The news is out! The contest I mentioned I was a semi-finalist for last week is the Book Pipeline book to movie contest, and they have now posted their official announcement. Twelve semi-finalists chosen out of 576 entries. I’m so honored to have made it this far!
From these twelve, they will choose 3-5 finalists and a winner, who receive: “Entrance to the next Script Pipeline / Book Pipeline event in Santa Monica, CA, which will include representatives from Energy Entertainment, Benderspink, and Paradigm, in addition to other companies seeking literary material; Industry circulation to over 200 companies searching for new literary material; Additional one-on-one development assistance and consultation from Script Pipeline executives.”
Semifinalists also have an opportunity for further development assistance from Script Pipeline executives, and Matt Misetich, the Director of Development at Script Pipeline, has emailed me his thoughts about Hand Me Down being “ripe for feature adaptation.” So many people have told me that the book would make a good movie, and now people in the industry whose job it is to know what will make a good movie agree!
Matt Misetich, who seems like a generally funny and nice guy as well as a life-changer for up and coming writers, also said this about HMD:
“While it’s a story that’s been told before–the neglected child from a dysfunctional household trying to find her place–your writing style and depiction of character are so well-illustrated, it makes for a genuine page-turner. As someone who doesn’t usually prefer this subgenre of sorts, I was hooked after the first chapter. Credit not only your writing ability, but your understanding of how to develop character. Very impressive, and something I surprisingly don’t see often.”
Here is a sampling of some of the other judges’ remarks:
“The believability of the setting injected with a growing sense of danger for the girls, even in the safety of their own home, provides an intriguing narrative that only intensifies as the story progresses, leaving the audience in a constant state of suspense and a growing sense of dread for the fate of their young heroines.”
“The vivid portrayal of the characters allows the reader an uncanny grasp on their personalities and serves well to either draw sympathy or loathing from the audience depending on the characters’ roles. The raw nature of everything is deeply rooted in an underlining theme of neglect, pulling the audience into a deeper understanding of the human condition.”
“The instant investment the reader experiences at the start of the story is a sure sign of a well-developed plot and setting prime for a dramatic film adaptation. It’s that type of true conflict and stakes that of course always makes for good cinema.”
These comments meant a lot to me. I worked really hard to make HMD a page-turner full of complex, flawed, and engaging characters. I once took a workshop with Brady Udall who said, “You have to find a way to keep the reader turning pages.” That is the most fundamental rule of any piece of writing: you have to keep them reading. So it’s wonderful to hear that readers—especially these readers who are trained to evaluate story and character—were so engaged and connected.
I’m cautiously optimistic about HMD becoming a movie because it really would be a dream come true. Thanks Matt and the other readers for seeing HMD as a contender! Fingers crossed for finalist status, but even without it, I’m letting these comments buoy me up and feed my confidence for the lonely and grueling process of drafting the next book. Because it always, always comes back to the page.