The Writing Dream of Scooby-Doo: So I have this idea…

Mystery MachineSo as a writer I am struggling with something. Has this happened to you, my fellow writers? You get this great idea for a story and you can’t escape it. It is like a drug. The idea keeps you up at night; it fills up your notepad with ideas. You breathe this idea. And when you close your eyes it plays out in your imagination like a movie on the greatest big screen ever.

You live for the idea, and the idea lives in you.

Okay… now consider this all-engrossing idea with a big talking dog, a bunch of teenagers and villains in silly and elaborate costumes.

Yes, I am Scooby-Doo obsessed because of a great script idea I have. This is more than just a passing fancy. For example, last week, when I snuck away to work on my novel, I instead spent the entire time perfecting my outline for this script. Happily giggling as I did it the entire time.

I can’t escape Mystery, Inc.! It’s like I am stuck in one of Fred’s elaborate traps. And I dream of writing “Jinkies” in a script and hearing Velma saying it, knowing that I was the one who put that word there.

I need to write my Scooby-Doo screenplay—my creativity is craving it!—but there is a very, very good chance after I do it that is where it will end. Zoinks! Which makes all of the creative and inspired stress over this so much more painful.

Let me start this over and explain this better… starting with me, the author stuck in the back of the mystery machine. Continue reading

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Boo! New WKAR Book Review: The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury

Current StateJust in time for this spooky holiday!

I have a new book review on WKAR’s show Current State. This time I am taking on the “lost” classic novel by Ray Bradbury, The Halloween Tree.

You can hear my review here: http://wkar.org/post/book-review-ray-bradbury-s-halloween-tree

You can find The Halloween Tree on Amazon here. If you would rather read my new book review it is available below.

Happy Halloween! Continue reading

The Joy and Inspiration of Scooby-Doo

Our heroMy new book MAXIMILIAN STANDFORTH AND THE CASE OF THE DANGEROUS DARE has been released via amazon.com in eBook and print.

 I thought it would be fun to write on some of the influences for the novel.  This week I will discuss my obsession with the kids who drive The Mystery Machine.

It has always amazed me how few people get Scooby-Doo, Where are You. I’m not talking the kids or the parents or simply those who find it while flipping through the stations. No, I mean the producers, the directors, and the actual writers of the characters. Yes, Hollywood never got the friends of Mystery, Inc.

One of the first articles I ever wrote for the internet, back in 2001, was related to the genius of Scooby-Doo (I was venting in the article about my dismay around the casting and scripting around the first Scooby-Doo live action movie; that was even before I saw the disaster of a movie), and how surprised I was then (and still am), how wrong they were being. Honestly, who could blame those producers? When the actual cartoonists, after the original series’ run, rarely gave the property any respect; turning it into a device to showcase B-level stars or worse having Scooby chase 13 real ghosts.

Real ghosts? Seriously?

That idea right there is almost more damaging to the fictional reality created for Scooby-Doo and his friends than the introduction of Scrappy and Scooby’s other relatives. Even as a young kid that questionable variation to our hero’s adventures, in I am certain an attempt to steal some thunder from Ghostbusters, made me groan (and don’t get me started on the character of Flim-Flam).

When I was studying film writing, I once said in a class that I would love to adapt Scooby-Doo someday for the big screen. Some thought I was joking and laughed, others looked at me as if I was crazy, but one got where I was coming from and we both shared a nod. See, in the right hands, Scooby-Doo is awesome in its simplistic horror madcap comedy spree.

Jinkies! Pass the Scooby Snacks. Continue reading

Five Things I Am Into Right Now, May 2013

Books! Everywhere! Books!My life revolves right now around books.

Well… let me correct that. My life revolves right now around MY books. And that is not a bad thing. A JANE AUSTEN DAYDREAM was just published by Madison Street Publishing (you can find it for an incredibly reasonable price on amazon.com right here), I just ordered the proof copy of MAXIMILIAN STANDFORTH AND THE CASE OF THE DANGEROUS DARE to review, and I am debating what to do with PERMANENT SPRING SHOWERS.

