Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Recycling

From: James (
Date: 10 Jul 2001

----- Original Message ----- From: "Mark Sullivan" <> To: <> Sent: Tuesday, July 10, 2001 10:22 PM Subject: RE: RARA-AVIS: Re: Recycling

> For the record, I was no longer asking about copying from self. I was
> just asking if work for hire applied to writing as well as to other
> areas of creation. It seems from your reply that there is.
> On a tangent, how much of a work for hire is programmed for the hired
> writer? Do they really get a plot outline or just required character
> traits of the main characters? For instance, does the writer plot the
> Mike Shayne story he writes or does he simply script someone else's
> story? It's just a guess, but I'd guess that it's sometimes one,
> sometimes the other.

And that's a good guess. All the Shayne stories I wrote were plotted by me
(except the ones plotted by my wife, but that's different from what you're asking). Sam Merwin sent me the Shayne bible giving the description and background of all the characters but never suggested a plot. When Chuck Fritch was the editor the only plot suggestion he ever made was that I create a recurring Oriental villainess. God, that sounds quaint these days, doesn't it? I've said before that MSMM was the last pulp, and there's more evidence.

When I started writing books in a long-running house-name Western series, the first two I did were based on outlines written by the series creator. After that the editor told me to just come up with my own plots. I've done a lot of work-for-hire, and most of the time I've come up with the plots. Not the characters, though, those were usually already established.

Best, James Reasoner

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