My Latest Challenge (And Why This Post is so Short)

I don’t have much time or energy for today’s post, and so thought I’d used the post to explain to you exactly why.I have a new writing project, something that is utterly unlike anything I’ve ever done before.  I am writing the novelization for a movie, specifically for the new “Robin Hood” movie coming out in May 2010 (directed by Ridley Scott, starring Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett).   Obviously, this is a terrific opportunity for me, and I’m very excited about it.  It is also a tremendous challenge for a couple of reasons.

The first is simply a time thing.  I found out definitively that I’d be doing this about two weeks ago.  I received work materials from the studio a couple of days after that and began writing what will eventually be a 90,000 to 100,000 word novel on Thursday December 3.  The book is due on January 4.  You do the math, and for my sake, please factor in a couple of days off for the holidays….

Second, I am writing something that has to compliment the movie.  I am not to change or eliminate any dialogue or plot points; I’m not to add subplots of my own.  On the one hand, this makes the process easier for me.  I don’t have to come up with my own dialogue or figure out what comes next in the narrative.  It’s all there for me.  On the other hand, I feel as though I’m playing with someone else’s toys.  They’re good toys; I like the toys very much.  But they’re not mine, and so I sometimes find myself being too tentative with them, for fear of doing something wrong.  I have had to overcome the tendency to write “defensively” if that makes any sense.

The flip side of this is that I get to write from the point of view of legends:  Robin Hood himself, King Richard the Lionheart, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Marion, Friar Tuck.  Fun stuff.  I’ve always loved the Robin Hood story, and this interpretation is innovative and intriguing.  If I have to use someone else’s material, best it be good material, right?  And this is.

But what this all boils down to is this:  I don’t have much time for blog posts.  I have a tight deadline and a writing assignment that is forcing me to work creative muscles I’ve never used before.  I’m sure all professional writers encounter challenges like this throughout their careers.  I’ve faced many challenges myself.  This one is unique, though.  I’ll post more about the experience when I have some perspective on it.  For now, happy holidays to all of you.  I have to get back to work….

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  1. 1. NewGuyDave

    First off, congrats on the opportunity. I hope it works out well for you and pushes more copies of your own works off the shelves. Good luck with the project, especially with the short timeline.

  2. 2. David B. Coe

    Many thanks, Dave. I’ll need all the luck and good wishes I can get. And yes, I think the book will help sales of my backlist. At least I’m hoping…

  3. 3. Shakatany


    If they have Eleanor of Aquitaine in it I wonder if they’ll have poor Berengaria, the forgotten wife of Richard III

  4. 4. Megs

    Congrats and good luck! :D

  5. 5. Kelly McCullough

    Hooah! David, that’s great. Many congratulations.

  6. 6. David B. Coe

    Hi, Shakatany. I’m sorry to say that Berengaria didn’t find her way into this interpretation. In fairness, the story follows Robin back to England, and since Berengaria remained in Europe and didn’t factor into the historical thread followed by Robin’s story, she doesn’t figure in. But hers would be a very interesting story for someone to tell….

    Thanks, Megs! I’ll need all the luck I can get.

    Many thanks, Kelly. As I say: cool opportunity.

  7. 7. Adele

    Good luck and you’ll be fine. I’ll look out for the book. :)

  8. 8. David B. Coe

    Thank you, Adele!

Author Information

David B. Coe

David B. Coe ( is the Crawford award-winning author of the LonTobyn Chronicle, the Winds of the Forelands quintet, the Blood of the Southlands trilogy, and a number of short stories. Writing as D.B. Jackson (, he is the author of the Thieftaker Chronicles, a blend of urban fantasy, mystery, and historical fiction. David is also part of the Magical Words group blog (, and co-author of How To Write Magical Words: A Writer’s Companion. In 2010 he wrote the novelization of director Ridley Scott’s movie, Robin Hood. His books have been translated into more than a dozen languages. Visit site.



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