Remember PERMANENT SPRING SHOWERS? It was my novel experiment last year. I wrote a book in real time, one chapter a week. It was originally based on a screenplay, but that went out the window after chapter 2. It was a fun challenge and looking back I am really proud of myself for getting through it with my creativity in one piece. My hope is to find a publisher for the book later this year; of course, it really comes down to how good JANE and MAXIMILIAN do on the market (sales, reviews, etc.).

Until then, I need to be strategic around the book. Which means, as soon as I get a spare evening, I’ll probably be taking it down from my website. The page will stay up with my updates, insights and lessons learned on the process, you just won’t be able to read it. (For those that are still working their way through the book you have been warned.)

Anyway, with summer fast approaching, and the idea of a lot less on my plate, most of the things I am enjoying right now emphasize the word “fun” with only one little book reference in the list. Continue reading

Five Things I Am Into Right Now, September 2012

Autumn is around the corner, and in my neck of the woods the leaves are just starting to change colors and my son is already talking about his Halloween costume.

He wants to be The Flash this year, but next year he wants to be Captain America with a shield which he threatens to throw around; so it’s good for everyone (especially the dog) he is The Flash this year. My daughter is Princess Leia, because I thought it would be cute and she is too young to argue; and I made sure to pick it up before the mom got a chance to say no. Yes, I am happy with this action on my part, and I will do it again in a heartbeat.

Okay, I must admit I skipped on my list last month. And that is okay, seriously, I had no time, focusing most of my attention on writing my book while listening to Fiona Apple. Yeah, Fiona’s new CD (The Idler Wheel…) is definitely becoming my mental soundtrack for this opus, but I already talked about the CD enough on this site. You don’t need to read me praising it again… Oh, what the heck– it is my favorite CD of the year so far and you should buy it.  Onto my list: Continue reading

Book Review: The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury

Since the passing of Ray Bradbury, I’ve been re-reading his books (or reading ones for the first time), trying to find a lost classic, a gem I had not discovered before.  So far I’ve reviewed two of his books (Here are the reviews: Something Wicked This Way Comes and From the Dust Returned).  Today, I review The Halloween Tree.

The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury has had a thorny history. It began as a screenplay for an animated film that was not made, then turned into a young adult novel, then into a screenplay of a holiday special and finally into a more finished version of the book… Whew… It’s exhausting just writing that, I can’t imagine what it must have felt like for Bradbury.

The Halloween Tree is more than a celebration of Halloween, it is a celebration of death, and because of it also a celebration of life. Continue reading

How An Agnostic Can Explain Death To A Child

An essay by me on a difficult subject for Green Spot Blue.  Here is the introduction to the article:

My son is three going on four and he is starting to notice death.  It’s a part of life and hard to avoid even in children’s entertainment, unless you decide to always keep them covered by the security blanket that is Thomas the Tank Engine, Curious George, and Mickey Mouse’s Clubhouse.

My son, for example, is obsessed with Batman; I try to keep him focused on the more fun (less ultraviolent) series Batman: The Brave and Bold (and might I add, mind-numbingly stupidly canceled by Cartoon Network earlier this year). Now, while this version of Batman has actual fun and friends, death still sneaks into the show from time to time.  There was an episode about how his parents died and in one episode a hero sacrificed himself to save the world (Even I kept expecting the hero to get up, but when the funeral started, it was more stunningly obvious they were going in that direction with the story).

I was watching the episode with my son when Batman’s friend died. My son asked me what happened and at that time I just said he had gone away; looking back it was a weak answer and I am surprised he was okay with it (Typically he is a very inquisitive boy).  Yet, later I began to feel more and more guilty with my answer, wondering if I had given a pathetic reply.  Of course I argued to myself that we were watching Batman, was it really the time to get into this life changing conversation?  Of course, it might have been easier to deal with the concept then, as compared to the inevitable moment when it happens to someone he knows, or might even love.

Whatever the case, that moment has passed, and I have struggled for some time trying to discover the best approach for introducing my child to the idea that life will have an end. When my wife and I decided to be parents, I argued to take a sincere approach.  I don’t know what happens after life. We agreed to deal with the questions as they come up and be honest in our perspectives.  Because, frankly, in all truthfulness none of us really do know what happens. It’s all beautiful conjecture.

To read the rest of my article (and my answer to this problem), please visit the article on Green Spot Blue here.