Today author/editor Tisha Martin asks lots of great questions concerning how I adapted my novel, The Methuselah Project, into a screenplay that became one of the Top 10 Finalists in Movieguide‘s annual Kairos Prize.
BONUS! This interview includes a chance to win a FREE paper copy of the original novel!
One scene from a nearly-forgotten movie remains fresh in my mind: A criminal visiting a run-down apartment looks through a doorway and spots a scantily clad girl sitting on a bed. She’s high on drugs. Immediately the lowlife tells his buddy, “I’m in love.” He proceeds into the bedroom to take advantage of the stoned woman.
In that film, the criminal doesn’t achieve his goal. The moment he touches the girl, she comes alive and fights like an angry cat. I stopped watching, but the scene stayed with me, a cinematic reminder of how people confuse love and lust.
Both men and women can experience either love or lust. With some couples, one person might genuinely love the partner, while that partner merely lusts the other — but believes his/her feelings are love. After all, nowadays people stretch the word love to express appreciation for ice cream, their favorite TV series, a new fashion… whatever. So, what’s the difference between love and lust? Although they can look similar, there are huge differences:
Lust expresses strong interest in another person, but for selfish reasons. In the movie scene above, the criminal felt strong sexual arousal. He wanted to enjoy the woman’s body. The same happens in the real world. Although a person in lust might be witty, charming, generous, and do “thoughtful” things to win appreciation from the one he/she lusts, the underlying goal is self-centered: to engage in sex, mainly for personal gratification. Lust cares more about getting than giving.
A person in lust, say a man, might believe he’s in love. But if the target of his attention makes clear that sex without marriage isn’t going to happen (or that it’s not going to happen anymore if it already has), he might grow frustrated, even angry, when the desires of his hormones are thwarted. (He might eventually give up and seek an easier target.)
The fact that a physical relationship brings pleasure doesn’t guarantee it’s a love relationship. The prostitution trade proves that even total strangers can enjoy the physical sensations of touching, kissing, having sex–all without love.
Contrary to lust, Love is more concerned with giving than receiving. Genuine love is concerned with meeting the needs of the loved one, regardless of whether the loved one can reciprocate. Neither is love purely emotional. To a great degree, to love or not love is a decision.
An older couple had been married many years. When the husband suffered a heart attack and other health issues, he lay in the hospital, unconscious and surrounded by machines, tubes, and wires. His adoring wife could get close enough only to caress his bare foot as she waited to see whether her mate lived or died. Selfless dedication. Caring. Giving without receiving… Love!
Although love might be expressed in a touch, it can survive without sex. In fact, love can endure even when there’s no touching, even across many miles, as in time of war or travel for business.
There are various types of love (love for a child, for a spouse, for a family member), and each differs
in intensity and type of commitment. But if the love is genuine, its primary concern will be the welfare of the other, not using that person to please self.
The Bible declares in 1 John 4:8, “God is love.” So the best description of love will come from God’s own Word. See for yourself the image on the right to review 1 Corinthians 13, and see what God says on the subject!
Today I have the pleasure of being interviewed on the blog of the Indiana Chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers. They wanted to know such things as how I enjoy writing and editing full time, how I accomplished a foray into writing screenplays, and more. Interested? If so, here’s the link!
Quite a few of you have finished reading The Methuselah Project and then declared, “This would make a great movie!” Thank you. Allow me also to thank the many who have practically demanded a sequel to find out what happens to Roger Greene and Katherine Mueller after The End.
The truth is, I’ve been working on a sequel. So what’s taking so long? I’ve also been working on a movie screenplay of the original Methuselah Project novel. However, I’d had very little experience with writing movie scripts. It’s a whole different art from penning novels, and it’s taken me quite a while to learn the in’s and out’s of the craft.
The Methuselah Project
Now, though, I’m excited to announce that this past autumn I submitted my screenplay to Movieguide’s annual Kairos Prize for beginning screenplay writers. As of last week, out of hundreds of submissions from 20+ countries, my script for The Methuselah Project made the final cut and is one of the 10 Finalists. On February 2 in Hollywood, one of us ten hopefuls will win the $15,000 prize. In addition, all of our scripts will be available for interested professionals in the film industry to review for consideration. I praise God for helping me to learn this new (to me) craft of writing, and for helping me to polish my project well enough to become a finalist. I’m sure the other submissions are excellent, and some of those writers have more experience with scripts than yours truly. Yet, whether I win or lose the Kairos, I feel God’s hand of blessing and sincerely thank Him for this level of achievement.
Along with some unfortunate realities of life that have claimed large chunks of this writer’s time, studying screenplay writing has definitely slowed momentum on the sequel to my third novel. Now, though, I plan to proceed “full steam ahead” with that sequel. Thanks for your patience, and thank you all for sharing my excitement as a Kairos Prize finalist. The odds are still 9 to 1 against me. However, 9 to 1 is lightyears better than the 100s to 1 odds that existed when I submitted my project. On February 2, I’ll be in Hollywood and holding my breath. We’ll see what happens!
Here’s a link for more information about the Kairos Prize and my competition:
As some of you friends and readers know, I’ve been studying the craft of screenplay writing. And even though novels and movies are both stories, and both depend on writers to create them, there is an enormous difference between novels and screenplays. So, learning the ins and outs of crafting a professional-looking script has been quite a learning curve for this novelist.
