William Deverell — Novelist

The official website of William Deverell, Winner of the Dashiell Hammett Award for Literary Excellence in North American Crime Writing

Moose, Me, and Sonia’s Pointers

Bry’s Blog / July 12

Did I mention I was working on a screenplay? Not Needles, Bill, that awaits our negotiations and out-of-court settlement. My current project has a mind-control theme, a subtle Stephen Kingish horror flick. No ghouls, vampires or brain-eating zombies. A New Age guru shows up in a small community and starts drawing everyone into his web like helpless flies, emptying their minds through some transformative process. Only one man resists: a cynical screenplay author and lush who is working on a script with the very same theme!

I originally had set it in a snoring little village, Nothing Happens, South Dakota, but I have been inspired to set it on an island. More isolated. Harder to escape.

BicycleSo I’ve been doing my research. When I’m not in your old house plunging your balky crapper and agonizing like Job over God’s many unfairnesses, I bicycle. (Hope you don’t mind, it was in the basement, looking forlorn.) I scout the island, picking up some local street cred, the island’s essences, its basic flavours. My hero, likewise, is a newcomer, seeking the quiet of the country while taking suck from his Muse’s tits. He too is exploring the island. Likewise, he has found it a task to adapt to its eerie quiet, lacking as it does the comforting sound of car alarms and sirens in the night.

But it is lovely and peaceful and HOT in this globally warmed summer, the yellowed bluffs and simmering seas and wilted tourists. It’s a trippy little island. Some weirdos around, not counting me. Often, I share a few pints with Moose, my new best friend, who is back on the island with his fish boat. Drunkenly, we stagger out to the beach for a puff, and I put my arm around him, commiserating over faithless Ingrid, explaining there are other fish in the sea.

Nobody seems to know much about you, let alone where you are. You have a rep as a recluse. But writers like to make their own friends. Characters they invent. Or steal.

I actually attended a meeting of your Islands Trust, a dramatic event with hecklers and hooters and a staged walkout by a claque of Libertarians, one of them shouting, “I can do what I want on my own property!” I’ve been here only two weeks, and I’m siding with the drawbridgers. Cancel the ferries, arrest the developers, save farm and forest from the tide of bourgeois parvenus with their dreams of clearcut lots and monster homes and SUVs and loud powerboats.

I’m basically paraphrasing Sonia, a tree-hugger, who made a vigorous speech along those lines.

EXT. COMMUNITY HALL—DAY

[The meeting has broken up and Brian is having a smoke. Sonia approaches. A cute, pert twenty-something with boobs]Breasts

Sonia: Can I bum one? It’s my only bad habit.

Brian: I lost count of mine. [He lights her up.] That was a peppy little speech. I was the guy going, “Hear, hear!”

Sonia: I heard, heard. [Extends her hand.] Sonia. I heard you’re a screenwriter. We have a little writers’ group, it would cool if you could join us sometime. Maybe give us a couple of pointers.

Brian: Could do. [Pries his eyes from her cleavage.] And what are you working on, Sonia?

Sonia: Oh, a kind of short story. I’m not sure where it’s going.

Brian: Maybe I can you show you the way.