This story originally took place in Cancun, Mexico. I have vacationed there and all along the Mexican Riviera, so am familiar with the locale.
I am more comfortable writing about places I’ve been to and experienced. Also, this story was originally written as a screenplay. So it’s been a long strange trip to the book it became.
I wrote screenplays for about ten years. It is a totally different discipline. Screenplays are mostly dialogue, with a little description and stage directions.
The description can only be what the characters can see and hear. No other senses can be described, because only what you can hear or see is what can be put on the screen. And definitely no inner thoughts. Screenwriters think of voice-over narration as kindly as publishers think of prologues. Don’t do it.
Whenever I completed a screenplay I entered it into one or more contests. I won or placed highly in a dozen or so.
Most of the prizes awarded for these contests were minor – screenwriting books, screenwriting software, screenwriting online courses, notification in various movie publications or at online sites – and there was only minor monetary compensation, although one screenplay that won the contest I entered it in earned a $2,000 prize.
This screenplay and several others that placed highly in contests were optioned. The few screenplays that were optioned only garnered nominal amounts – the highest was $500 – and none were ever re-optioned.
Except one. My screenplay ‘Lady Ashley and Hamal_23’ was produced in Hollywood by an independent producer. He renamed it ‘Hamal_18’. It was released direct to DVD. Here is the original DVD box. If you look in the rectangular box near the bottom left corner you’ll see my name credited as writing the screenplay.
Last time I checked it was available on Amazon Prime. How it came to be produced is a story into itself. Anyone wanting to read about my experiences in Hollywood can find a post about it on my author site: Hamal_18 – From the North Rim (mikesherer.org) But this article is about ‘Mazes of the Mind.
As I said, the location of ‘Mazes of the Mind’ was moved from Cancun to Prague.
An independent producer optioned ‘Mazes of the Mind’ in its screenplay form. He thought Cancun was too crass of a locale. He convinced me Prague was much more exotic. But I have never been to that city. So I did a lot of research. Naturally, that led me to Kafka, a native of Prague.
His ‘Metamorphosis’ meshed perfectly with the story ‘Mazes of the Mind’ was telling.
In researching Prague I learned about Sedlac, another fascinating location outside of Prague, which I worked into the story.
This turned to be a much richer location than Cancun. But nothing came of my efforts. The option expired, and the producer wasn’t interested in picking it up.
Once I gave up on screenwriting and turned to writing other forms of prose, I began converting some of my old screenplays into books.
The six novellas I have had published – ‘No Way At All’ & ‘Midnight Feedings’(Bards and Sages), ‘Dummy’s Dummies’ (Terror House Magazine), ‘Under A Raging Moon’ (World Castle Publishing), ‘Clans’ (Readict), and ‘Mazes of the Mind’ (Paper Angel Press) – all were originally written as screenplays.
There are several others I am still trying to get published, and still yet other screenplays I may yet rewrite as prose. I have also had 3 novels published – ‘A Cold Dish’ (James Ward Kirk Fiction), ‘Shadytown’ (INtense Publications), and ‘Souls of Nod’ (Breaking Rules Publishing).
I’ve had 30 short stories published. Nothing was been self-published, I have always managed to work with small indie publishers. Information on any of these can be found on my author site: From the North Rim (mikesherer.org)
Little of the original screenplay remains in the novella. Writing prose is such a different endeavor than screenplays since you have so much more freedom in how you can write. The MC Saxon expresses his inner thoughts in ways he never could in a screenplay, and the descriptions of Prague and Sedlac are so much richer. Also, I studied Kafka’s ‘Metamorphosis’, and worked elements of this classic work into the story. None of that was ever in the screenplay.
I love doing research for my writing. And not just on the Internet, although that is an incredible source.
I’ve watched numerous Great Courses videos, mostly science courses since the last two novels I’ve written – ‘Flatlanders’, which is under contract to WolfSinger Publications, and ‘World Tour’, which I am just putting the finishing touches on – have been science fiction. These video courses are a rich source of information I highly recommend to anyone seeking knowledge on practically any topic.
I hope people enjoy reading ‘Mazes of the Mind’ as much as I enjoyed writing it. It’s a convoluted tale. I was wary of it being too labyrinthine, but the response I’ve gotten in the first week of its release (as of June 1 – it was released May 24th) – six 5-star reviews on Amazon – tell me my concern was unfounded.