Polling Readers on My Next Project – Script to Novel

I’ve been working on developing material from scripts to outlines so much lately — all of it based on screenplays I’ve already authored, registered with the Writers Guild and Copyrighted — I really hadn’t stopped to think about what people are reading.  And now I’ve hit a wall; principally because I have no idea WTF people want to read right now.

So, I decided to poll you lovely people on what my next book/manuscript should be — and gauge the response.  Below, please find a breakdown of projects I’ve been working into outlines.  And feel free to vote or comment by clicking on the tiny blue words “leave a comment,” in that jumble of blue words, at the bottom of the page.  Which one you think you would be more likely to read over the others, or if you think the idea is “tired” and not really something you feel would do well right now.  Any comments at all are welcome and appreciated.

***

Alphabetically:

The Anthology Radioplay

Anthology of short fiction based on previous work in multiple genre’s — all with the common theme of a genre-smash of pulp-style  science-fiction & adventure, all of it tied together by a single plot involving missing tapes of an old radio-show broadcast, which hold the missing key that a central character in each story needs to resolve a situation.  Somewhat similar in tone to the work of author China Mieville, and very much what Harlan Ellison would term, “Speculative Fiction.”

Ask Adventure

A travel columnist in Manhattan in 1931 accidentally imparts a highly dangerous itinerary to a beautiful socialite, and chases after her.  He catches up to a very headstrong, independent woman, is unable to convince her to abandon her plans, and quickly falls in love with her.  When one of them is mistaken for the most elusive spy in the world, it complicates their situation a teeny-weeny bit.

Attack ! of the Bermuda Triangle

Half S/F Thriller, half Comedy, this is the story of what happens when the Bermuda Triangle makes landfall on the doorstep of a neighborhood in Florida, and how the local residents — all of which are cut off from the rest of the world — team up with everyone that has ever, or will ever vanish inside the Bermuda Triangle, and battle every single science-fiction cliche’ imaginable, in order to survive the next 72 hrs.

Blood & Thunder

A Professor of maritime history, and one of the world’s foremost experts on Pirates and Treasure Hunting, has watched many of his own students go on to making historic discoveries — whereas he himself has spent a lifetime “consulting.”  Finally, he gets the call he has waited an entire career for.  Evidence has been discovered in Galveston, Texas revealing that an 18th Century pirate crew took possession of a bizarre cargo which caused the entire crew to mutiny against each other, strangely obsessed with the fate of their treasure.   The professor’s modern investigation is told simultaneous to the nightmare the pirates experienced in 1736, and the Professor quickly becomes just as obsessed with the treasure, as the Pirates themselves were.  Eventually everyone around him becomes concerned when the Professor begins, “seeing things.”  And to make matters worse, a Hurricane is headed for Galveston and the Professor refuses to evacuate.

Grand Tour

Had fun with this one.  Essentially, an S/F spin on Stagecoach, set in space.  A world-shattering advance in science allows massive leaps in technology, allowing among other strides, actual interstellar travel as previously only fashioned in science-fiction novels.  Enter a group of disparate, wealthy travelers; all expecting nothing less than the ride and adventure of their lives.  Naturally, they get out there and everything goes horribly wrong.

The Great UFO Chase

A replacement prototype for the Space Shuttle vanishes on camera on live TV, during a test flight.  Due to the cost of the project, political and media pressure is high on the White House to disclose all facts regarding the incident.  Only problem is, nobody has any idea what the hell just happened.  The President’s advisers quickly draft a handful of professionals from various fields, place them under an experienced intelligence expert, and charge the lot of them with investigating and determining the fate of the controversial test craft.  But their investigation goes south fast when they discover the technology used to power the craft was more advanced than anything we are supposed to be able to produce.

