IT IS MY PLEASURE TO BRING YOU TONIGHT'S CONFESSION: STEVE DEWINTER
I would like to thank Linna for inviting me to her blog. But then again, it is to confess my worst writing sins, so I am now not so sure this is a good thing.
I’m gonna have to say that, unlike most of the other writers who have confessed on this blog, my worst writing is not hiding out in a childhood drawer or lost in some computer crash. It is instead available on DVD at Amazon for the world to see today.
Yep, there it is in all its horrible glory.
I wrote The Master Thief as a screenplay, gathered together local actors and produced, directed, edited and self-published my 90-minute action / adventure masterpiece to Amazon on DVD and *gasp* VHS, if that gives you any indication of how long ago that was.
Don’t get me wrong. I enjoyed making the movie and, to its credit, people have been known to actually watch the whole thing through to the end. I have seen worse movies that received wider distribution and, compared to those, the writing in my movie is inspired.
I wrote it before I knew anything about the craft of writing. I got some things right and, unfortunately, a lot of things wrong.
But enough about the past.
Onward and upward, as they say.
I would have to say that my best writing is always what I am working on now as it benefits from all the practice of any writing done before. My latest is a dystopian science fiction re-imagining of The Wizard of OZ due out in 2012. While not yet available for others to see, if you are not too critical of pre-release and unedited raw footage, I have included some teaser chapters below the book cover picture for your enjoyment.
So, now you know my deep dark writing secret. Well, the room should be dark when you watch the DVD that showcases the worst writing of my career anyway. Don’t forget to pop some popcorn.
It was pitch black.
So this is what it's like to be dead, thought Dorothy.
She moved slightly and felt the muscles in her face twitch as she grimaced from the pain.
No, she couldn't be dead. You weren't supposed to feel anything once you were dead.
Right now, every muscle ached.
She could hear faint voices all around her.
"Do you think she will be better than the last marshal?"
"Anybody would be better than her."
"What about her sister. What do you think she will do when she finds out?"
Dorothy's eyes fluttered open and it was no longer pitch black.
A wrinkled face moved into her field of view.
More tiny wrinkled faces moved into view all around her.
One of the faces smiled, showing only three teeth in the bottom row and no teeth in the top row. "How are you feeling?"
She tried to speak, but her throat refused to respond and she coughed instead.
Smiley looked over his shoulder. "Bring her some water."
A stubby hand reached for her, took the back of her head, and lifted her up to meet the dented tin cup that appeared before her.
"Drink. It will make you feel better."
Dorothy hadn't realized how thirsty she was as she gulped at the rusty tasting water. Her throat soothed, she could finally sit up and look around her.
She was sitting in a tiny bed, her legs dropping over the bottom edge with plenty of room for her feet to touch the floor.
The men gathered around her were no more than three or four feet tall. Their dingy clothing all the same color of grey. They all smiled at her as she looked at them gathered around her bed in the room.
"Where am I?"
Smiley stepped forward and bowed. "You are a most honored guest in my home. My name is Munch." He opened his arms wide, indicating all the other short men around him. "And these are my brothers."
"How did I get here?"
"Your ship crashed into the center of town. We brought you here and cared for your wounds."
She looked down at the bandage around her arm. "How long..."
Munch smiled again, the lack of teeth even more evident. "You are welcome to stay as long as you like."
Dorothy swung her feet over to the side and grimaced with the pain. "Oh, hell no. I will not be your Snow White."
Munch frowned. "Who?"
She shook her head. "Never mind. I meant, how long have I been asleep?"
"Most of the night and half the morning."
"They'll be looking for me by now. I have to go."
"Of course. You must begin your duties as Marshal."
"Your Marshal duties."
"No, I have to get home."
"You are home."
Dorothy looked around her. "I'm back in Kansas?"
"No, you are in OZ."
Dorothy cleared the cobwebs from her brain with a shake of her head.
"That's right. I crashed in the Outcast Zone."
Munch grimaced. "We like to call it OZ. Sounds less depressing."
She pulled back the covers and stood up. The room tilted wildly and she sat back down hard on the bed.
"Don't try to get up Marshal. You are still weak from your arrival."
