Book: Spectral Witness by Diane L. Randlecategories: Book, Paranormal Thriller, Psychopath, Lost Love, Mother Daughter, Psychopaths, Psychic Thriller, Near Death Experience, Murder, Psycho Doctor, Thriller, Suspense, Mystery, Crime, Paranormal, Psychological Suspense
Diane L. Randleabout this book: "The ending surprised me." I said to a friend of mine.
She replied, "But, you wrote it! You wrote the screenplay and then, I don't get it, you wrote the novel from your own screenplay - how could the ending surprise you!"
"I just didn't see it coming."
Sometimes things happen the way they're supposed to happen. Even if it really ticks you off. Even if it really ticks you off for seven whole years.
You see, seven years ago I was asked to write a screenplay by an Emmy nominated director (I worked in film for ten years) and so, I pitched an idea to him about a woman seeing the murder of her childhood sweetheart while she herself is having a near death out of body experience. He said, "Great! Write it!"
I sweated it out for six drafts, literally chucking 80% of it after the first draft and starting over. I paid good money to have it critiqued professionally (they called it 'exciting with multi-layered rich characters') so I knew I was sending him a good product and let me tell you I couldn't really afford the steep fee that professional charges but I sucked it up and paid it and polished that script and polished it till it was everything I could make it and I sent it off and - he never read it.
There were excuses: "My printer broke and I hate reading from the screen.", "I have an eye infection.", "I'm shooting for the next month."
There were promises: "It's printed, it's right on my desk." "It's next on my list.", "Thursday I am reading it!", "Next week for sure!", "March 1st!", "January!" Sigh...
I wouldn't have minded if I had been the one to say, "Hey, I have this script, will you read it?" because directors and producers get bombarded by needy writers all the time and it can be irritating as hell. However, he had read a previous script of mine written for a director we both know and called it 'brilliant' and HE asked ME to write this project for him. Jeez!
Seven years pass and I worked on other projects but I could not get that story and especially those characters out of my mind. I could not let them languish in a dark desk drawer for eternity. So, I decided to novelize my screenplay. Luckily, I live in the era of self-publishing and so now many people have read the story of Alix and her daughter Rose and Nate and Helga and the great dog, Powderface. Now they all in the light of other people's imaginations!
As a screenwriter with some small credits and a National Film Board of Canada Award at the Banff T.V. Festival I had left prose behind for more than a decade. I went into the screenplay scene by scene and had the opportunity to explore the minds of the people there in a way you cannot do in a screenplay. I discovered something new about every one of them and it was thrilling to remember how much I loved to play with words on the page.
But, I had a huge shock coming to me. About three quarters of the way through the book an alternate ending popped into my head while I was driving. I actually pulled the car off the highway and sat in shock for a few minutes. I couldn't believe what I was thinking! It changed everything and yet it was so RIGHT!
So, I'm grateful to that director for not reading my hard work because if the story had been produced in that screenplay I would never have discovered the much richer story under the movie plot.
I'm so proud of 'Spectral Witness' and am in the process of turning that screenplay that turned into a novel back into a screenplay because I love playing with visual images too and who knows, maybe someday it will make it to the screen. But, even if it doesn't Alix, Rose, Nate, Helga and Powderface will never again know the dark oblivion of the desk drawer.
Thank you for reading. Hope you enjoy it.
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