Now I can announce that–miracle of miracles!–the screenplay I created from The Methuselah Project actually made the semi-finalist list for Movieguide’s annual $15,000 Kairos Prize. I’m amazed, since there is tons of competition. In past Kairos competitions, 500+ scripts have competed for the winning spot. This is my third time to enter, but it’s the first time I’ve made the final 15. Even if I don’t win, being a semi-finalist is tremendously encouraging. If nothing else, Movieguide’s announcement gives me some confidence that I’m finally gaining a proper feel for screenplay-writing. Thank you to all of you who have sent me your congratulations for this milestone!
If you would like to see Movieguide’s announcement, here’s the link:
Recently, a friend made this observation: “Procrastination is an evil temptress. Her goal is to destroy your dreams with her siren songs of “Someday,” “Gonna,” and “Later.” Your protector is the Warrior Princess Now, and her sword, ‘Immediate Action.'”
That metaphor started my mental gears turning. After considering her observation, it occurred to me that even people who don’t consider themselves procrastinators face an equally powerful temptress: Procrastination’s evil sister, Distraction. Make no mistake–although Distraction is evil, she is by no means ugly. To the contrary, Distraction is quite attractive, and she intuitively knows your hobbies, your personal pastimes, and all the little things you find interesting. Then, when you’re striding down the path toward your daily goals, Distraction steps into your path with a smile and says, “Want to see something cool?” Step by step, she guides you away from the path of ambitions and goals by dangling her bait in front of your eyes.
What bait does she use? Distraction adapts her lure according to each person. If you enjoy web surfing, Distraction smiles and reaches for your hand, for she commands a never-ending supply of links to hinder you from your goals. Why, Facebook alone can fritter away hours at a time as you catch up with others with humor, selfies, and personal news. For another person, Distraction offers sports. Or seemingly eternal TV news (or “news”) and commentaries. Interested in politics? Pull up a chair; you ain’t goin’ anywhere, bub! And so it goes until, much later, you surface from this sea of trivia realize, “Oh no! I was planning to accomplish some really good things today!”
In your heart, you tell yourself, “Tomorrow will be different. Tomorrow I’ll buckle down and do twice as much.” But Distraction smiles, then turns to her sister Procrastination and gives her yet another high-five!
Since this hasn’t happened to me lately, I hope to address this topic without embarrassing anyone.
Recently I noticed a comment someone left on a writer-colleague’s Facebook page. Under a post my colleague left about the book she’s diligently writing, someone from her Friends list told her, “Send me a copy of your book” when it gets published.
Now, the commenter who made that (firm) request probably believed he was leaving a compliment: she was creating a story; he wanted the finished version. In reality, he was being rude and unthoughtful. Why? Because instructing a friend to mail you a freebie copy of a book (or anything else) is not appropriate.
Think about it. A writer sacrifices hours, weeks, months of his or her life to sit in front of a computer creating a story out of nothing. It’s a tough job. Sometimes the imagination runs dry. Sometimes the writer would rather be out with friends or even enjoying a movie. But a vision of the finished goal–a story so well crafted that readers will plunk down their hard-earned cash to buy a copy–keeps the writer motivated. Then, at last, the day comes when all the obstacles of writing, revising, editing are conquered and the dream becomes a reality… The book is born!
Then what happens? Most readers understand they must buy a copy if they want one. But occasionally someone blurts (or writes), “Send me a copy.” What this minority fails to understand is that authors don’t mystically receive printed and bound copies of their novels as boxed blessings that descend from the skies. No matter whether a book is produced via a traditional publishing house or independently by the author, even the author must pay something to receive copies of the finished project. Other than limited promo copies a publisher might provide, they’re certainly not free, not even to the author. So, instructing, “Send me your book” is about the same as saying, “I like you; buy me a gift that has cost you both time and money so I can enjoy it for free.”
Do people who create jewelry for income have friends who say, “I like your work; send me a necklace”? Or does a new restaurant owner have people sit down and say, “I’m proud of your hard work in becoming a business owner. Give me a free meal”? I hope not.
Of course, most or all of the authors I know do sometimes give away gratis copies of their books. Sometimes they provide them to well-known individuals who might influence others to buy a copy. Other times they gift a copy to special friends or new acquaintances just for fun. Each time, the gift costs the givers. But these writers count the cost and enjoy the chance to give away an unexpected “part of themselves” for nothing in return.
So, on behalf of authors everywhere, please never say to one, “Send me your book,” unless you make clear you’re ordering a copy like anyone else. Expecting one for free isn’t a compliment; it’s an imposition. Your compliment will be when you ask the author to sign it, or when you leave a glowing review online!
I’m honored to be featured in the January/February issue of Southern Writers Magazine with The Methuselah Project. Thank you to everyone who has purchased the book or Kindle version, and special thanks to all those who have given it such high ratings on Amazon! You readers are tops!
No, as an author I truly don’t endorse the pilfering of another writer’s material. However, once the inspiration for the following poem sprouted in my mind, creativity took over. The idea practically begged me to write it, just for fun. This poem is a repeat, as I shared it on my blog one year ago. It’s one of the very few poems this author has attempted. So many people got a laugh that I’m rerunning it. Enjoy!
Stopping to Plagiarize on a Snowy Evening
By Rick Barry (with inspiration from Robert Frost)
Whose words these are I think I know.
His lawyer isn’t watching, though.
He will not see me scanning here
To steal his words, which nicely flow.
My little dog must think it queer
To filch these lines without fear,
To pinch the words and be a fake,
The darkest cunning of the year.
He gives his dog tags a loud shake
As if to warn, “A lot’s at stake!”
The only other sound’s the beep
My printer makes as lines I take.
These words are lovely, rich and deep,
But me? I have deadlines to keep,
And lines to type before I sleep,
And lines to type before I sleep.