Years ago I worked as a location scout on movies shooting in Toronto. I worked on one called First Degree with Rob Lowe, and on The Protector with Frank Zagarino and Matthias Hues I got promoted from location scout to writer. That may not happen very often, but it was a low budget movie and the script called for all kinds of expensive locations. So, I’d find a location the movie could afford and rewrite the scene to fit it. By the end of production, I’d written enough of the movie to get credit for it.
Or maybe the blame for it, depending on how you want to look at it.
Then, a few years ago I had an idea for a private eye. I thought driving around town with a camera looking for locations could lead to driving around town following people having affairs and taking pictures of them. Of course, that’s not what the novel would be about, that’s what the character would say he did on his other cases.
But this case would be different, he’d get hired to find a missing person or find some evidence from an old crime and get sucked into investigating it, or... something.
So, I started writing the book. And one day I mentioned it to a friend of mine and he said, “Oh yeah, Jeffery Deaver has a series about a location scout solving mysteries.”
And I said, “WTF?”
So I went and looked it up and sure enough, there it was, “Shallow Graves: A Location Scout Mystery Series.”
Series, how many are there?
Turns out there are three “Location Scout” mysteries; Shallow Graves, Bloody River Blues and Hell’s Kitchen , that now have Jeffery Deaver in big letters on the cover and underneath that in small letters, “written as William Jefferies.”
Has everything been done?”
Of course, it really doesn’t matter that everything’s been done, every writer has to put their own spin on it, give it their own voice. After all, no one’s going to say, “I was going to write a private eye novel about an ex-cop who drinks too much but I found out it’s been done.”
No, you make it your own.
So, someday I may write a mystery novel about a location scout. Or, maybe I’ll try out the character in a short story and try to sell it to EQMM or AHMM. They pay, right?
Oh well, if they don't buy it I can always post it online somewhere.