MZPtv/Fiction Vortex – Serial Box Prose Competition

Do you write prose? Do you want the chance to create a brand new series which will be self-published and sold as part of a wider, connected universe? Welcome then, MZPites, to an exciting new opportunity!

You see Lee Chrimes and I have joined forces with a really cool new project called FICTION VORTEX, who you can find here:

They recently ran a Kickstarter project to fund a new initiative called the ‘serial box’; imagine our own scripted series wrapped up in box sets and simply replace scripts for prose, and you’re on the right track. Weekly episodic stories, four shows as part of a bigger universe, a la Marvel or the Jossverse. With the help too of some MZP folk, they raised over $5000 to make the serial boxes a reality. And the best part?

One of them is an MZPtv Serial Box that launches in January… a box YOU now have the opportunity to be part of! Here’s FV head honcho David Mark Brown to explain a little more of what they are:

Lee and I are looking for someone excited at the prospect of writing a continuing prose serial. We have two shows already being written as part of a connected universe and yours, whatever it may be, would be the third. We’re looking for someone dedicated, someone who can write fast & write with passion, someone who will be willing to work tirelessly in creating a brand new fictional universe from the ground up. What do you get for all the work?

Put simply, you get to sell your work and call yourself a (self) published writer. Fiction Vortex will host the serial box on their site and you will make a small profit percentage from every serial you sell.

This is just the beginning too. Lee and I see this model as a major way forward for MZP and we ultimately hope to launch similar next year ourselves – you, along with the admin team, could help shape that future.

So! Here are the rules. The competition will be a three stage process:

1) THE PITCH – you present your show idea, with the emphasis on clearly presenting your concept, characters and where the show may go on a weekly serialised basis. How you present the pitch is up to you, however with this there are a couple of minimum requirements, so please ensure you include the following:

LOGLINE: a one sentence description of your show, i.e. two FBI agents investigate paranormal phenomenon.
PARAGRAPHS: minimum of two describing the idea.
CHARACTER BIOS: ideally a small paragraph giving us an insight into who your characters are.

If you are selected beyond this stage, we will ask for…

2) THE TREATMENT – a detailed treatment of your intended pilot episode for the show, with the emphasis on crafting an exciting story, intriguing character arcs and a thematically rich idea.

If you are selected beyond this stage, we will ask for…

3) THE PROSE – the first 2500 words of your pilot episode, with the emphasis on clear, well-written prose which propels your story while crafting rounded, interesting characters.

We will then select the best piece of prose in that word limit, combined with the strongest show concept and collection of characters, to be offered the third show development spot in the serial box. Lee, myself and Fiction Vortex head honchos David Mark Brown & Mike Cluff will be on the judging panel, with Lee ultimately having the final decision on which show is selected as chief of MZP.

Please do bear in mind that being selected for the commission means a firm commitment with regular deadlines. If you feel in any way that adhering to these will be a problem, I would politely discourage you pitching at this stage.

Okay, if that’s whetted your appetite, let’s present the parameters for the show you’ll be creating. The name of our upcoming serial box is…

The year is 2045. The future is here. Technology takes greater strides every day. Corporations grow larger. The world stands on the cusp of a new age. Yet danger lurks. Shadowy organisations, underworld creatures and ancient mysteries are awakening. Tomorrow is rising, but what will it look like?

In terms of a visual & aesthetic touchstone, ‘Futurepunk’ riffs off the more well-known ‘Cyberpunk’, which by definition is all dystopian near future settings, where everybody’s kinda screwed. The vibe we wanted with ‘futurepunk’ is more like ‘post-cyberpunk’, which is a more recent literary movement inspired by the big cyberpunk writers of the 80s/90s (so William Gibson, Neal Stephenson, Bruce Stirling etc.), which focuses more on optimism, integrated use of tech into everyday life and generally is a degree more upbeat and hopeful. Examples: Tomorrowland, Fringe, Almost Human, Minority Report etc…

That’s all you’re getting. Let your imaginations run wild. Be as creative as you can. Let’s see something fresh and original.

— Send your pitches via personal message to Tony Black no later than SUNDAY OCTOBER 25th, 11.59BST. No submissions will be accepted after that time.
DO NOT post pitches directly on the forums. They will not be considered. Click on Tony’s profile to send him a personal message.

Feel free to ask any questions in this thread for clarification, or to learn more.

Otherwise, good luck and may the best writer win!

MZPtv interviews Tony Black on FRONTIER (plus exclusive preview!)

Q) Many will be familiar with FRONTIER from the previous version in script format, but for those out of the loop, what is FRONTIER and who is it about?

A) An excellent starting question, if I may say so! FRONTIER is at its heart, a character drama wrapped around a mystery adventure. It all started from the acorn of my fascination with missing people, with those who just vanish either from their homes or on plane journeys etc… that have carved all these legends such as the Bermuda Triangle and such. What happens to these people? Did they just die in freak accidents we haven’t understood? Or are they still out there? And if so, what happened to them? Where did they go? You see so many stories based on the fallout from people who disappear, I wanted a story about what happened *to* those people who vanished, as well as on the flipside exploring that fallout.

The story ostensibly though is about the crew of the Icarus, a pioneering Mars lander in our near future, who vanish before taking a bold new step for mankind – and they are our way into a quite broad mystery and mythology that builds up around… well, wherever they end up! All are recognisably very human people, geniuses in their field but flawed & carrying around their own demons & secrets. There are a myriad other characters who will gain focus but the core of the FRONTIER saga is very much Kendrick, Emie, Lucas & Renee, and from the outset it’s certainly their story. Read more