Author Archives: esr960

A Novel in the Making

Published short-story writer and friend of The Artifact, Michelle Sussman, has just started up a blog called Michelle Sussman’s Novel Idea.  It will track her progress as she writes her first novel and give us an inside look at the process a writer goes through to create something out of essentially nothing.  Join Michelle as she takes you on a fantastic journey on her blog and in her debut novel … one chapter (and one post) at a time.

Eugene Ramos

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“The Concoction” and the Origins of “The Artifact”

I came up with the idea for The Artifact after watching the “South Park” episode which paid homage to the cult-classic, adult-animation film Heavy Metal. In the movie, a glowing green orb travels through seven stories bringing evil wherever it goes. I thought it was the perfect format for the first novel by nine writers who have such different writing styles. Instead of the mysterious green orb, we would have a mysterious alien artifact.

In addition to the Heavy Metal-anthology format, I wanted the stories to have a “Twilight Zone”/”Outer Limits” feel with ordinary people being pushed into extraordinary circumstances. This idea has been a cornerstone of the stories I’ve written and the films I’ve made. My short film, The Concoction, is a perfect example. With its hapless hero discovering a mysterious drink that makes him appear attractive, The Concoction could have easily been a story included in The Artifact.

The Concoction, part 1:

The Concoction, part 2:

Eugene Ramos

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A (Pain)Killer of a Prize

Last April I was lucky enough to be one of the finalists in FanLib’s “Painkiller Jane” writing contest.  The grand prize was a professionally drawn illustration of a scene from the winner’s entry.  Here is Jorge Correa Jr.‘s take on my opening scene:

Here’s the scene as it appeared in my script:

INT. ABANDONED HOSPITAL – NIGHT

JANE VASCO lies on an examination table. Her arms, legs, waist and forehead are secured by leather straps. She struggles to move.

Wearing the scrubs of a surgeon, DEREK SUMNER circles around Jane. His face is covered with piercings (ears, nose, eyebrows, lips), a black tribal tatoo, scarification and other body modifications.

DEREK
I assure you, Jane, you will be unable to escape.

JANE
My team will be looking for me, and when they find you —

DEREK
They’ll what? Kill me? Come now. Idle threats don’t scare me.

He runs his finger down her cheek, then SCRATCHES HER WITH HIS FINGERNAIL.

Jane winces in pain as a drop of blood trickles down her cheek. Soon after, the scratch disappears. It has completely healed.

DEREK
You see, you and I have something special in common.

He picks up a scalpel lying in a tray. He brings it to his wrist and cuts across. His face remains stoic.

Jane’s eyes go wide as blood flows out of Derek’s wrist before the wound quickly heals.

DEREK
Except that, unlike you, I don’t feel pain. Congenital analgia, they call it. And unfortunately my attempts to find a cure have been unsuccessful.

As Derek turns his back on her to scrub his hands in the sink, Jane takes a moment to take in her surroundings.  AROUND HER ARE SEVERAL GURNEYS WITH BODIES COVERED IN SHEETS.

JANE
I take it the DOAs are your victims.

DEREK
I prefer the term “test subjects.”

Derek puts on a pair of latex gloves, a surgical mask and a visor.

DEREK
They’ve given me a better understanding of the nature of pain.

He turns around, and Jane sees in his hands a large CIRCULAR SAW.

DEREK
Did you know that your stomach has more nerve endings than your brain?

With the flick of a switch, THE SAW WHIRS TO LIFE.

Jane tries to scurry back, but she can barely move.

DEREK
On a scale of one to ten, tell me how much this hurts.

CUT TO BLACK.

INT. OPERATION HQ

ANDRE MCBRIDE and CONNOR KING wheel a semi-conscious Jane on a gurney through the main hallway of the Neuro-Hunters HQ.

ANDRE (yells)
Doctor!

INT. SICKBAY – CONTINUOUS

DR. SETH CARPENTER rushes toward the gurney. His eyes go wide in horror when he sees Jane.  THE BOTTOM HALF OF HER BODY IS MISSING, AND BLOOD SOAKS THE GURNEY CRIMSON RED.

SETH
Dear God, what happened?

Cool, huh?  Jorge is incredibly economical with his storytelling, and he punctuated the page with a great shot of Jane lying near death, her blood literally spilling off the page.  What a treat to have my words visualized by such a talented artist.  This is definitely being framed and hung on the wall next to my two diplomas.

Eugene Ramos
esr960

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Speed Racer and the Curse of the Lost Alien Artifact

What does Speed Racer have to do with an Artifact found on a distant planet in the future? Well, nothing … on the surface.

While taking a much-needed break from writing his chapter for the Artifact Project, esr960 decided to write a submission for FanLib’s Speed Racer contest. However, the Artifact wasn’t ready to take a break from him. esr960 became consumed with the question, “What would happen if Speed Racer crossed paths with the Artifact?” His cousin’s eyes lit up; she had the answer: “He goes Back to the Future!”

Thus was born the unofficial Speed Racer/Artifact Project crossover event!

Here’s the setup:

When Speed discovers a mysterious Artifact, he finds himself transported to a dystopian future ruled by the evil Royalton Industries. Can Speed change the future in time to save the past?

Find out in Flash Forward!

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