The Winding Path to Success: David Anaxagoras
There’s no set path to literary success except the one you make, one step at a time. In the words of David Anaxagoras, the way is fraught with “wrong turns” and “unexpected places.” As a dedicated screenwriter with an MFA from Tinsel Town’s own UCLA, David knows the dream you begin with may not be the one that is realized.
“The screenplay market has just become impossible in recent years,” David explains. So he made a decision to switch gears. “My plan was to take my favorite screenplay—about the worst boy scout troop in the world that has to defend the earth from an alien invasion—and turn it into a novel.”
David began his transition through research, in particular by following #kidlit on Twitter. He found “a large, warm, welcoming, and dedicated community,” including Kurtis Scaletta, the Loft’s online education manager, and author of several popular books for kids. Through that connection, David found Kurtis’ class on middle grade fiction. “I was struggling to make the mental shift from writing a screenplay to writing prose,” says David. Kurtis’ online class “helped me wrap my head around the current state of kid lit and what works and what doesn’t.”
But David’s story took another turn because of the class. “I never wrote a word of my intended novel,” he explains. Instead, he shifted his focus to live-action children’s sitcoms. “It was a sad thing to experience the wonderful and imaginative world of middle grade fiction, full of rich, interesting characters and fascinating, fully-realized worlds to explore, and then to look at kidcoms and see the same thing over and over.” The project that resulted, Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street was quickly optioned by Amazon Studios.
“In a strange way I had come full circle. I left screenwriting to write a middle grade novel, and ended up writing a middle grade novel for television.” Online programming at the Loft gave David “a clear idea of what strengths [he] already had,” which paved the way toward a new, yet familiar, path.
Tim Crepeau is the Loft's education assistant. 11 Loft online classes start in February and March.