Berny was a prolific author of thrillers who had had high success with a character he created, Madelaine Morris. She was an inspector and a mom, who solved complicated and dark crimes, and at the same time, had to deal with her common family issues.
His stories were popular because it combined the mystery of crime-solving with the Morrises’ family stories, filled with humor and positive feelings.
A TV producer has noticed his stories and had contacted him to propose making a series.
It was a good thing to promote books and make money, so Berny was excited about the project.
But when the scriptwriters worked on the pilot at the producer’s orders, he noticed that they had made substantial changes in Madelaine’s character. She was a smart, courageous, and reckless investigator, yes. But in his books, she had a happy family who was her solace: She had a problematic teenager, two smaller kids, and a loving husband worried about her job’s dangers but supporting her.
Instead, the script depicted a dysfunctional family who added tension to Madelaine’s character and defined her stories’ darker picture.
Berny wasn’t happy and complained to the producer. But they told him that the new Madelaine would be more commercial, realistic, and likable for the public who like a hero who had to fight alone against all odds.
-But this is not what I created, protested Berny.
-You sold us your rights.
-The rights of my story. No of what the scriptwriters had done of it.
-We are going to go on with this project as it is.
-I’m going to sue you.
-Good luck with that.
Berny knew he was a dwarf in front of the giant TV industry, but he filed a demand anyway.
The series aired as scheduled with the script that modified Madelain’s character while Berny was fighting into the tribunals.
Three years later, when he has in bankruptcy, a court ruled in his favor.
The TV producer had to pay him millions in damages and change his series’s main character’s name.
But nobody could repair the real damage to Berny. His beloved character, who had given him fame and great satisfaction, had been murdered by that shark who happened to be the producer.
Out of depression, he had fallen in a writer’s block.
He stopped writing until his wife put him in front of the computer and told him: enough!.
Then he began to type the headline of his new book: