To demonstrate how the creative mind works, consider: Last night I was watching an episode of a classic old genre show (hence, Show A). It was a typical standalone, villain-of-the-week episode of the series, nothing spectacular in and of itself. I don’t recall ever seeing this particular episode, but if I did, it must’ve been 50-60 years ago in its initial run.
It struck me that this episode’s particular baddie was in a unique position to help the protagonists with their mission, but only at a terrible cost. They turn him down, of course, opting to struggle on nobly rather than employ the services of such a villain, but it occurred to me…
…if the villain wasn’t so villainous (or at least didn’t appear so villainous), and they did take him up on his offer…
…then the show would have moved in a radically differ (albeit similar) direction from the way it actually did when aired.
That got me thinking about the basic premise of the show. It was far-fetched 60 years ago and completely unviable today…given the backstory of the show.
But if you changed that backstory…
I thought of genre Show B; it had a similar premise but a significantly different backstory. Swap out a few elements of Show A’s backstory with Show B…
…now you have a similar premise / mission but with a different sense of urgency.
So different it makes the original Show A villain’s offer all the more tempting.
Still, I’m not interested in doing straight up fan fic using somebody else’s characters. While their archetypes (to be generous) and stock characters (to be honest) were common to the genre, they’d still require considerable tweaking to make them my own.
Gender and age substitutions were easy enough, but one stock character reminded me of a comedy relief team of similar stock characters in genre Show C, so if I port that team over, play them straight but keep the core essence of their personalities…
Still, it struck me as a little too cut-&-pasty. Sharp-eyed readers might notice what I lifted from Show B and Show C.
Then I remember Genre Movie had used a similar setting to Show B and similar characters to Show C but had been released before either of those two shows aired, so if anybody said, “You ripped off Show B & C” I could say, no, Genre Movie did that, too and vice versa.
Great, so now I have a strong, workable premise, but no place to put it. I suppose I could write it (eventually) as a novel…
Then it struck me to approach the material as I would a TV series, each chapter an episode in a season or a long story arc. Thirteen episodes of three acts, each act with a minimum of three scenes, each scene 500 words long = 58,500 words right there. Easily within striking range of a standard genre novel.
Well, that’s good.
The only real question now is when to find time to write this!
We just got in the cover art for Poor Banished Children Of Eve, my young adult “World War Two Lord Of The Flies with Catholic school girls” novel; I’ll be sharing that with you shortly. That should be hitting the market (well, Amazon) in a matter of weeks.
Completed the second draft on the short story I mentioned last time that’s set in a book store; trimmed it down a little tighter, punched up a few lines. As soon as I have more info on the anthology’s final title and release date Ill let you know.
The modern Western YA novel about four teen girls saving a herd of wild horses is still awaiting the next round of revisions; gotta get that one in the hopper ASAP.
Haven’t forgotten about the female barbarian story, either; it’s still stewing in the back of me widdle brain.
We went to Canada for a wedding last weekend and to amuse myself in the down time I wrote a 1,400 word short story I now have no idea what to do with. It’s not a genre story and it has a nasty little twist that hinges on a sharp change in tone, so markets that might like the first half of the story won’t like the second and vice versa. If anybody has any general fiction markets they know of, bounce ‘em along to me, please.
I’ve also written a short factoid that will eventually find its way into the rotation on this blog. It’s more of a mood piece that an actual story, but I liked the way it turned out and as they say in the song, “Whaddya want for nuthin’? A rubber beeeeescuit?”
Oh, and I’ve got some links to share of a book review of The Most Dangerous Man In The World: The Lost Classic G.I. Joe Episodeand an interview I did recently, so I gotta get those up plus you’ll probably be seeing some format changes on this blog in the very near future as we are shifting from one platform to another.
So brace yourselves, there’s a lot coming!
 Well, howthiscreative mind works.
 But how to hide the episodic nature so that it flows like a real novel instead of a series of adventures? Well, when we were doing the classic Sunbow shows we were forced into a pretty rigid three act structure by the need to run commercials. If each chapter is the equivalent of an episode, just move the chapter break to the cliff hanger at the end of act two, resolve it in the next chapter, then segue on to the next story.
 Unless you want to call it a crime story but while there’s a crime in it, the focus of a genre crime story is the crime itself while the focus of this story is what motivates the crime.