The Way of the Word

28. August 2010

Housecleaning

This morning, I cleaned out my paper archive. As in, I tossed out printouts and carbons (yes, it dates back that far) and redundant photocopies of my early work. It’s not as bad as it sounds. Most of these are either also saved digitally (the problem is that my computer has no 3.5″ floppy drive), or completely horrible. So I either still have a version (note to self: buy a USB floppy drive for computer), or it’s not worth saving. Yes, honestly. My first novel? The world is better off if the paper it’s typed on is just recycled.

I did find some interesting stuff among these, though. Luckily, I found the one screenplay I wrote. Earlier this century, I was hired to write a teleplay for a no-budget sci-fi movie that was hoped for (by the producer) to be the pilot for a series. I completed the screenplay, but I was never paid. The production apparently failed to raise any money, and the producer vanished.

I also found the script for a Batman audio drama that I wrote back in 1989. At the time, a German company had the rights to produce Batman audio dramas based on the first Burton movie. I had written the script just for trying out if I could handle the format. The story had been fun: the Joker has to deal with his even more evil twin, and Batman had to stop them both. I wrote it over the Christmas holidays in 1989. When I sent out some more short stories to publishers in January 1990, I also submitted the Batman script. Just because.

A couple of days later, the producer called me. He not only wanted to buy the script, he offered me a job as regular writer for the series. Sadly, he lost the license before the deal came together.

I found one of my first comic book scripts, which I wrote for Visual Assault Comics. That one had been bought and sold, and even drawn. The editor had sent me copies of the pencilled pages. I might scan them and post them on my blog one of these days. I know that violates the artist’s and publisher’s copyrighst, I hope they’ll consider it free promotion. My usual luck: the series was cancelled before my script was used. This time, though, I had at least gotten paid.

Among my earliest work is a short poem that I already posted on my blog.

The real gem, however, is a script I had completely forgotten I had ever written. (Which should be a lesson to us all: look through your archives every couple of years.) It’s a young adult fantasy novel that combined non-traditional mythologies for a fun story. The idea behind it had been, what if someone finds a wonder lamp who doesn’t know that they get three wishes? Basically, it’s Aladin’s lamp found by Tahitian children. Just looking at the title page reminded me how much fun it had been to write this story. I still have it on disc, but since I have a printout, I’ll probably use the printout as the basis to do another draft of this. I’d need to look through my other set of files, but I don’t think I ever actually even submitted it anywhere. The story is 15 years old, I think, and if I haven’t improved as a writer since then, all hope is lost anyway. I remember the story was fun to write, so giving it another pass will probably also be fun.

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