Category Archives: Writing

My Time Travel Romantic Comedy Pitch

What’s missing from the time travel romantic comedy genre? A harsh dystopia. What if every manic pixie dream girl, was secretly a talent scout from the future? What if someone told you your magnum opus finds an audience long after you die? This story is a commentary on where I think the entertainment industry is headed.

Hand me the keys to the Delorean and I’ll show you an alternate timeline. Here’s some of the irresponsible things I’d do with a time machine.

"Drew, you just ran over Hitler with a Delorean!"
“Drew, you just ran over Hitler with a Delorean!” “HE WAS IN MY WAY!”

My Time Travel Romantic Comedy Pitch

This isn’t a synopsis, it’s a loose pitch, a parade of plot points, a poll of possibilities. If you think it’s something worth developing, say so in the comments.

Logline: A publicist travels back in time to seduce an author whose fame was achieved after his death. Her firm specializes in corrupting these unsung geniuses with stardom, and reaping in the profits.

Character/Drive

In the not too distant future: every film, TV show, and video game is based on an established work. New intellectual properties are considered risky investments. The corporations with the most time-honored masterpieces in their vaults own the entertainment industry.

Ashlynn is a scout for a publishing firm. Charged with copywriting classics before they enter into the public domain, she gets to these stories before their audience can. Violating restrictions on time travel, her firm has offices that stretch back to the dawn of the printing press.

Ashlynn specializes in finding authors who gained notoriety after their deaths. Traveling to when they were in their prime, she wins them over with sweet talk, and publishing contracts. For minuscule costs in the past, she reaps massive benefits for the future.

Ashlynn’s firm is responsible for an alternate reality where Edgar Allen Poe lives to become a bored true crime author, where H.P. Lovecraft struggles to step out of the shadow of his Cthulhu mythos, and fame gives Henry David Thoreau a new found affection for the big city.

Ashlynn pressures Herman Melville into writing a sequel to Moby Dick. It undermines the original’s message, turning the series into a precursor for Jaws.

As a scout, Ashlynn does her best to avoid the firm’s temporal agents, dark figures who travel back in time to enforce the firm’s agenda. They make sure their golden geese keep laying eggs. Whenever an author has a flight of fancy, these shadow figures clip their wings. Sabotaging lives, the agents put these writers back in front of the blank page. The firm regards their authors, who would never have achieved acclaim without them, as their prose spewing property.

Ashlynn watches the agents detain Emily Dickinson, when she tries to burn her journals. She sees them catch Franz Kafka trying to do the same. When he writes about their “Kafkaesque” time bending schemes, she’s surprised to find they publish it as it is.

Ashlynn thwarts Sylvia Plath’s suicide attempt. The agents throw her client into a padded cell, where the price of daylight is a page of poetry.

"Drew, you just hit Bin Laden with a flying skateboard!"
“Drew, you just hit Bin Laden with a flying skateboard!” “IT’S CALLED A HOVERBOARD, OLD MAN!”

Continue reading My Time Travel Romantic Comedy Pitch

Choke and Mirrors (Audio Short)


(Download the instrumental version here)

A short story about a haunted medicine cabinet, with a fresh twist on an old jump scare.

A Franchise is Born Again

Hollywood is so bankrupt for ideas they’re remaking box office failures. Brand recognition is more important than critical reception. I invite you to be a fly on the wall as a major studio mines your childhood for the last lingering piece of nostalgia.

Twinkle

A Franchise is Born Again

Somewhere in Hollywood, a studio head looms over his executives. Armed with a small clicker, he circles the boardroom. With a flick of the wrist, he puts a slide on screen: a weathered face at the center of a sculpted wheel. Its features are all but flattened, with the exception of a long stone tongue.

Leaning into the light, the studio head stares straight into the projector, “Research has shown that the Mayan calendar year was several days too long. This pushes their end time prediction from 2012 to the summer of 2015. The dawning of…”

Flicking his wrist, the words “THE AGE OF ULTRON” fill the wall.

The studio head’s shoulders sink, “The same summer that Disney releases The Avengers 2 and the new Star Wars movie. When Warner Brothers releases Batman VS. Superman, and Universal launches Jurassic World.”

Flicking his wrist, the studio head pitches the clicker across the room. The executives duck. The final image is of a mushroom cloud blasting through a marquee.

Running his fingers down his face, the studio head growls. “This, my brothers and sisters, is a block-buster-apocalypse, a block-alypse. A sign of our end times. If we don’t get a major franchise into production, our investors will be raptured.”

Cupping his hands in prayer, the studio head looks to the ceiling tiles. “We need a motion picture miracle, a remake revelation, a prophecy for our profit margins. Someone bring us back to the Garden of Eden and find me an apple that’s ripe for a reboot.”

The executives slouch in their chairs, adjust their skirts, and turtle-up in their suit coats.

The studio head pops open a can of Diet Coke. There’s silence as it fizzles.

Taking a sip, the studio head wipes his mouth. “Did anyone sleep last night? Hell is licking at our heels people, and your eyes are as red as the devil’s dick.”

