When your work with the oddest writing process ends up being your favorite… there’s obviously a recipe for success that needs to be saved.
Because really, Blank Mastermind was the most ridiculous and crazy project I have ever done.
I brought the idea along on a short story ideas list in the car and wrote it to pass the time. And I was taking it as a total joke pretty much up to a third of the way through, since I thought it would taper off and crash.
I have a recipe for you all. So you can go off and hopefully make your own serial stories to take over your life.
Because I really think I hit one time luck with this thing.
Time: 6-7 months
Yield: 230 pages, roughly
- Gather together a kind of classy, Mission Impossible-ish setting, a nameless, sarcastic main character, a fair amount of blood, an interesting premise and a heaping scoop of mysterious foreshadowing. But not too much of any of this. We’re only making a silly short story here, not a novel.
- If it turns out people expect a bit more, we’ll add a little more and that’ll probably fill people up. While we’re at it, we can reuse a character from an unsuccessful project a while back. Waste not, want not.
- Add another good scoop of foreshadowing, more sarcastic narration, a Doctor Who reference and a couple of cars. We need another character at this point, so take a couple of characters you think would be hilarious combined into one and write that as a character because why the heck not.
- No one’s taking you seriously, so poke a few ridiculous names into the mix.
- Provide a very small amount of answers for the questions you’ve already raised. If you know where you’re going at this point, you’re doing it totally wrong.
- Go through your old notebooks and take out random, old ideas that you think could be used for this and with this information, make a gang. Again, you’ll be done soon, so don’t take any of this too seriously.
- Things are slightly looking like they might go somewhere, so throw in a plot point, just to be safe. Also some ice cream, a weird hideout and a creepy falcon so we don’t stray too far from our original humorous intent.
- Actually get serious for a second and advance the plot, paying off a bit of foreshadowing and add some more for the future. Also throw in a superhero, reusing more elements from old projects.
- Realize this is actually turning into something big.
- Pause for existential crisis, brainstorming with genius siblings until you’ve regained a bit of confidence.
- Make notes and plow ahead with a bit more of an idea what you’re doing. But make sure you only plan ahead for the next two parts or so. You don’t want to have too much plotted ahead and for some reason you might be still of the illogical mindset that this will trail off into another crashed story idea.
- Cook up what you hope is a pretty cool conspiracy going on behind the scenes. Start dashing a few hints of that into the storyline.
- The foreshadowing has been left alone for long enough at this point that you need to do something with it. We can easily deal with this by paying off most of it, then replacing it with new mysterious questions. Throw in another bomb, hints to the conspiracy and equal amounts questions and answers.
- You might be getting a little overwhelmed at this point. It’s understandable, seeing as you only set out to write a humorous short story. Don’t panic. Just stick to the sarcastic narrative, make a few snarky comments . . . everything will turn out just fine.
- Find a really weird ingredient that you didn’t know existed called “self-betrayal”. Throw some of that in and make it look like we could have an easy ending right here.
- But where’s the fun in that? It’s pretty obvious we’re making something big at this point. Sit down and hesitantly collect the rest of the ingredients for the rest of the story. We can do this.
- Stir the story up until all that foreshadowing floats to the top. Now is the time to pull all that out and pay it off. This will be a bit scary, but again, when in doubt, stay sarcastic and make awkward jokes.
- You’ll need two buckets here. Fill one with backstory. Fill the other with feelz. Pour them in slowly at first, but after you’ve taken the top off, dump it all at once.
- You’ve chopped onions before, right? Similar reactions will inevitably ensue. Might want to grab a bit of Kleenex here.
- The combination of the last two ingredients will sour your main character, so the story will get a little darker. Go with it and sprinkle in a good amount of bitterness and morbid humor.
- Have yet another moment of having no idea what you’re doing. Bring in another story chef and your dad. Poke at your story, examine ingredients and consult with them until the storyline straightens itself out.
- Make a last-minute analogy, soak it in the bucket of feelz, then slap your main character with it. Hopefully this will undo most of the souring that occurred earlier in the process. If it works on the gang too, great.
- Cook up a climax with healthy doses of redemption, superheroes and explosions. Do a bad job at pretending you killed your main character. Throw in some fluff and more redemption.
- Employ a moose to take care of a certain character. Sprinkle generously with religious elegance.
- Put away all the sad ingredients and lock the cupboard. Fill a bucket with happiness and dump it over the top, which should turn to fluff. Make it so we can still see a little bit of the rest of the story through it, though.
- And we’re done! Your kitchen will be a mess from your unexpected party, but it was worth it, right? Might want to get a mop for the tears . . .
- (optional) Start planning for a sequel because, admit it, these characters are never going to leave you alone.
Well, hope you all have fun cooking that up.
What would recipes for your stories look like?
Until next time,