About drewchapman

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So far drewchapman has created 186 blog entries.

The Faked and the Dead

Apologies to Norman Mailer. One of the biggest issues in writing a TV show based on real people — and their real stories — is figuring out the delicate balance between what actually happened and what is good drama. Unless you are Alexander the Great or Winston Churchill, chances are the day to day details of your entire life would not make a riveting story.  So the job of the storyteller when telling a “true life” story is to edit, judiciously, compress and then, when you have the bare-bones of a plot, fill in the details with fiction. Which is what we are doing with The Assets. Our leads were front line soldiers in the Cold War. They battled the KGB, lost spies, recruited new spies, were betrayed, had their hearts broken, and broke the hearts of their enemies…but they did most of this from behind a desk, using phones and telex machines. They held a certain number of meetings. They argued with their superiors, made nice with their husbands and wives, reprimanded their kids and then told those same kids that they loved them. […]

By |September 1st, 2013|Uncategorized|Comments Off on The Faked and the Dead

The first reviews are in…

So Goodreads.com has a page for The Ascendant here. So far, nothing but good reviews. Actually, better than good. Dare I say they are…great? There, I said it, and the world has not coming crashing down around my shoulders. Not yet. We writers are a superstitious lot. We tip-toe around our own self-promotion, lest we offend the gods of The Good Review. Also, we fear seeming overly ambitious or vain. A striving writer is a most disagreeable thing.  And of course that is a debilitating contradiction, because what the publishing industry needs most is writers who are willing to go out and self-promote. Simon & Schuster needs Drew Chapman to be vain and ambitious. So if I seem that way to you — well, blame S&S! It’s not me. Okay, it is me.   […]

By |August 29th, 2013|Uncategorized|1 Comment

What a spy really does

So, as I posted earlier, I am currently writing an eight hour mini-series for ABC about the last years of the Cold War, and the battles between the CIA and the KGB that raged in that period. It’s a fascinating story to research, and part of the great fun of doing the job has been my continuing contact with all these real life CIA officers, both old and new. The CIA, as it turns out, is far less exotic, but far more interesting, than what you normally read. Most CIA officers are paper pushers. Men and women who spend an inordinate amount of time reading files and reports and letters and cables. But they are doing this — pushing papers — in an intense, life or death cause. And they are paper pushers and spies at the same time. How is this so? Because the truth is that most other spies — whether they work for the KGB, the Chinese Ministry of State Security,  the UK’s MI-5, or any other intelligence gathering network — are paper pushers as well. Allow me to explain. […]

By |August 28th, 2013|Uncategorized|Comments Off on What a spy really does

NY Times hacked

So I've been trying to read the New York Times all afternoon, but Google kept telling me that they couldn't connect to the site, and of course I just thought it was my always troublesome computer making more trouble, or maybe my even more troublesome wi-fi router. It never occurred to me that the NYTimes [...]

By |August 28th, 2013|Uncategorized|Comments Off on NY Times hacked

The endless hiatus

Okay, I’ve completely fallen down on the job of keeping up with my blog posts. I have my reasons — excuses more like it — and I will share them here, and then I will make a promise, which is: from today until the publication date of The Ascendant (January 7th, 2014!) I shall be the faithful, hard-working blogger of yore, updating on a daily basis. Okay, maybe every other day, but almost daily. So first, the excuses. […]

By |August 26th, 2013|Uncategorized|1 Comment

Back in the saddle

So today, for the first time in a year, I started writing again. Actual novel writing. Not screenplays, not outlines. A book. Book two of the Ascendant series, to be precise. For the past few months I have been researching, traveling, outlining, doing character sketches and fitting scenes together as if they were puzzle pieces. [...]

By |May 16th, 2013|Uncategorized|3 Comments

Mini-documentary on China

The NY Times posted this fantastic five minute documentary to their online op-ed page today. Here's the link. It's worth watching. It follows one man, a citizen reporter, as he travels around rural China, reporting on news stories that the central government won't publicize. Most of his stories seem to be about farmers and pollution, [...]

By |May 16th, 2013|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Mini-documentary on China

Okay, this is fun

The first actual listing of The Ascendant, with a cover page and all. And it even has blurbage. http://www.amazon.com/The-Ascendant-Novel-Drew-Chapman/dp/1476725888

By |April 30th, 2013|Uncategorized|2 Comments

Adventures in food

By far the hardest part of being in China with my 12-year-old daughter was getting food we could both eat. Here’s the thing — my daughter is a vegetarian, and I’m diabetic. She can’t eat meat and I can’t eat rice or noodles. Basically all food in China is either meat or rice and noodles, or some combination of the three. Beef topped with a slice of American cheese. Tasted about as you’d imagine. Add to those issues the fact that we didn’t speak a word of Mandarin and almost no one working in a restaurant spoke any English, and you had a recipe for disaster. Multiple disasters. Mostly we ordered from picture menus. Sometimes we pointed at other people’s food. Getting across the no meat thing was tougher. We were told that saying “Woo chi su” meant I am a vegetarian in Mandarin, but every time we said it the waiters just stared blankly at us, so I’m guessing we either pronounced it wrong or somebody was having a good joke at our expense. […]

By |April 29th, 2013|china|3 Comments

Life during flutime

I have to admit I was a bit nervous to head to China with the latest round of Avian Flu in the headlines, especially because we were planning on spending a good chunk of time in Shanghai, where the outbreak seemed to be centered. But once we arrived in China, those fears faded pretty quickly. Why, exactly? Well, for one thing, nobody there seemed particularly spooked by the virus. Yes, you saw the occasional pedestrian or subway rider wearing a particle mask, but there weren’t a lot of them. Maybe one out of every hundred people. And I was never sure if they were wearing the masks because of fears of contagion — or because the pollution was so awful. I had bought a pair of masks for myself and my daughter before leaving on our trip, but they were for our lungs, not our immune system.  […]

By |April 27th, 2013|china|2 Comments