Today I’m happy to welcome a special guest and a fellow humourist – Scott Bartlett (yup, that’s his smiling mug on the left). A while back Scott reached out to see if I’d like to participate in his blog tour and help promote his newly released novel called Royal Flush. I agreed, because I’m always happy to help fellow humour writers and because I’m secretly hoping for 47,23% of the book’s future revenues.
So now, without further ado, I give the word to Scott:
Hey, Nest Expressed readers! I’m Scott, and I come to you today with a guest post as part of the blog tour for my humour novel, Royal Flush.
I want to write about the sort of thing that inspires fiction writers—about what, exactly provides the grist for stories. I’m going to do that in reference to my book, and to do that, I’ll first have to tell you about said book. Which, incidentally, is a very blog-tourish thing to do.
So that worked out well.
Royal Flush asks the question: can a man who throws his dates in a dungeon succeed romantically?
It’s about a man known only as the King, who rules a land known only as the Kingdom—a land unrestricted by geography or history. The book is divided into four parts, and in each one the King fails spectacularly with yet another woman. (Whether he fails in the final part is something I can’t divulge here, of course.)
It may not surprise you that the chief inspiration for this story was a high school career completely devoid of romance. Not for lack of trying, though—I asked out numerous attractive girls, and was rejected by them unanimously.
I wasn’t bitter—in fact, the sheer consistence of it began to amuse me. My self-esteem was intact, too, being a helpless egomaniac. But I started to think about the sorts of person likely to encounter utter romantic failure. I decided it might be funny to write a story about a man whose lack of luck with the ladies stems from being incredibly depraved and moronic.
At this point I feel I should note that I did not base the King on myself.
Do you believe me?
Anyway. The point I’m trying to make is that no matter how fantastic a story is (I’m talking about a story’s relationship with reality, not its quality), the inspiration usually comes from normal, everyday things. And with its tendency to flout the laws of physics and logic, its zombie advisor, and its passing mention of dragons, Royal Flush is fairly fantastic.
The Kingdom Crier provides another example. Run by Editor Duke Edward, the Kingdom Crier is the seemingly all-knowing news outlet that busies itself with publicizing every embarrassing detail of the King’s personal life. It’s more of a tabloid, really, and in the past the King has attempted to shut it down by ordering its entire staff beheaded. But such is the tabloid’s popularity that legions of peasants gathered to picket the castle’s drawbridge until the King rescinded the order.
Inspiration for the Kingdom Crier came from my distaste for tabloids, which I developed during my three-year stint working at a grocery store.
I took Introductory Linguistics in university, and in every example sentence the teacher used to illustrate English word order or whatever else, the same two people seemed to get recycled endlessly: John and Mary. “John and Mary took a picnic basket with them to Signal Hill.” Et cetera.
Thus was the Traveling Linguists’ Guild born—a group of nomads who travel from place to place, working on their unified theory of language. They drag two prisoners around with them named John and Mary, who they use in presentations.
The Traveling Linguists’ Guild comes to the Kingdom to ask the King a small favour. Their unified theory is nearly complete—it applies to every language they’ve encountered, except for that of a single troublesome tribe, who they ask the King to exterminate. The King agrees.
Did I mention that the King isn’t based on me?
Scott Bartlett has been writing fiction since he was fifteen. His recently released novel, Royal Flush, is a recipient of the H. R. (Bill) Percy Prize. Click here to buy the ebook ($3.99) or to order the print book ($12.99).