|Photo By: John O'Nolan|
|Photo By: Laura "Sunidesus" of Flickr|
Hearing Scalzi talk about his decisions about writing is a look into the mind of a true professional. With each project he undertakes, he does it with some goal he wants to accomplish beyond "I want to write this." For example, when he wrote Fuzzy Nation, he did so with the idea that people reboot movies all of the time, but books aren't often rebooted. He wanted to see if it was possible. He picked Little Fuzzy, a well known, well enjoyed novel from the Golden Age of Sci-Fi that showed also showed its age. He updated it, rewrote it, reconfigured some of the ideas, and it became Fuzzy Nation.
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When he wrote Redshirts, he worked from the idea that there are often disposable characters in science fiction television shows that are only there to die in service of the plot--a joke so synonymous with the original Star Trek series that the term "redshirt" has been applied to all presentations of that character-type, whether connected to Star Trek or not. He looked at that idea and decided these people must have lives, too, and proceeded to write a book from that idea. However, that joke would get old quickly, so he took that idea and progressed it even further, making something that could be seen as a one-off joke a genuinely engaging, interesting, and emotionally investing read.
With his newest project, he is doing something different once again. His newest book, The Human Division, is taking the idea of a television series and applying it to a book. Where each episode of a TV series is self-contained, they also often have an overarching plot for the season. Therefore, The Human Division will be a book of short stories set in the Old Man's War universe. Each story will be self-contained, but there will also be an overarching plot to the book. You can catch individual "episodes" as he calls them, or read the whole thing through. Either way, you understand what's going on.
This is super cool to me. That got me thinking about what I'd like to accomplish with my writing career. I feel each new project should be a challenge to me in some way, like Scalzi challenges himself. This is the list I've come up with:
|Photo By: Andrew Storms|
- I would like to write a novel. (Obviously)
- I would like to publish a book of short stories, possibly with an overall theme, but not necessarily.
- I would like to write a novel that combines fantasy and western elements because it is a genre of which I've seen very little. If I can write something that doesn't basically feel like a rehash of Stephen King's The Dark Tower, I'll consider it a success. (I'm using western in the American Old West sense, not the "Western World Culture" sense).
- I would like to write an original screenplay.
- I would like to write a screenplay adaption of someone else's novel.
- I would like to write a screenplay adaption of one of my own works.
- I would like to write a script for an original comic.
- I would like to write a script for a pre-existing comic book series, like Superman or Batman or Spider-man.
So, if you are a writer, what are you expecting to accomplish with your writing career? If you're some other creative type--aspiring director, sketch artist, painter, comic artist, musician--what types of goals have you set for yourself? What would you like to accomplish?