She held her head until the room slowed down enough for her to focus on the one called Munch. At least she thought that one was Munch. Every one of these little men looked identical to each other.
"Why do you keep calling me Marshal? My name is..."
"You are the Marshal of the East Region because you killed the previous Marshal."
She couldn't believe her ears. She didn't kill anyone. She couldn't even make herself pull the trigger on Amanda when her life had depended on it.
"What are you talking about? I didn't kill anyone."
"Your airship landed on her while she was giving a speech in the town square."
Dorothy lowered her head, shut her eyes tight, and tried to control the thoughts spinning in her head. "I didn't mean to kill anyone. I am so sorry."
Munch, or at least she thought it was Munch as he was the only one who did any talking, came forward and put a stubby hand on her knee.
"Don't be. She was as wicked as they come. A real witch with a capital b."
"I don't understand."
"It is our custom that whoever kills the Marshal takes their place."
"So am I the new target for the next yahoo who wants to become Marshal?"
Munch smiled, his three teeth glistening in the light steaming in from the window. "Oh no, you are perfectly safe. Nobody wants to be a Marshal in OZ."
Dorothy stood up and caught her reflection in the mirror. Her mouth gaped open as she looked down at the brown leather corset, leather pants and combat boots.
"What happened to my clothes?"
"Your clothes were torn and bloody from the crash. Not to mention the fire. It was indecent for you to walk around as you were. And besides. You're the new Marshal. You had to look like one. It was your good fortune that I was the official tailor for the previous Marshal."
"Who dressed me?"
The men all looked at the ground. A couple of them blushed.
Munch refused to look her in the eye. "We have no women in the house. We took no liberties, I assure you."
Dorothy shook her head. "I have to get out of here."
Munch brightened up with the change of subject. "I will show you to your palace."
"I don't mean out of here. I mean out of the Outcast... out of OZ."
"As long as you wear that shield," Munch pointed to the Marshal shield attached to her leather corset. "You are the law here and we will do as you command."
"Then get me out of the... out of OZ."
"There is no way out of OZ. Unless you can fly."
That's it, Dorothy thought.
She looked at Munch. "Take me to my airship."
Dorothy stared at the twisted metal, some of it still burning.
The gondola had broken apart into several pieces and was scattered throughout the center of the tiny town.
A leather boot attached to a bloody leg protruded from under the largest of the gondola fragments.
Munch pointed to the bloody boot and smiled. "Your handiwork."
Dorothy clenched her jaw. How dumb were these little guys?
"I told you, I did not want to kill anyone."
Munch nodded. "That is good news indeed. The previous Marshal had no problem killing any of us when the mood struck her."
"I am not your Marshal. I don't plan on sticking around any longer than I have to."
"We already told you, there is no way out of OZ."
"There has to be."
"There isn't, except..."
Munch walked away from her. "Never mind. Forget I said anything."
She caught back up with him. "Except what?"
He stopped. "No. It will not work."
"What won't work?"
He turned to her and looked her in the eyes. "You know why OZ was built, don't you?"
"It is a centralized global prison."
"It is now, but it didn’t used to be. Originally, it was built for one man and one man alone. We are only here because it was cheaper and more agreeable to the human rights activists than killing us outright."
"Kill you? What did you do?"
"That's the thing. I didn't do anything."
"Then why are you in the... in OZ?"
"Me and my brothers are clones."
She looked around at the identical men gathered around her. "Cloning is illegal."
"And so, by proxy, we are illegal. Well, they are anyway. I am the original. They are all clones of me, so technically, I am okay. But it didn't do any good to have me running around telling everyone about the cloning experiments so I was sent here with them."
"How come I never heard about this?"
"This is OZ. It is a one-way trip. Anyone sent here is forgotten."
"What about contacting the news media or getting an appeal?"
"There is no contact with the outside. Once you are here..."
"But you said there was someone. Someone who could help."
"It was a stupid idea."
"Tell me anyway."
"There is someone who seems to be able to contact the outside. If you could get to him, he might be able to get a message to someone that you are here."
"Who? Tell me."
Munch lowered his head. "It’s who OZ was built to contain.” He lifted his head again and looked at her. “Only The Wizard can help you."