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Crash

Crash wasn’t just the first screenplay we ever sold, it was the first script I ever wrote.

That version of the movie will never get made. The option expired, was renewed, expired again. Then Dave and I recently moved on to a new version of the story, which is quite a departure from the original work. 

Still, writing that first script was a monumental achievement, not because of the small sum we got for the option, but the knowledge that if I could do it once — both writing the script and selling the option — surely we could do it again.

Crash was a strategic choice for adaption. A novella, and the shortest standalone Dave and I had produced so far, this small story was tidy enough for a tight adaptation where I was less likely to get lost in the weeds. 

Books sprawl in ways that screenplays do not, so I needed a story that was trim to begin with, and one that I was intimately familiar with. Crash wasn’t just short, it had a long developmental cycle and I ended up  reworking it twice as much as I normally would rework one of Dave’s drafts, so I was especially in touch with the material. 

Crash had also several additional elements making it an excellent candidate for adaptation. A haunted yet unreliable narrator, fractured time and memory, and tension to trigger release on repeat, until Dave’s gut punch of an ending.

There’s a lot of Dave in these pages, with elements of the story born years before the novella’s conception. The image of a man taking photographs of car crashes had been a recurring vision for Dave — he started telling me about it shortly after we met.

Time is supposed to heal all wounds, but it’s stopped for Thomas Witt, Crash’s wrecked to pieces protagonist. He can’t get over the accident that stole everything from him. Because it’s a Dave story, that means popping pills to forget, doing whatever he can to dull his physical and emotional pain, and becoming obsessed with discovering something — anything — that might help him move on. 

Crash was written in parallel with Threshold, our first full-length novel. Dave was working on his draft while I focused on mine. Threshold is a haunted house story with more complications than I expected, but even at twice the length, it was still written in a third of the time we spent on Crash. Dave lived in the basement of his mind during Crash, starting over multiple times. 

This book ripped him up, but Dave went to pieces for you. His pain isn’t just on display, it’s in the DNA of this story. Crash is a compelling, poignant, single-sitting read. Perfect for people who like a little sorrow to follow their fear.

You can download Crash for free here