After reading an article in The Wall Street Journal that the Black List in Hollywood now had a site that takes submissions, I submitted the screenplay THE WIDOW SPRINGER written by my husband Mitch Miller and myself.
The story is set in Berlin at the time of the fall of the Berlin Wall, and it deals with betrayal, competing intelligence services, and what happens when the “rules” of society change overnight.
Besides paying a monthly $25 fee for the screenplay to be on the site, I decided to spend $50 to have one review critique. I should have realized that the person who would be doing the review might have no idea about the Cold War.
In theory I should have been happy with the overall score of 8.0 out of 10. But the reviewer got the story wrong, did not mention the central theme of the script, and then wrote this:
Prospects: The script is a great historical drama that could appeal to an audience interested in historical fiction. Due to the subject matter and female-skewing storyline, the audience would be slightly narrow.
In actuality, I would say the story skews male, if it skews at all.
Why am I sharing this here?
Because I have to remind myself — and by extension other authors — that what we know our story is about is not always what the reader sees.
This could be because we have been too subtle. (My business partner Yael K. Miller mentioned how subtle much of the background information in Dickens’ A TALE OF TWO CITIES is.) Or it could be because the reader has such a different worldview than we do.
In either case, the response is not what we hoped it would be. But what do we do as writers? We keep writing!
© 2013 Miller Mosaic LLC
Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of fiction and nonfiction books/ebooks, including the military fiction MRS. LIEUTENANT: A Sharon Gold Novel (2008 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award semifinalist) and the cozy mystery CAST THE FIRST STONE.
She also has an M.B.A. from The Wharton School and is the co-founder of the online marketing company www.MillerMosaicLLC.com