Topic: The Writer's Room: Thoughts on imagination and creativity

Since many of us here are writers whether we admit it or not (Temporal Flux, I mean YOU), I thought we might have a thread devoted to the writer's craft.

How did you guys get into writing? I got into it because Sliders killed my father. ("Dude -- your father's not dead. And Professor Arturo is not your dad!") Yeah, I said what I said.

I kept wanting to write stories to fix things. But I couldn't seem to get it together in those early days. I kept writing lengthy stories where Quinn meets some cosmic entity who offers to save all the sliders in exchange for a long and exhausting mission across Sliders continuity and would get stalled. By the time it dawned on me that the best thing to do was have the sliders already alive and well by the third page, 15 years had passed.

So, it would be more accurate to say that Sliders got me into and out of writing. So the second time I got into writing was primarily to meet girls. I was an extremely shy person and it occurred to me in college that I could talk to women under the pretense of doing interviews for the school newspaper and I got lots of dates this way. By the time I realized that I was more interested in friends than girlfriends, 12 years had passed. I still use this method to approach women platonically, though.

Anyway. I would like to recommend this podcast on writing, At the Writer's Table where each installment has a novelist, screenwriter, editor, agent, publisher, etc., interviewed about their profession and philosophies. The most important takeaway I've had so far from this podcast is to always work writing into your day. If you have a day job, bang out a few paragraphs over lunch and it'll be so much easier to churn out chapters on the weekends.

Re: The Writer's Room: Thoughts on imagination and creativity

Good post.
My route was not so dramatic. I was doing some cartooning back in the Nineties and took a novel writing class to help with my storytelling. I was writing an action novel and the instructor liked my action narratives and suggested I try screenplays.

Which brings me to where I am today.

Re: The Writer's Room: Thoughts on imagination and creativity

I don't even have a story. I've just always been a writer. I remember writing a story and having my brother illustrate it when I was in kindergarten. smile

When I was a teenager, I tried to submit scripts and story ideas to Star Trek, but they were never purchased (Voyager would have been so much better if they had hired me!).

I've always wanted to write film and television, but it is such an impossible industry to break into. I finally realized that I can write a book and put my stories out there for people to see, and it won't take someone investing millions of dollars, and hundreds of crew members to get some version of that done... and it would be my vision, not someone else's! So I do books now, but I'm still interested in film and television. The timing has just never been right for that. If some of my books read like outlines for seasons of a TV series, now you know why.

Re: The Writer's Room: Thoughts on imagination and creativity

On pastiches:

Most of what I've written has been a pastiche of other writer's styles and other actor's performances. I get a lot of nice remarks and a number of criticisms. Transmodiar calls my depiction of Arturo "overwrought and overwritten" and Slider_Quinn21 concurred. I ended up toning it down a bit in the final edits for SLIDERS REBORN.

But I find that when you are trying to convert an onscreen performance to prose and extrapolate, it's necessary to exaggerate it slightly. You don't actually have the actor to sell the subtle nuances of their delivery, so you have to heighten their performance in the descriptions so that it comes across properly.

I think I've generally done a good job; Wade is piercingly direct yet caring, Rembrandt is casual and reacts to everything like a normal person but with Cleavant's humour, the Professor is like a dysfunctional Professor Dumbledore and Quinn is earnest and filled with moral conviction. However, there were times when not having the actors really became a problem.

The one scene in SLIDERS REBORN that I think suffers most from Jerry O'Connell's absence is the Quinn versus Quinn-2 confrontation in the last script. Ideally, Quinn would have exhibited the burning, cold, reserved yet outraged contempt that Jerry performed so well in Seasons 1 - 2 with John's guidance, especially in "Luck of the Draw" and "Time Again and World." I wrote the dialogue in that low-key fashion -- and then I found it just didn't come alive; I didn't feel the anger and rage in the scene.

So I exaggerated it more than I think Jerry would actually perform it. Quinn shouts and yells instead of speaking in Jerry's subtly furious intensity. Instead of stiffening with clenched fists, Quinn picks up a laptop and throws it into a wall and smashes clocks on the floor and says outright to his enemy that he is going to kill him. It works on paper -- I don't see it being scripted this way for an actual performance where Jerry's acting would convey all that much more effectively without the histrionics.

I wonder if spec script writers penning submissions for TV shows that already exist have these issues and how they address them.

My niece once told me that the way I view fanfic is completely unlike most fanfic writers. "I write SUPERNATURAL fanfic as erotica for Dean and Castiel," she explained to me, "whereas you write SLIDERS fanfic like you're writing a licensed media tie in product that publicly represents the franchise and I guess you do that because nobody actually watches your show or writes fan fiction for it anymore and you're capitalizing on being the only game in town."

Anyway. I have decided that I will do a sequel to SLIDERS REBORN. Just not now. In 10 years time, I will do SLIDERS ACADEMY.