A few weeks ago I sent On the Premises a short piece of fiction. The prompt for “Mini-Contest #43” was as follows: “Use between 30 and 75 words to give readers a bunch of information they don’t want, don’t need, and that interrupts the flow of the story in the worst way possible.” They titled it “Bad Worldbuilding,” and that seemed like a bunch of fun. Though I didn’t win—if I had, I guess this post would be a bit different—but I figured I should share what I worked on. It isn’t going to go anywhere else, anyway.
So my entry:
Now you’d never believe what these mice feared most: cats! Or what they loved above all else: cheese! They scurried and squeaked, they made nests in walls, and they had mid-afternoon tea with tiny scones. But it wasn’t their culture that made them unique. Unlike other speaking mice, which were generally aseptic, our characters carried the deadly Hantavirus. And for reasons most peculiar, they’d decided to spread it as far and as wide as possible!
I can’t say it was inspired by much, except for perhaps cartoon movies with talking mice and helpful creatures like in The Borrowers. I always thought it might be funny if in these stories, what started off as innocent characters, like Benard and Bianca from The Rescuers, or any of the mice/rats from NIMH, turned out to have a much darker side. And one in this case which was completely unexplained.
I was working on a second entry too, which didn’t quite go anywhere. On the Premises had some good winners, by the way (which you can check out by clicking here). The following work admittedly needs some polish, but since I thought the mice direction was stronger, I stopped working on it pretty early. Would, perhaps, an Amusement Park World book be worth writing some day? Where an entire planet is a goofy amusement park? Perhaps, perhaps…. But in any case, enjoy (enjoy?):
But that’s just how things went on Amusement Park World—long lines for everything (a trip to the DMV could last years), phenomenally expensive food, and perpetually wet sidewalks, from washing away vomit. Fast passes were the universal currency, the rich got around on mine train and flume rides, while the poor walked or took skyway gondolas. And you’d perhaps never believe it, but line cutting was a capital crime! Which leads to….
And that’s ALL I’ve been up to in the last month (ha!). Wishing everyone a good Thanksgiving, and will write more soon.
–Jeff and Leah