Interview No. 50
Interview By: @The-Great-One
For those who have been here reading The Interviewer then you will know for every tenth interview I try to shed light on those who are a bit unknown or not being recognized for their works. For my tenth interview I spoke with James Lee and Hania before they're masterpiece Tarboy came into light. For the 20th interview I chose Jack Bromhead known on Newgrounds as Neo-uk in which his Pelican series is getting small recognition and has received awards for his latest work Love4Dead. The interview with HeRetiK would be my 30th interview and long overdue whose latest work includes 60 Second Life and infect. evolve. repeat. 2. For my 40th interview I strayed away from the usual artist and decided to show a group of people whose goals were to make Newgrounds a better place, they were The Elite Guard Barracks.
Overtime I have recruited others to do interviews as well, so they're contributions are greatly appreciated. More than anyone else would be Ryanson. I thank him for bringing us the interviews with Andrew Huang of Songs To Wear Pants To, who despite not being a Newgrounds member has given his music to the creative minds of Newgrounds.
Today is an outstanding day, the 50th interview. With this mind I would like to keep with tradition and shed some light on someone. He is more known of the writers and older members of Newgrounds. He is known for A little ghost story., "Love Me." (A Short Story)., and 5 Kings. He is the one and only @Monocrom.
Q: How did you find Newgrounds and why did you join?
A: I decided one day to mess around on the internet. Typed "My Miserable Life .com" into the search engine. Imagine my surprise when a website with that very name actually popped up. It's not very active at all. But one time it clearly was. Filled with real life tales of misery. The one that I still remember clearly for some odd reason is the one about a young virgin who wanted to please her boyfriend. He wanted anal sex, and she agreed. He gave her herpes down there. She's now trapped in a small town, working a low-paying job just to afford the expensive prescription medicine she needs to keep her condition in check. Family isn't much help since the only older male role-model in her life spends his days in front of the computer, masturbating.
My best friend's brother who I'm friends with as well, we got together one day; and we exchanged sites we knew about. I told him about the one above. He told me about Rotten.com (which has a link to NG.) Found the link, found New Grounds. Found some high-quality flashes. One was very touching. But some jackass wrote a disgusting review. I made an account simply so I could post a better one. I had been lurking on NG since june or july of '05 before then. After having made the review, I decided to check out the forums.
Q: One of your first pieces of writing on Newgrounds would be a small poem entitled "A LOVE POEM" and it would be posted in the Newgrounds' Poem Competition. Where did the inspiration come from when writing this and looking back on it are you still proud of it?
A: Inspired from a poem done on Saturday Night Live by Eddie Murphy as he recounts how he killed his landlord. Lifted the "What the heck" portion directly from it. Still proud of it. Must admit it was done as a lark. Took me about 5 minutes to come up with it. Practically no effort at all. But it was funny. Others enjoyed it for its humor. That's what counts.
Q: One of your more famous stories that I am quite eager to question you about is entitled A little ghost story.. There is a lot to talk about here and we're going to take it step by step. First off, what inspired you to write this?
A: It's odd, but story ideas often pop into my head. Ironically, I'll often get the Beginning, the Ending, and one or two scenes first. Then the rest develops on its own. This one developed much faster than all the others. I had been working on my first short story collection at the time for New Grounds. This was supposed to be the crown jewel in that collection. But it wouldn't stop developing in my head. Soon I realized I had a story that needed its own thread. The very first scenes I had were the Ending and the scene in which Alice is held up and prevented from tumbling down the stairs by the ghost. Those two scenes remained unchanged. Sometimes I'll just pick a subject or story idea, and it just comes to me. I wanted to write my own take on a ghost story. And it hit me in the head like a 90mph fastball.
Q: How did you come about choosing the different Newgrounds members for "A little ghost story" and what say did said members have in their characters?
A: The start of my ghost story topic was back when NG was still full of plenty of the veteran users. I knew most of them. Knew some of the cool users who were a bit unknown at the time. I PMed them, and asked if they'd like to be included. None ever said "no." While I incorporated aspects of their personalities into my story, I made it clear that they had no say as to what happened to their characters or how the characters would behave. None. It was their personality aspects that made it easy to pick which character they'd play. tigerkitty for example is rather warm and caring. (No big secret there for those who read through her posts.) So she got the role of mom, in the story.
