More accurately, why is writing this book taking so long? I’ve been talking about LOOP for over a year! Is that a long time? Or is that what everyone else goes through?
As always, who knows? The complete LOOP journey is nearly six years in the making!
In my case, I had an idea for a short film several years ago, partially inspired by a photo from a special-fx make-up test that my artist friend Nadia Berchtold sent me.
I wrote a short film screenplay, reached out to a few people in Chicago where I lived, and we quickly put it together. Nadia generously flew in from Switzerland to do her part, and I was able to convince my friend, award-winning actor/writer/producer, Ursula Maria to fly in from LA to play the lead and help me put it all together.
Ursula was perfect for it, not only because of her acting talents and beauty but because I knew the role — and the only way available for me to pull off what I saw in my head — was to have an actress with immense physical strength and endurance.
Ursula Maria, Nadia Berchtold, Director Kely McClung on Award-Winning short film LOOP
A grueling two-day shoot in the dark and dank, near-freezing cold and a beyond-filthy underground location set up by my producer/actor friend Carmine Perelli, followed by a couple of months of intense post-production, and we had the eight and a half minute short film LOOP.
About midway through our festival run…
LOOP would play in nearly twenty film festivals across the world, some horror and some mainstream, garnering over 40 award nominations and taking home top honors more than a dozen times, including for Best Film, Best Short Film, Best Directing, Best Screenplay, and Best Actor(ess). The highlight for me was winning the prestigious Adler Award for Best Film at the Austrian Film Festival.
LOOP wins the Indie Adler Award for Best Film at the Austrian Film Festival
Making a low/no-budget short film demanded a lot of compromises from what I originally envisioned, and the final result, while successful, had little to do with the original concept.
So, I then wrote the feature film screenplay as I had actually conceived it. Began reaching out. Making plans.
And then, the pandemic hit. Any hope of making the film put on hold.
I wrote two other action-thriller features, started putting those productions together with my friend and producer Bruce Bisbey. Researched and outlined a couple of documentaries, one for water scarcity and solutions around the world, and one for the longest professional baseball game in history. And of course, the pandemic dragged on.
There are still film and tv series being made, but presenting a new idea from an independent filmmaker didn’t seem likely, and so, I started on the novel.
"LOOP, as a novel, has none of the budgetary restrictions of a film..."
…which is both liberating and challenging. Fortunately, I had a 110-page screenplay that I knew worked to use as a guide and to keep me from going off the rails.
One of the big differences between a novel and a screenplay, at least for me, is backing up the words with in-depth research. As the story jumps from my twisted imagination to cross the lines from action-adventure to thriller to horror to science fiction, backed up with actual advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning, the wide range of conspiracies and misinformation of the current pandemic, the creation and world-building of an imaginary town, research on retro gaming and those who follow it, military operations and bomb-making and…
The common denominator of everything I work on is intensity, and I do seem to have some innate talent for violence, so those elements are a given, but still take work in crafting.
"I remember the day I knew that there were no more mistakes and/or typos to be found. I had created a perfect book! And have probably discovered and fixed 5000 since then!"
Fixing them took time, and then came typesetting. The actual placement of words on a page. Hundreds of hours of work, and weeks and weeks went by. Christmas… New Year’s eve… life…
I had a good idea for the cover before I even started writing. For those who care, the eye on the cover came from the very first image Nadia sent me years ago. It went through dozens of major and minor changes, as well as was set aside for me to try totally new ideas and concepts while I researched current mainstream books and covers. (I have a full post on that process here)
In between, I sent LOOP out to a few trusted souls for their honest opinions and feedback. Had a few others reach out to me and asked to read it. All but one absolutely loved it! The “one,” absolutely hated it…
I’m going to have to learn to live with that. It’s tough to not take it to heart when it’s your heart you’ve poured into your book. As a champion fighter (full-contact stick fighting) and a martial artist for over 50 years, I’ve learned to take some pretty hard blows, and as the song says, “I’m still standing.”
I hope people like LOOP — “A Pulse-Pounding Novel of Science-Fiction Horror.” I’ve done pretty much all I can, taking pride in the fact that I never give in or give up if I have that feeling down in my gut that I can do more. For now, I can’t find anything else… until I start the audiobook version!
It’s close! Hopefully, it’s out there by the time you stumble across this. Right now, it’s only waiting for the LOC control number, and for me to take a deep breath and push the button that sends it out to the world!
For more insights and a sneak peek at LOOP – Prologue and Chapter One – check out the rest of the website and or subscribe to the newsletter (coming soon!)
The action-adventure of LOOP – the science-fiction horror novel from William Kely McClung will be available as an eBook exclusively on Amazon and in print wherever books are sold in March of 2022!