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Why I Wrote “1775”

Why did I write 1775? (If you are wondering what my 1775 book is about, read this post.) When I attended graduate school at MIT in 2004 in Cambridge, MA, I discovered the rich and compelling history of Boston. I grew so enamored by it, I felt impelled to research it more. Moreover, I was privately dumbfounded to discover a Swiss friend of mine in Cambridge knew more of Boston’s Revolutionary War history than I, though of course I studied it in elementary school like most Americans. This especially compelled me to research my country’s own history. 

Meanwhile, though I was attending graduate school for a technical degree, I had already discovered my previously unknown interest in filmmaking. This was thanks to my time on active duty in the Air Force, which stationed me at the Los Angeles AFB for a time, and the heart of screenland. With my filmmaking interest solidly established, my creative energy burning to find some compelling story for a screenplay, I found myself in the underappreciated and story-ripe city of Boston. And as I delved into my research of the Revolution there, I decided I’d love to see this as a movie one day. (Why have we never really seen Paul Revere’s Ride on screen? Or the Battle of Bunker Hill? More on this in some future post.)

So I wrote a movie… I started in September 2007 and completed it about a year later. It’s a mammoth script, far too unwieldy for a movie, but I decided I had collected too much raw info and useful tidbits to just discard, many of which would make great anecdotes, but most unsuitable for a screenplay. I had also learned that getting a book published was a more realistic way to get such a project turned into a movie. So, before I even finished the script, I began to realize I must turn this mammoth script into a nonfiction history book. I began researching again from scratch, spending most of my time pouring over the original source material (the original letters of the day, or republished versions of them). I started the book writing itself around January 2008, and I decided to begin in the middle of the book, at the hardest part of the story: telling the story of the Battle of Bunker Hill. Once I finished the two chapters covering that battle, I continued on, to the end of the story, and “finished” the book (from middle to end) about the beginning of September of 2009 (I celebrated with my favorite beer, a seasonal beer available for only 2 months, one that is most befitting: Samuel Adams Octoberfest). I then spent the rest of 2009 until Super Bowl Sunday 2010 writing from the beginning of the book back to the middle. I’ve done various revisions along the way and since.

And now I’m actively seeking a literary agent, who will act on behalf to bring it to publication. But the ultimate goal is still to bring this to the screen, but now I envision it as a miniseries, akin to the successful “John Adams” on HBO.

Please help spread news of this forthcoming book among all of your friends and the history buffs you know. Support of the site goes a long way to proving to a would-be publisher that this book can be commercially viable, for this is their chief consideration in a down economy, particularly when taking on new, unpublished authors like myself. So I hope you’ll support my humble endeavor to get 1775 published by joining my official book page on facebook or following me on twitter (you can follow the blog via both sites), or just follow this blog directly (by email or with a news reader).

Things to expect from this blog:

  • regular updates, likely every Monday for now, or more often as needed
  • long excerpts from the book
  • discussions of historical topics covered in the book

I won’t seek to cover all things of Boston in 1775, as J. L. Bell already does this at his excellent blog http://www.boston1775.net . I will, however, cover interesting elements I uncovered in my research as I wrote this book, along with source material whenever I can obtain the permission for such.

Please let me know if you find major bugs. Styles will change though, and are not yet done as I complete the site. Also, this site is hosted at my home site, www.derekbeck.com/1775/ , but you can easily get to it by using 1775thebook.com .

Until next week, thank you for reading.

 Derek’s Book
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About Derek W. Beck

I write stuff. I film stuff too.

9 Responses to Why I Wrote “1775”

  1. Hello Derek! I see you’ve been quite busy since I last talked to you =) Congrats on writing your first book! 

  2. Peter Ansoff says:


    Well done! I’m looking forward to following the blog. Will your miniseries close with a scene of Washington raising the British flag on Prospect Hill? (-;

    Best regards,

    Peter Ansoff

    • Derek Beck says:

      Hi Peter! There will definitely be some flags in any future miniseries: and I might have to get your expertise on such whenever that happens! (But the series would close with the British leaving Boston I’d imagine…) 

  3. Vicky Chan says:

    I cant wait to read more.

  4. Pingback: “1775″ now has literary representation! « "1775" – a forthcoming history book by Derek W. Beck

  5. Dena Olson says:

    Oh and here is another personal interest item; we lived in NJ for 3 years (worked for AT&T at Basking Ridge) and kept bumping into houses where George Washington slept, or his troups wintered here in the woods. Or the house in Morristown where Geroge and Martha lived.…must have been the winter of 1777 after the Christmas eve sieges at Trenton. Who was it that said ‘things just get curiouser and curiouser’??

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