M. Melmoth

Filled with as much humor as horror, M. Melmoth is a modern Gothic tale, inspired by Hammer Horror films, and Charles Robert Maturin’s “Melmoth, the Wanderer.”  This story concerns a handsome man who sold his soul to a suspicious traveler a very long time ago, in exchange for a prolonged lifespan.  Having thus traveled the world, he’s lived through enough experiences to fill shelves of biographies. And having done every good and evil thing that a man can do, Mr. Melmoth now believes he has reached the end.  Residing in one of the oldest, and most ornate existing mansions in the United States, Mr. Melmoth … is now contemplating his existence. He enjoys his tea, and he obsesses over his wardrobe.  He has attained and discarded many vices in his time.  But scaring the hell out of people has always been his favorite.  And the man who’s eyes glow in darkness, is going to have some fun one last time, before he ends his life.

Ranger

I always wanted to do a hardcore 80’s action-thriller in space (like 48hrs,) vested with some Michael Crichton influence.  This is what I came up with in 1998.

Somewhere ahead of us …  There were two previous phases in conquering the solar system: exploration and construction.  During construction, crime was high, and the Administration tasked Space Rangers with maintaining order.  But the Rangers were overzealous and turned into a military organization hellbent on monopolizing the solar system.  They became the most bloodthirsty law enforcement agency in human history.   As a result, they had to be dealt with.  Those who weren’t outright murdered, were imprisoned.

Today, everything in the solar system is either a theme park or a resort of some kind.  And on the same day the last living Space Ranger gets out of prison,  a tragedy in space evolving massive casualties, is recorded by an unassuming young man monitoring traffic for an insurance bonding company.  But this was no accident, and now those who caused the “accident,” are chasing him in order to seal the leak.  Lucky for him, he bumps into one of the most dangerous men in human history.  And the Ranger is looking for the chance to redeem himself.

The Red Coach to Laramie

This was always a bizarre one to try and pitch to Producers.  The script is a 106 pg. oater with heavy, heavy overtones of David Fincher’s film Seven.  Kind of a cross between an episode of Columbo and a much darker serial that leans into H.P. Lovecraft territory, the story follows a mysterious man who works under the domain of the U. S. Government.  And he’s hot on the trail of a serial-killer in 1865.  A killer with strange occult connections, who has horrified all who’ve studied his trail of blood and evil.

Rockets !”

Drama-Comedy.  1981.  Tom Graham is a math and science teacher in middle America, who once worked for NASA and left the Aerospace Industry humiliated by a failed project.  Having battled with his sanity in the past, he’s known for mostly keeping to himself.  Now, just as he starts that battle once again, the real-life personification of his boyhood pulp-fiction hero, Rocketry Man, walks into his life.  Shadowed by this unwanted sidekick, Graham is thoroughly embarrassed, and completely confused as to who hired the costumed clown.  But meanwhile, everyone in town has started to notice that Tom Graham is not only becoming more personable in the presence of his new friend — he’s also healing.

Waterguns

Very Die Hard/Irwin Allen in its approach to large scale action, mixed with just enough Tom Clancy influence to make it fun.  Waterguns is about a secret cache of “water-jet” powered, handheld weapons (waterguns,) hidden away for years.  Easy to operate guns and rifles that require only water as ammunition, and can drill a hole through 6 feet of solid steel.  Clearly, these weapons were hidden away for various reasons; some being political, some pertaining to the controversial nature of the technology.  But when they are stolen from the “Black Hole” — a warehouse facility just outside Greenbelt, Maryland — the situation has to be dealt with as quietly as possible.  So the division of the U.S. Intelligence Community responsible for their safekeeping, seek out several disavowed CIA Agents, and dishonorably discharged Military personnel — and promise them all reinstatement, in exchange for their assistance.  Members of this special unit are codenamed: Waterguns.

Western Legend: Old Chicago

Influenced in part by the song Hotel California by The Eagles, and intended as a follow-up to my initial offering Western Legend, this story would follow Frank James, Virgil and James Earp, and Tom Horn, to Chicago.  There, the men quickly find and confront the Corporate magnate responsible for the illegal cattle rustling operation they themselves put a stop to in Texas.  But they quickly discern that there isn’t much they can do to this guy without destroying their own lives.  He’s very well connected, and thus protected.  And to make matters worse, illegal cattle rustling isn’t the only side-business this tycoon has going for him.  He’s also involved in various other enterprises, including Chinese slavery.  The men regroup, enlist assistance from a few other notable figures of the west, and devise an elaborate plan to get rid of the son-of-a-bitch and his criminal organization, once and for all.  But as their elaborate plan plays out … it falls apart, violently.  And while Tom and Virgil’s brother, James choose to say there goodbyes, Frank and Virgil refuse to let this one go.  They now enlist the rougher of their former associates — the men they’ve never admitted publicly or privately to ever knowing of.  And together they will “end” this “head honcho,” even if they have to burn an entire city block to the ground to do it.