Q: Throughout this story it's certainly a complex one told through different time periods, but all of one location. At one point it's a ghost story, another it's a cop story, then a murder mystery, a science fiction story, but they all have one thing in common and that is they're all drama stories that all link together. When making a connection through these stories it is important to not let certain paths cross until the right time, did you have troubles with this?
A: Oh absolutely! While some have told me they found the title misleading. "Hey, nothing little about it." There was also nothing little about keeping everything in the proper order. I'm actually very old fashioned when it comes to HOW I write. In order to keep everything in order, I used a notebook and a pen. Each event in each timeline had to coincide at the proper moment. When it did, I crossed the summary of the event off of my notebook. When the story was done, each event was crossed out. Nothing left in the notebook.
Q: Every character in "A little ghost story" are indeed memorable. My favorites being Andersson, Carmilla, and Ozcar. Newgrounds members yes, but were their characters built around part of their personalities on Newgrounds or did creativity spark within you to give us something different?
A: This is where interacting with other NGers is a blast. With Andersson, it was on a related forum outside NG that he used to run. (Gone now, sadly.) With Ozcar, it was in the NG Martial Arts club which sadly has also slowed down greatly. With Carmilla, it was through PMs. Sometimes very funny ones. Taking aspects of all of their personalities, I can easily see them playing the roles they had in my story. (The chapter where Carmilla dresses down a member of the hospital billing staff is taken directly from something I experienced. A very negative experience.)
Q: Your short story "Infected" would be a submission to the Second Annual Newgrounds Idol and would be the winner in the Story Category of the Idol. For our readers could you tell us what the story is about, without revealing any spoilers in which I mean the fascinating plot twist at the end? Also how did it feel winning the Idol?
A: While many simply enjoyed it for what it was, an intersting story that catches your attention and holds onto it, I wrote it to be enjoyed based on the reader's point of view regarding military discipline. Some feel it's ridiculously strict. Those in the military recognize its importance. I'm not going to lie. I personally fall into the latter category. I've never served. But I do see the importance of honor, duty, and discipline. These are not just hollow words. And they are most important under circumstances that seem silly to hold onto them. It felt fantastic winning the award. I still have the NG T-shirt I won back then. Wore it to the NYC Meet last weekend.
Q: Your short story "The Guardian" is probably the first story I read by you. It was posted in the Third Annual Newgrounds Idol!. Another brilliantly written story that throws a plot twist at the end. Where did the inspiration come from for this piece and how did you feel about the honorable mention that was given to you?
A: April 10th, 2008. Half an hour past Midnight at the very start of the day. Light rain on the expressway. An idiot in a non-mini van missed his exit. Rather than go on to the next one which would have put him 2 miles out of his way, he decides to flick on his blinker while immediately trying to get across two lanes of traffic as he's about to miss his exit. Being in the lane he suddenly swerved into, I hit my brakes. They locked up because some bean-counter over at Ford decided that cheap anti-brake technology was still not cheap enough to put into a '98 Ford Escort. I got hit. Went sliding sideways into the stonewall of the exit ramp. Car totalled. Miracle I wasn't injured or killed. Sprained left wrist and a headache. (I always wear my seatbelt.) Air-bag exploded in my face and I breathed in the choking fumes from it. It would be 11 months before I could get a new car. (Used the old family sedan for work til then. A '92 Mercuray Sable. Ironically, a car that has anti-lock brakes.)
Nearly getting killed that night was the inspiration. When I got the honorable mention, they didn't know the real story behind it.
Q: "Flowers from Friends" would be your entry in the 9th Monthly Writing Contest: Spring Forth! which you would win. This story I find interesting, but at the same time I'm not fond of it's ending. Perhaps you can explain why the ending seems a bit missing to myself and our readers? As well as the inspiration for this story and how did you feel winning this contest?
A: One night, I was just imaging what it would be like to attend a swanky Hollywood party. And this story popped into my head. It would be realistic to encounter a very wealthy gay man in Hollywood. Still, I didn't want the standard tale of a rich guy getting whatever he wanted. So, this one came about. The ending was not something I simply put together because I didn't have one. It was done intentionally. The world is a cold, cruel, miserable place. And often, life-changing events do indeed happen in the blink of an eye. While you hope your loved ones will always be there for you. Sometimes they're not, and sometimes they are. But you never know until it happens. Younger NGers sometimes don't understand how quickly life can change, and often not for the better. I loved winning the contest. It never feels bad when you win at something you pour your soul into.
