The Writing Life #3: The Story of the First Bit of Creative Writing I Ever Got Paid For and/or a Gossip-y Anecdote Featuring Vampires!

Ten or so years ago, the first bit of creative writing for which I was ever paid was a screenplay.

About vampires.

A vampire love story, no less

About a girl named Maggie who restored paintings at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She worked at night when the museum was closed. It was the perfect job for her because she couldn’t go out during the day on account of sunlight being her Kryptonite and all. She looked eighteen, but was really one-hundred years old. She’d stopped killing for blood years ago — she got her supply from a blood bank. Maggie was basically going through the motions of being alive. Until, that is, she met Porter Rhodes…

[cue romantic music]

The story was meant to be anti-horror. It was basically a love triangle among Maggie, Porter, and Maggie’s vampire roommate, Aaron. (Aaron was the one who had “made” Maggie nearly one hundred years prior, and he was in love with her.) From my point of view, the story was a chance for me to explore what it means to be human and why we choose to love when surely we will lose. As a writer, I was most interested in Maggie’s dilemma — she doesn’t age while Porter will get older and older. Why does a one-hundred year old woman, who really ought to know better, sign on for such things? I was further intrigued by the fact that, while Maggie appeared to be a younger woman (Porter was 25-ish) and weaker than her beau, she was not only older but wiser and stronger.

All right, that’s the plot. Here’s where we come to the gossip-y part of the story:

So, the script bumped around the independent film industry for about a decade. Someone would option it; I’d get paid a little money.

In 2006, eight years after I wrote the first draft, the movie came very close to happening. Hans, my director partner, and I were enjoying a little mini-wave of success around the release of CONVERSATIONS WITH OTHER WOMEN, the movie we made with Aaron “Two-face” Eckhart and Helena “Mrs. LovettBonham Carter. And this tiny wave was almost, almost enough to make the movie happen.

And you’ll never guess who was going to play the part of the vampire, Aaron?

Robert Pattinson.

[cue girlish screams]

Who, of course, is now Edward in TWILIGHT.

[and more girlish screams]

Small world, right?

The other roles were cast. Crew was hired. Storyboards were drawn. Locations were scouted. And then, as these things tend to do, the whole thing fell apart.

And this, Readers, is one of the major perks of writing books as supposed to screenplays.

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Re: the photo. It’s one I took at my neighborhood Barnes & Noble around December 2005 or January 2006. (In point of fact, it’s a picture I took to send to my writing pen pal at the time, Stephenie Meyer — really, ridiculously, uncomfortably small world, right?) I look at the image with some degree of nostalgia, the same way one might view an old class picture.