set in the near future with the logline, “A champion figure skater finds herself in a government conspiracy involving her missing mother and a Cold War mystery that culminates at the world championships in Moscow.” They say life works in mysterious ways. With current world events, who knows, perhaps Serpentine could be the next project.
But whatever project of mine comes next, one thing is certain, it all started in New York.