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14 responses

  1. Gert

    If done right, I think the Bermuda Triangle one could be great fun. Though if not done carefully… haha, you’ll have something that wouldn’t be out of place on the SyFy channel. Not always known for high-caliber sci-fi movies, but still potentially camp fun. I sort of like the Galveston one, but why is the researcher staying during the hurricane? Is his site going to be destroyed by the storm and he needs to collect as much as he can before it’s gone? Is he too lost in his own thoughts? Is it even an archaeological issue, or is he looking at records in a dusty archive center? You even could throw in a snarky PhD. candidate as an assistant, haha.

    September 23, 2011 at 1:38 AM

  2. Anonymous

    I like all of them.

    September 23, 2011 at 6:02 AM

  3. My favorites are Ask Adventure and Blood and Thunder. Interested to hear what you decide.

    September 23, 2011 at 7:57 AM

  4. I like blood and thunder. Love the whole pirates, chasing your dreams, and it has a hurricane. so very very awesome. I would read it.

    September 23, 2011 at 9:25 AM

  5. Blood and Thunder sounds good and it’s got pirates, aaarrgghh! I like the Bermuda triangle one too. I’m working on one involving what happens to alien abductees, Bermuda triangle disappearances myself. I also like the westerns but it would be cool if it was old west steampunk. Some of the others I’m not sure about. I’d need more on what they do to decide.

    September 23, 2011 at 11:56 AM

  6. My favorites are Blood and Thunder and The Great UFO Chase. All have potential,

    September 23, 2011 at 1:22 PM

  7. YOU KNOW MY ANSWER! ATTACK OF THE MUHFUGGIN BERMUDA TRIANGLE! 😀

    September 23, 2011 at 2:20 PM

  8. I’d say the one that moves you most. Much is going to depend on individual taste. Since you asked which we’d be likely to read, my choice would be either Blood and Thunder or the follow up Western Legend. And, since you’ve already invested heavily in those characters, the latter should probably have preference.

    September 23, 2011 at 5:16 PM

  9. socr8s

    Attack of the Bermuda Triangle. If it can be as awesome as Piranha 3D and not like Sharktopus, I think it’ll do well. Get people that can act and not washed up 80’s actors.

    Blood & Thunder. We need more pirate movies. I’d be careful of it sounding like Indiana Jones but the added tension of the hurricane would be cool.

    Great UFO Chase. What time is this set in? I like the idea of this. Some potential if it’s a cross between The Right Stuff, Contact and Final Countdown.

    M. Melmoth. Uhhh, spoiler tag maybe? Sounds like it could be scary enough.

    Red Coach. I just like some, not all, of the procedural dramas. If you can sell it to not sound like Seven, I think it’ll be good.

    September 23, 2011 at 6:00 PM

  10. sportsfan800

    Jim, Blood & Thunder sounds like a great supernatural thriller with Pirates mixed in. After doing Western Legend, it would be nice to change the genre from a western to this particular one. There are not too many pirate novels out there and with the addition of a hurricane, that could be a good recipe for a solid story with enough suspense to catpure the readers. Thats my two cents.

    September 24, 2011 at 12:54 AM

  11. M.Melmoth – Horrors and Gothic tales are very popular right now. Happy writing!

    September 24, 2011 at 8:13 AM

  12. Blood and Thunder is my favourite, sounds really intriguing!

    September 25, 2011 at 4:17 AM

  13. Very good responses, thus far; thank you so much. You have all been of great help.

    September 25, 2011 at 12:30 PM

  14. Will update tomorrow with my decision. Thanks again.

    September 28, 2011 at 12:09 PM

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