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Submitted by visitors to this website

Posted by John Watts

December 22nd 2012

Dear Mr. Nicholson, I was wondering if you do or would consider doing any screenwriting for smaller indepedent companies or, as you are obviously very busy, is it only the larger production companies you work with?

William Nicholson responded:

I use my film writing to subsidise my novel writing, so on the whole I only take on film work that pays well; and not too much of that, to give me time for the books. But I have no rules.

Posted by Richard Jorgensen

December 1st 2012

Love your work. I am not a budding screenwriter and do not have an interest in these proposals other than wanting to call them to your attention. (Perhaps you can pass them on to a budding screenwriter.) 1)The story of Robert Frost and Edward Thomas, as recounted in Matthew Hollis' book, "Now All Roads Lead to France," and in a July 29, 2011 article in The Guardian. The American Frost and Brit Thomas met in London in 1913, before either of them had become recognized as a poet. They rambled the English countryside together, and their brief friendship was deep and consequential. Thomas, after much agonizing, enlisted in WWI (though he did not have to) and was soon killed in action. A dramatic hook for the screenplay: The poem, “The Road Not Taken,” which was later to become one of Frost’s most famous, was written in response to Thomas’ uncertainty about enlisting, and may have had an influence on his fateful decision. 2). The Bishop and the President. Henry Whipple, the first Episcopal bishop of Minnesota, befriended the Dakota in the years leading up to the 1862 war known as “The Sioux Uprising." (This little-known war may have been the costliest in US history in terms of loss of life.) During the conflict, more than eight hundred (white) members of the bishop's diocese were killed, and Whipple was among those who treated the wounded. Nevertheless, after the war, Whipple personally lobbied President Abraham Lincoln with the result of reducing the number of Native leaders to be executed from three hundred to thirty-eight (still the largest mass execution in US history). Screenwriting hooks: 1) Whipple was “friend” to both Lincoln and the Dakota chief Taopi. 2) Lincoln examined the trial transcripts of the three hundred sentenced to hang, and wrote out the reduced list of thirty-eight with his own hand. Lincoln's judicious magnanimity was highly unpopular in Minnesota, and nearly cost him the 1864 election in that state. (He said, "I will not buy votes at the cost of a man's life.") Whipple’s advocacy for the Dakota was equally unpopular. In the archives of Whipple's Cathedral of Our Merciful Savior, in Faribault, Minnesota, is a photograph of Dakota tipi's pitched closely around the church -- an illustration of the closeness of this relationship. Thanks, Richard Jorgensen

William Nicholson responded:

I agree - both are fine stories and would make really interesting films. I'm booked up myself for the foreseeable future with existing projects, but I'll do as you suggest and speak to others. Your first suggestion is of course the subject of the current play The Dark Earth and the Light Sky.

Posted by Rob

November 29th 2012

I appreciate your reply, William. Here's a follow-up to my question regarding online screenwriting resources: With a simple Google search, I can find the screenplays for Citizen Kane, Chinatown, and even this year's Les Misérables -- all in a matter of seconds. There are also sites from working screenwriters like John August. I'm even able to to ask you a question and receive a reply in under a day! And these resources are literally at my fingertips -- from virtually anywhere in the world I can hook my laptop up to the Internet. How do you think this accessibility will affect the future of storytelling? Could it evolve to a higher standard of storytelling in the film industry?

William Nicholson responded:

It's always good for budding screenwriters to be able to read screenplays. So maybe you're right. But on the whole I think it makes no difference. Good storytelling is hard, and evolves by doing it, getting critiqued, getting better, and watching the results play out, not by reading about it. It seems to me that standards in the film industry have ranged from glorious to pitiful throughout its history. So I'm not expecting any change.

Posted by Rob

November 28th 2012

Hello William, Thank you for all the wonderful stories you've put into the world. I have question for you: With the amount of resources available on the Internet, and even DVD commentaries for that matter, many aspiring screenwriters are arming themselves with knowledge in numbers like never before. Does this make you optimistic about the future of storytelling on the big screen? Do you see any dangers?

William Nicholson responded:

I don't really understand your question. Screenwriters have always needed to know as much as possible about their subjects. We are authors, and need authority. Storytelling is another matter: the skill of fashioning research into a compelling narrative remains at the heart of successful screenplays. This skill hasn't changed since Homer.

Posted by Paul Sheppard

November 26th 2012

Never judge a book...Can't wait for Motherland. Love the genre WW2, conflict, struggle, ideology, romance Going to pre-order.

William Nicholson responded:

Hope you like it...

Posted by Cinzia Hooyer

November 22nd 2012

Hi, I was reading your FAQ's and I wanted to thank you for the major spoiler in it. I haven't read Firesong yet, and thanks to you, I already know the ending. So I wanted to ask you if you could maybe have it erased or something for future readers who haven't read it yet.

William Nicholson responded:

Sorry about that. I've removed the offending spoiler.