Is it wrong as a writer to dream about film rights?



I work in the imagination, my mind is my office, the daydream my work. At the moment it’s a volunteer position where I put in the hours for the pure joy of doing it and the dream that one day perhaps I will see my book in print. Every unpublished writer’s dream. But is it wrong to dream about the film rights and one day seeing my story in cinematic form? Purists might thing it crass to say such a thing out loud, the writing is key and true writers don’t write to make movies, they write to write but as Emma Donoghue proved so successfully with her book and film adaptation of Room, you can do it and do it very successfully.

Now, I don’t envisage my tale winning any Oscars by any means but since its inception I’ve allowed myself to clear out a little cobwebbed corner of my mind and allow that notion to tap its feet and hum a show tune. I work in film; so why can’t I have that dream? It’s a big part of who I am and I allow myself to hallucinate that one day I might venture to its World Premiere in Dublin, standing alongside the actors playing characters that I created. Me. My characters.

If dreaming were an occupation, I’d wrack up some serious overtime but I don’t think it harms my writing process – if anything if enhances it and so what’s the harm? When I write, the spools of film run through my mind, a succession of flashing images that I translate to the page. I see my characters, I hear their voices, their laugh, their cries, the texture of their clothes and the ground underfoot…they are real to me. Is it normal to then conceive that someday I may see that to fruition, taken from the reader’s mind, the personal made public for all to see?

Well then why not write a screenplay, I hear you say? Perhaps but my story has come together in novel form and the road to publication is one with many possibilities. Screenplays it seems to me, brilliant ones, stay on dusty shelves awaiting funding and making films is a much more expensive business and a bigger gamble with lots more players with money at stake.

The inflated ideas

I can hear the voice of a cynical agent as they throw my manuscript in the nearest bin at such a notion, berating me for thinking that a film deal is an easy conjuring trick for any agent to make happen. I’m a dreamer but I am not without the practicalities and logic that go with putting your trousers on one leg at a time.

The money

At the moment I have nothing to lose and so I state my dream proudly. Tell me an author doesn’t feel that tingle of being on set when that scene is being shot that they worked so hard to perfect years before, or the joy of sharing that first trailer on their social media. It’s about the money you say! I mean film rights, come on, doesn’t Hollywood pay the big bucks? Don’t all writers want to be Dan Brown or Stephen King? Isn’t that the penniless writer’s dream? I’d be a liar if I said it didn’t matter (you should see my bank balance at the moment) but it’s not everything. You certainly won’t see me in a Ferrari. [as my husband weeps]

The glory

As a film publicist I’ve worked a lot of red carpets and it’s been a terrific experience but I do not possess an ego that wishes to step into the limelight and grab some of that celeb glory for myself. A peasant who wants to sit on the iron throne. Nope, not my style. So, the kudos doesn’t interest me. The vision does.

How it may be transferred? Who will write the screenplay? Me? Who will play my characters? There’s a merry game on a rainy afternoon. One day I know I’ll get my book out there in one form or another – if I have to sell it from a pram door to door or over the fabulous interweb or shout the words to passers-by on the street, I’m ready for whatever route that comes. And a film, well that would be a special and personal gift especially as I’m in this for the long game.

So laugh, begrudge, call the men in white coats but a gal can dream and dream big. For what are we without them?

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