Recently, I shared a pilot episode spec script I’d written about a group of superhumans living together. But long before I wrote screenplays, I’ve been a prose writer. I’d say my main inspirations are Douglas Adams and Stephen King.
Adams was a master of exposition, and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is a masterpiece itself because the Guide functions as an information device in a universe as infinite and vast as Adams’ own imagination.
But then there’s King, a writer with a career only touching the surface of my experience reading it, but whose greatest stories started as short stories. The Bazaar of Bad Dreams is an original short story anthology, featuring such pieces as Obits and Mister Yummy, while also having written Drunken Fireworks as an audiobook (and also collected in The Bazaar of Bad Dreams).
In an interview with King, I remember him saying that short stories are the best way to master storytelling, because it requires the writer to establish characters, develop them and entertain the reader within a limited amount of time. What struck me about The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is that the excerpts from the Guide are like short stories on their own, embedded within the greater narrative but always tying into it. So you get the Star Wars Episodes happening together while also having Anthologies playing out over the narrative to provide explanations while not of themselves interfering with the progression of the storytelling.
This is all really a very roundabout way of saying that I want to expand my storytelling mediums. I’m still going to stick to screenwriting, and while none of my attempts at prose may lead to anything major, I’m still going to attempt them because that’s never a waste of effort or time. And I’ve decided to put them here on this blog amongst my other stuff. For a while, I thought about starting a new blog for them, but I figured “why?” It wouldn’t inconvenience what I have going here, and if anything, it would increase the posts I make.
So what I’m gonna do is work from a series of writing prompts. Now here’s something. A long time ago, I was writing a long-form novel. It’s not something I’ve abandoned, it’s just that I’ve figured I don’t have the experience required in my own terms to do so. One day, that story will be told. I’m sure of it. But during the writing process, I posted a question on tumb1r. about a problem I was having (it was the old “first/third person” type of deal). And after I’d posted it, I got a very helpful response from M. Kirin. The M means Max, but his books say “M”, so I’ll go with that. Plus, it makes them sound as if they runs MI6. And trust me, writing stories does that to you.
And that was how I discovered maxkirin.tumblr.com – “for all your writerly needs”. And believe me, there’s no need greater than the need for a prompt. Ideas are really something, it’s how I started my novel. But prompts, I find, are more practical to actually writing a story, rather than having a story. And their blog is FILLED with writing prompts. They’re at Fanimecon right now, but will be back tomorrow (at least in my timezone), and the writing prompts will continue. Over these past few days I’ve been evaluating how I want to handle my prose writing. ‘Cause that novel I’ve got is really high-concept, like “brainfreeze” high-concept. So rather than pull a George Lucas and interfere with something after it’s been released to make it “better”, I’m going to work on short stories first until I feel I have enough know-how to tackle the big Novel. King even said that a lot of short story writers disappear because they spend so long writing a novel that they don’t know how to write short stories anymore.
Really, it just comes down to me as a writer. Each one is different, and this is the path I choose to take. And it’s not like there aren’t other writerly prompts, but M.’s are from a blog filled with a tonne of other stuff. That, and the fact that writing this with a section about them means they might see it if I tag them (bring the podcast back, just sayin’), and well, the thought of that makes me goo myself inside because I quite fancy them a bit. Can’t blame me, though. They looks like Gerard Way. And their accent is freak-me-hard sexy. Going a bit far now. Sorry! Off piece, a little bit. Reel it back in.
This is not to say that they doesn’t(?) genuinely inspire me, though, because they does.
I’m 18. By the time I get to their age, I’ll have accumulated a lot of skill, hopefully. This might not work. It’s an experiment. But when they posts another writing prompt, it’ll be right here. And that’s where my short stories will be coming from. Just as soon as I get all the college stuff out of the way… but more on that when I’ve finished the short film I’m making.