Steven Savile had no idea what he ignited. There were a baker’s dozen of us chomping at the bit to write something, anything, and when he suggested we create our own project, we went crazy. He gave us his Latchkeys idea and we glommed on to it, forming a cooperative that has gone on to sub-divide and create a few more projects, but the heart and soul remains Latchkeys. Once we agreed on the premise, we build a bible, populating it with characters and once we decided which ones we liked, we began pitching ideas.
I imagine this is very much like a writers’ room in television, just a virtual version with members contributing ideas from across America and Europe. We all tossed in ideas and kicked them around, seeing which ones excited the others and which ones might make the cut. Just about three years ago, we had roughed out the idea of a thirteen episode season that brought us to particular point, to be followed by a second season that went somewhere else, and so on. Thirteen writers, thirteen episodes…this just might work.
We began voting for the premises we most liked while Steve began assembling the batting order considering some of us have more writing experience than others and we wanted to support one another while still offering some commercial power at the beginning and end. Clearly, Steve would go first and if you read Unlatched, then you know he did a great job setting the tone and introducing readers to the world.
The second installment needed to go further, focusing on some of the other members of the cast, deepening the readers’ understanding of the premise and sowing the seeds for future character arcs and mysteries. We settled on a story taking us from the house to a fantasy land, but one just a little skewed from the typical locales.
As we voted on the premise, Steve tapped me to bat second, making us the table setters before the heavy-hitters came to bat. He knew I could write in other peoples’ worlds and could do so while adding a little something of my own. Once we voted on the premise and I was pencilled in, things seemed fine.
I finally was given the green light to write my tale over the summer which was delivered to the others in August. I got some great feedback making the story stronger and then Steve gave it an editorial polish to make certain it closely matched the lead off tale.
In just a few weeks, you will see for yourself what I managed in The Ugly Little Bloke, available March 6. For now, just feast on Vance Kelly’s really fun cover.