An executive, at the far end of the conference table, reaches into her colleague’s suit. Pinching his nipple, she twists until he shrieks. She withdraws her hand as everyone turns toward the sound. The studio head zeros in on the panic stricken executive.

Smoothing his tie, the executive says, “I… Uh, I might have something.” Continue reading A Franchise is Born Again

Cheek to the Ground

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I’ll sing this song
With my cheek to the ground
With my eyes on the sky
And my head in the gutter
The world passes by
In big giant strides
Or maybe you all
Seem so tall from down here

Wine breathes better in the bottle
Wine flows better down the street

A pavement pillow
A cement spread
A parking space
Where I rest my head
I have an arrangement
With the asphalt
With this patch of ice
And this pack of rock salt

Wine breathes better in the bottle
Wine flows better down the street

I stepped on a crack
And broke my back
Wasn’t watching
Where I was going
I stepped on a crack
And broke my back
Had my eyes on
Where I had been

I’ll sing this song
With my cheek to the ground
With the stars falling
Into the grass
The constellations
Have some place to be
Or so it seems
At the rate they pass

Wine breathes better in the bottle
Wine flows better down the street

A debris duvet
A black-eyed come on
A patch of laurels
To rest my head on
I have an understanding
With the underbrush
With this pile of leaves
And this puddle of slush

Wine breathes better in the bottle
Wine flows better down the street

I stepped on a crack
And broke my back
Wasn’t watching
Where I was going
I stepped on a crack
And broke my back
Had my eyes on
Where I had been

On where I had been
On where I had been
On where I had been

An Ode to Love Songs (The Song)


(Download the instrumental version here)

In an effort to mine the depths of self referential art, I’ve written a spoken word song about love songs. If it was any more meta it would be a camera plugged into a TV, in an endless feedback loop.

The lyrics have been pieced together from famous songs with the word “Love” in their title. It references hits by everyone from Elvis Presley to Bon Jovi, from Soft Cell to Nine Inch Nails, from Radiohead to Kanye West.

If you haven’t heard one of my audio shorts before, this bit of word play is a great place to start. It’s a progressive piece of pop; a funky clavinet riff paired with a bendy synthesizer, and an upright bass, above a collage of found sound textures, and a tight beat. Give it a listen!

Drew Soft Cell

Continue reading An Ode to Love Songs (The Song)

Every Little Hit Counts

An account of how self-promotion feels like panhandling, and all the crazy ways bloggers beg for hits.

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Every Little Hit Counts

Standing on the offramp of the information superhighway, we’re not panhandling, we’re directing traffic. With our thumbs up, we’re not hitching rides, we’re asking for “Likes.” With our signs held high, we’re not pleading for sympathy, we’re giving you something to skim as you pass by. Pull into the overpass and follow our links. Roll your windows down and leave a comment in our caps.

Pay what you feel. If you can’t give us a dollar, give us your attention. If there’s no room in your cart for another piece of art, we’d be happy to make your wish list. If you already have one, gift a second to a friend. Feel free to embed a copy in your gallery. Feel free to put our writings on your wall for all the world to see.

Every little hit counts.

It doesn’t matter how you found our site, we’re just glad you came. Stumble out of the cold. Join our circle, around the bonfire of the blogosphere. Lurkers are always welcome. If you’re hungry, you can always dip into our RSS feed.

We all have stories to tell, and knowledge to impart. We’re all down in the same dump searching for an audience. Don’t worry about anyone talking your ear off, we can count our points on our fingers. We can make our statements in five-hundred words or less. Holding your attention with drawings in the sand, we all use the same hobo glyphs: the guy punching a hole through his screen, the woman taking a hammer to her monitor, the age old ax through the keyboard.

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There is wisdom in our ravings, observations in our obscenity, proverbs in our profanity. We don’t have much to say about Miley Cyrus’s joint puff, but we can tell you all about our own addictions. We don’t have much to say about Jennifer Lawrence’s haircut, but we can tell you all about the issues we have with our own appearance. Subscribe to our sage advice and we’ll give you something you’re not going to find in any BuzzFeed. Continue reading Every Little Hit Counts

Witching Hour Whims (Audio Short)


(Download the instrumental version here)

What do you do when your muse always gives you schlocky ideas? Write them anyway. This is an audio blog on taking that kitsch inspiration and running with it.

My Superhero Pitch

What happens when you mix The Dark Knight with Breaking Bad?

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My Superhero Pitch

This is a treatment for the type of superhero movie I’d like to see; one that challenges our romantic notions of the stoic vigilante. This isn’t the summary of an idea. It’s the primordial ooze from which an idea could crawl forth from. This is a work in progress. If you think it has legs, please tell me in the comments.

Character/Drive

William has an unhealthy obsession with Batman. Modeling his haircut after the actor Christian Bale, he quotes the character in casual conversation. He lives a solitary life in an mansion on the outskirts of town, where he prominently displays a life sized statue of his idol.

“A ghastly effigy,” so says his grandmother.

His life mirrors Bruce Wayne’s beat for beat. Like Wayne, William is the heir to a family fortune. His city is stricken with crime and corruption, a reality made all the more apparent by the fact that his parents were gunned down in front of him. Identifying with the Dark Knight, William becomes a body builder, a martial artist, and an aspiring vigilante.

