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We are a worldwide social network of freethinkers, atheists, agnostics and secular humanists.

Atheist philosopher and critic Russell Blackford on Polly and the One and Only World: "This is a lovely book."

For adults as well as sophisticated younger readers, my recent novel Polly and the One and Only World, which features an atheist witch navigating a theocratic, post-oil America, has been getting excellent reviews and international attention. 

Russell Blackford says, "Polly and the One and Only World is a delightful, if sometimes harrowing and emotionally painful, hybrid of science fiction and fantasy, aimed at a Young Adult audience. It is set in the dystopian landscape(s) of a near-future USA wrecked by cataclysmic events that are, perhaps wisely, never quite explained or defined. In this bleak future, the post-collapse remnants of the nation are ruled by a fundamentalist Christian theocracy."  And "There is much to learn here from the literary craftsmanship of a skilled novelist."

The esteemed School Library Journal says, "Bredes’s writing will inspire teens to revere current freedoms. A thrilling journey, full of peril, exploit, friendship, and sorrow, this book is sure to find readers."

If you're interested in an interview with the author, see Eco-fiction.

Also in "This Is Writing."

And now Polly is available as an audiobook. 

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Comment by Stephen on October 7, 2016 at 8:54am

Don this is what I look out on every day. Not as beautiful as your vista but I like it

Comment by Don on October 7, 2016 at 8:43am

Yes, Chris, I know I am fortunate to have been able to purchase a good piece of land (about 50 acres) at the peaceful end of a dirt road in Vermont back in 1974, when land was still relatively inexpensive, less than $300 an acre.  And not only are property taxes here low, but I have the land enrolled in a state-supervised forestry management program, which gives me a further break.  My modest early successes with the writing enabled me to build a house--a writer's retreat--where I can actually afford to live (with the considerable help of my wife's income) on Social Security. 

I would be delighted to adapt my work to TV--if anyone in the industry were interested in producing such a series and in paying me to do it.  It would be futile engage in that project on speculation, though.  The producer/director who's behind Kingdom County Productions and who made the two feature films I wrote scripts for has some interest, I think, but no money.  I'm no doubt better off writing novels as I have long done, and I'm content to do that.

Comment by Chris on October 6, 2016 at 11:58pm

Your place in VT looks beautiful.

I'm glad you've been sucessfull in your writing (and movie) career.

Have you considered adopting one of your books into a mini series for TV?

That type of format seems would allow enough time for character development and time to tell the story where as a movie thats longer than three or four hour hours may be too long for an audience to sit throug in a single viewing.

Comment by Don on October 4, 2016 at 3:07pm

Now that I've done a couple of adaptations, I would be glad to write a screenplay based on my own fiction.  It's a pretty mechanical enterprise: formulaic and calculating.  You've got to tell the story in about 100 pages, all in dialogue.  So it's quite different from drafting a novel--far more constraining.  In the end, it's really more of a blueprint than a finished work.

An adaptation is very hard to pull off successfully, and yet some screenwriters and filmmakers have managed to turn some novels into excellent movies. "Gone with the Wind" is a stand-out for many. Others are "To Kill A Mockingbird," "Tess" (by Roman Polanski), "Being There" (with Peter Sellers), "The Kiss of the Spiderwoman," "Ordinary People," “The English Patient,” "The Collector," and "Dr. Zhivago."

Comment by Stephen on October 4, 2016 at 2:52pm

If they did a film of one of your books, would you prefer to write the screenplay yourself. Would that be something you would enjoy.

"WHERE THE RIVERS FLOW NORTH, starring Rip Torn and Michael J. Fox,"

I've seen that. and liked it.

Did you like the process of writing a screenplay, Was it just as enjoyable as writing your books. 

Comment by Don on October 4, 2016 at 2:51pm

The HARD FEELINGS movie was terrible, by the way.  It was made by a Canadian studio, Astral-Bellevue Pathe, directed by Darryl Duke, and shot mostly in Canada.  It was sold for distribution in a three-picture deal to 20th Century Fox.  The first picture Fox released was "Porkies."  Ever see it?  A raunchy teen movie that made Fox a fortune.  So they saw no need to release the other two movies--which, in those days, cost a lot for prints and advertising.  Bottom line--they had their profit.  Upon the movie's theatrical release, by contract I was to receive $250,000--I was told then that it was shelved and would never be released.  Much later, however, about ten about ten years ago, I learned that the movie actually did see a limited run in 1982 in Canada under another title, "Hang Tough."  I got screwed out of a lot of money.

Successful screen adaptations of good novels are rare. The qualities of storytelling and plotting that work so well on the page seldom translate well to the screen--or to a screenplay. A novel is typically 300 to 800 pages long, while a screenplay is typically 90 to 120 pages. (One page of script is equivalent to one minute of screen time.) That means a novel's complex plotting, character development, and narrative perspective must always be *adapted* to the far more limiting strictures of an entirely different storytelling form. For one thing, a script is usually more than 90% dialogue.  Unless a filmmaker resorts to voiceover, all of the significant action must be dramatized in some way. Not so in a novel. (This is pretty much a one-way street, too. Great movies are never novelized.)

Comment by Don on October 4, 2016 at 2:36pm

Stephen, the spring I was living out in Palo Alto (in 1978), the Hollywood producer who had optioned my novel HARD FEELINGS offered me the chance to write the screenplay for $10K.  He said he would put me up in a place on the beach in Malibu.  I declined, believe it or not.  I wanted to get back home to Vermont.  Besides, I had just sold the softcover rights to Bantam for six figures, and the movie option landed me another $50K.  Still, I regret it now.  So the producer got W.D. Richter (who wrote "Norma Rae," among other scripts) to do the job, no doubt for more money.  As a first-time screenwriter, I would have been a bargain.

In the 90s, I wrote two screenplays--indie feature-film adaptations based on the novels of a good friend of mine, WHERE THE RIVERS FLOW NORTH, starring Rip Torn and Michael J. Fox, and A STRANGER IN THE KINGDOM, with an ensemble cast including Ernie Hudson and Martin Sheen. Both were produced and shot here in Vermont and released internationally to excellent notices. They're available on DVD.

Comment by Stephen on October 4, 2016 at 1:26pm

Don have you ever wrote for the big screen or TV, and if so is that something you would like to do more of. I know they are both a form of story telling but they must be very different from each other. 

Comment by Stephen on October 4, 2016 at 1:17pm

Don envy isn't the word. I love the view from your deck. Just magnificent. I live in the centre of London and I've always loved it. But there are times when I wish I could live in the countryside and looking at your photos is one of those times. Stephen.

Comment by Don on October 4, 2016 at 9:24am

Our brief foliage season as arrived.  Here's the view from my deck yesterday afternoon:

Also high summer:


Spring:

And a bitter winter morning:

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