Five Questions with Novelist Nicholas Borelli
“Always! Always! Always! Register a copyright for each and every work and each and every significant rewrite of that work. It’s easy. It’s inexpensive. It protects your work product from thieves.”
This week we would like you to meet one of our Individual Creator Members, Nicholas Borelli.
1. What was the inspiration behind becoming an author, novelist and screenwriter? What do you enjoy most about the creative process?
When I was a college freshman I had a class in English Composition. We were asked to write a paper (in the days when the PC did not exist), which I did and I handed in my blue, handwritten booklet. A couple of days later, our professor handed back all of the papers, except mine. I’m thinking: I know I handed it in! Did he lose it? Then he said, “I’d like to read you all something,” and proceeded to read my paper. He handed it back to me with an A++ grade. At that point, I knew I could write. But at that time, I was in the process of escaping my childhood, abject poverty. Whatever writing aspirations I had, I set aside until years later.
What I enjoy most about my creative process is creating a world. I have written six novels with two more in process. I have adapted four of them to film by writing screenplays. It is now a body of work and it gives me huge pride to point to it as one of my life’s great accomplishments. I observe this world that I have created with characters that have become almost real to me. People who have read my books talk to me about the characters as if they were real. Sometimes, they’re so strident about a feature of one of the characters that I have to remind them that they’re not real people!
2. Can you take us through your process? How long does it take? Does everything you produce make money?
My process is odd. I’ve seen films in my head since I was a little boy. Now, I write it all down. Suddenly, I get an idea, just a spark. It’s a small premise but I get to work on a novel immediately. Then it takes on a meandering path of its own. It’s like I’m detached from the writing process, a witness to my own imagination. When a novel is complete, I’ll go back and read it, years after I’ve written it, and it’s like someone else wrote it.
It takes me six months to a year to complete a first draft of a novel, then I don’t touch it for a month. I ask my Honey (my wife) to take a first read and give me feedback. Then I reread it afresh. A couple of months of rewrite and polishing, and it’s done. Then I publish it.
I make very little money selling books. I know how to write ‘em but I don’t know how to sell them. I’m still employed full time, so it’s difficult to devote time to selling. However, I am in nascent discussions with a film company to sell serial rights, feature film rights or the screenplays I’ve adapted from the novels. When I leave corporate life, I do expect these novels to become feature films and television series and I do expect they will also increase my book sales dramatically. I want to make a living as an author and screenwriter after I retire from my corporate existence.
3. What do you think is the biggest misconception about your line of work?
Biggest misconception is that everyone has a book in them. I’ve spent decades in corporate life reading, reading, reading. There are few really good writers I encounter. It’s a herculean achievement to face a blank sheet of paper and add 70,000 to 100,000 words from nothing. To create it from literally nothing. I have done it six times and I have two more novels I’m writing. It ain’t easy!
4. What is your best piece of advice that you would give other creators in your field about copyright and how to protect themselves?
Always! Always! Always! Register a copyright for each and every work and each and every significant rewrite of that work. It’s easy. It’s inexpensive. It protects your work product from thieves. I have twenty-one registered copyrights. Take it seriously.
5. What is your biggest copyright-related challenge?
When and if to register rewrites. Sometimes a few changes don’t seem like they’re enough to warrant another registration. However, I usually err on the side of caution. More than a few typos, I register it again.
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