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Write On: Writer Chris Hicks Talks Massive Sale of His Short Story 'I Am Not Alone'

December 8, 2023
2 min read time

“My cardinal rule – the rule that you cannot break is: don't be boring. Because you can have the perfect script that follows every screenplay formatting rule, but if you're boring, it doesn't matter. First and foremost, you’ve got to hook the reader,” says screenplay and short story writer Chris Hicks.

Hicks is the author of a short story called “I Am Not Alone,” that recently was the subject of a five-party bidding war that came down to Warner Bros. and Netflix, with Netflix proving the victor. Genre writer Misha Green (Lovecraft Country) is set to write the screenplay and Jessica Chastain is attached to star.

Hicks is part of a growing group of short story writers who are quickly making the jump from Reddit (r/NoSleep) to the big screen. But Hicks’s success didn’t come overnight. He talks about the long process, sometimes even years, it takes to perfect a short story. But it’s clear he understands the relationship between reader and writer better than most.

“You have a very limited window to grab somebody's attention. In the case of writing on Reddit, you have to have a clickbait title, something to entice somebody to click, ‘Oh, what is this?’

And then you've got a paragraph to set the hook…The internet is a vast place and people are fickle with their time, so you have to make it worthwhile for them to hang around,” says Hicks.

To go deeper into Hicks’s writing process and hear details of the bidding war, listen to our podcast.

Read More: What Literary Reps Look for In Screenplays: Q&A with David Boxerbaum 

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