The difference between William and the Caped Crusader, is that he lives in a world that doesn’t bend to suit a hero’s journey, a world indifferent to his drive for redemption, one with complex problems that don’t have simple solutions.

While Alfred advised Bruce to pose as a billionaire playboy, William’s grandmother urged him to go to nursing school. Now he works the night shift, with the good natured Dawn. The pair see their share of carnage. A rash of muggings have given them a lot to do. They treat stabbings and bullet wounds, but more often than not traumatic head injuries.

William spots a pattern, one the police refuse to acknowledge: a gang is out there handing out brass knuckle beat downs. They occur so frequently, that the cops only take statements when there’s a fatality.

Dawn admire’s William’s ability to counsel grieving families. Aside from his grandmother, she’s the only person he lets into his proverbial bat cave. She’s intrigued by his mysterious nature, until she catches him stealing tranquilizers. Fearing the pressure has gotten to him, she has no idea that he’s lining his utility belt. Continue reading My Superhero Pitch

#YouKnowYoureAWriterWhen Part 6

This is the sixth collection of my best Tweets under the hashtag #YouKnowYoureAWriterWhen. Click here to catch up on the first part. These were inspired by @KMWeiland. Her blog is an excellent resource for writers looking to become authors.

These come at the special request of Jessica West (@Wes1Jess on Twitter). Be sure to thank her if you get some amusement out of these.

Mercy Continue reading #YouKnowYoureAWriterWhen Part 6

Witching Hour Whims

What do you do when your muse always gives you schlocky ideas? Write them anyway. This is an article on taking your kitsch inspiration and running with it.

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Witching Hour Whims

Ever get one of those late night story ideas, one of those pillow premises that won’t let you get to sleep? Your subconscious goes to work before your consciousness can clock out. It’s dream drafting, telling you a story. You should’ve been asleep hours ago, but you want to know how it ends. One minute you’re staring at the alarm clock, the next minute you’re booting up your computer. In an hour, you go from trance typing a treatment to the cognizant composition of a cliff-hanger. There’s a thud against the front door. Looking through the blinds, you spot a car pulling out of the driveway. That was the newspaper.

Whatever clock inspiration is running on, it isn’t in your timezone.

The next morning, the story is a quiet whisper beneath the noise of your routine, a murmur beneath the bristles of your toothbrush. It has none of the charm and confidence it had last night. After work, you page through what you’ve got. The hook is clever, but it doesn’t say anything about you on a personal level. It’s a fresh idea but not the profound epic you aspire to write. It’s not the journal entry that’s going to trick the world into falling in love with you.

There’s an audience for your sunset scribblings, but they’re looking for mindless entertainment. They want popcorn page turners, not deep reads. It’s not enough to get your work seen, you want to make an impression. You’d rather enlighten than entertain. The problem is, if you ignore every sleep deprived spark, you won’t know what to do with real late night lightning. You have to work on crap, before you can handle something with merit.

When you get a third-rate idea, use it to churn out some bronze caliber work. When you get a harebrained scheme, find the strands of silver in it. When you get the materials for a straw house, spin it into gold. When life gives you lemons, make something with pulp in it.

Inspiration rarely gives out straight flushes. Play the hand you were dealt. See your story through. It might set you up for the cards you need to go all in with later.

J.R.R. Tolkien had to write The Hobbit before he could tackle The Lord of the Rings. George Lucas had to put in his time with THX 1138 before he whisked us all to a galaxy far far away. George R.R. Martin wrote five novels, dozens of episodes of The Twilight Zone, and Beauty and the Beast before he tackled the Song of Fire and Ice (Game of Thrones) series.

So your story is too simple to be a Pulitzer Prize winner, maybe it’s a cult classic. There are B-Movies in the Criterion Collection. There are character actors on the Hollywood walk of fame. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is full of guitarists who only played power chords.

Let’s face it; bad taste, tastes great. If War and Peace is on one side of the shelf, and Salem’s Lot is on the other, I can tell you which way I’m leaning.

Your story might be a cheesy cornball dripping with sap, but it’s value depends on how you serve it. If you serve it as a gourmet entree, your diners will be disappointed. If you serve it as a fattening state fair guilty pleasure, you’ll have some satisfied customers.

You have to put out a large quantity of schlock before you can put out anything of quality. You have to refine your imagination before you can cash in on your big idea. You have to question your ability to write a blog entry before you can be certain you know how to write a novel. You have to give your work away before you can option off the movie rights. You have to write paperbacks before you can earn a coveted dust jacket.

Take those witching hour whims and roll with them. Play the odds. You’re far more likely to find a story that works when you see each of those twilight triggers to completion. So what if the idea is a little far fetched. So what if it’s a convoluted high concept mess that takes an hour to pitch. Does it hold your attention? Then it has that going for it.

One person’s piece of crap, is another’s golden turd. Just because it’s trashy, doesn’t mean it’s a throwaway idea. This need not be your magnum opus, but rather your dime store offering. Your story need not shift our world view, just flash some pretty lights in front of it.

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