Administrative note: I’ve decided to stop calling every one of my posts “Wednesday Writerly Words”, as it makes it hard to go back and actually figure out which post is which. I may even go back and retitle the old ones if I get really bored.
Even when a writer isn’t writing, they’re still being a writer. That, in my mind, is one of the main signs of being a writer, having that spot in the back of your brain that never entirely turns off, even (or especially) when you’re on vacation. Thus it was that I spent the entire cruise churning over in the back of my mind just what kind of plot I would set on a cruise ship (after spending a chunk of my time in New Orleans wandering around their elevated cemeteries wondering if Arkham maybe had similar water table issues with burials). Being me, I kept coming back to the idea of a horror story set on a ship, which seemed to have two fairly obvious directions to go: sea monster or transposing a standard haunted-hotel plot onto a seagoing vessel. Neither is entirely original, but either could probably be done well by the right person.
I spent a lot of time collecting characters, and by the end of the cruise I figured out one thing: I need to start being bolder about being a writer. It’s by no coincidence that I watched a bit of Castle on the cruise (there was an entire channel on the ship devoted to showing one episode of the show per day on continuous loop) which is a show entirely based around what I need to start doing as a writer: talking to people and learning about their jobs. There were one or two staff members who I ran into that I’m rather upset that I didn’t take the time to talk to off the record and get their real feelings about their jobs, the nature of cruising, and the other people aboard the ship.
So I’m going to be throwing around the idea of a cruise ship horror story, trying to determine if it’s a short story, novel, or (most likely) screenplay idea. Maybe it’ll happen, maybe it won’t, but it’s all about never entirely turning the writing brain off, and always being on the lookout for story ideas and concepts.
DL Thurston is the author of Rust, available in print, for the Kindle (US/UK), from iBooks, and in all other eBook reader standards. You can read his various exploits at his blog, follow him on Twitter, or watch him try to make sense of the War of 1812. He apparently also pines to be a non-fiction travel writer and is a step closer to selling one of his short stories.