Q: "Love Me." (A Short Story). is one of my favorites by you, because of the interpretation that can be given to it. It is certainly a great choice for readers to debate about. To hear from the author's mouth is different though. What inspired you to write this story and what is it's meaning?
A: Writers often write about "True Love." But I've noticed that few want to do more than just present it on a plate and write around it. I decided to do more than just scratch the surface of it. So, I grabbed a shovel. I wanted to write my own take on the aspect of true love. You get older, you notice women have the tendency to fall in love far too easily. Many give their hearts away to guys who simply don't want anything serious. Does it count as true love when forced on someone? I don't mean the kind where the guy gets threatened with a butcher's knife if he isn't interested in the woman. I mean the kind where, other than not being able to leave, you enjoy everything. A bird in a guilded cage that is fed the best food, given loving attention and warm, and all that is asked for in return is love. Sure it's forced. But it's far from torture. I even added the shape-shifting element. This one can even be whatever woman you want her to be. An 18 year-old with a tight body and perky breasts, to a more mature woman with DDs on her rack. And anything in between. She offers everything she has and is. All she wants in return is your love.
Many guys out there would indeed change their minds. Key-word being minds, not hearts. Still, for what you get from her, wouldn't it be worth it? That's what I wanted the reader to consider. True love can sometimes be one-sided, horribly one-sided. Something to consider.
Q: 5 Kings would become your testament to the vampires. This is as you put it not a story for those with a weak stomach, but at the same time it's a breath taking story with twists and turns. When one writes about vampires they usually draw inspiration. Where did you draw your inspiration for this story and how did the Newgrounds members feel about participating in this one?
A: To be completely honest, I simply wanted to write my own vampire tale. But will admit that some inspiration came from the 5 mafia families that ruled NYC with an iron grip. Especially back in the 1970's. One thing I find frustrating is putting a new take on a variety of subjects that have been done to death by Writers from the past. Although I do find that my imagination is quite good at pulling off that trick. Never put a new twist on a plot that someone has done better than you. Unless you truly have something that you believe will be mind-blowingly good. (And you're willing to risk ridicule from others if you fail.)
5 Kings was written back before vampires became cool again. Before "Twilight," before "True Blood." Before any of that. My vampires don't glitter in the sunlight. They burn to ashes! Many of them see taking human life the way we look at a Big Mac. "Mmm . . . yummy!" I knew I could offer something not seen before in other vampire tales. So I went for it. It's easily one of my most popular tales on NG. Those I selected to be in it, loved it. Some more than others.
Q: The Jade Chronicles is your latest creation. A side story to that of "5 Kings." Why did you feel the need to create a series of short stories for Jade?
A: Sometimes a character comes along that isn't done when the story is. That's the case here. I took our very own Jade. Made her into a vampire. Cranked up the sweet side of her personality to an insane degree. (Her user name on social networking sites is "hug monster." And she doesn't mind at all who knows it.) And then made her insane. It resulted in a truly fascinating character that was too big for just one tale.
To be honest, it was supposed to be a series of short stories involving Jade. Wasn't to have anything to do with "5 Kings" other than a continuation for one character. Then I realized that even though the short stories would be good. They'd be better if I melded them into "5 Kings" as a sequel. Which is what it has become. Although I have taken a brief break from "The Jade Chronicles," I shall soon be posting new chapters. Also, look for more short stories in my Short story collection II over at the NG Writing forum.
Q: When it comes to writing. Where does the idea begin? When does the pen hit the paper and the first few words come down?
A: With regard to the latter, yes; sometimes story details do come out in the process as I'm writing. Perfect example would be Curtis from my little ghost story. He was actually supposed to be a very minor character. But then he developed literally as I was writing chapters. As for the former, I honestly have no clue where most of my story ideas come from. Some come from thinking about a specific subject. But I've been inspired by all sorts of odd things. TV commercials, an old memory, an overheard conversation while sitting in McDonald's, or a dream. Little things like that.
Q: To write one must have an imagination to do so. Is creative writing genetic, or can it be taught?
A: No. You simply cannot teach someone to be creative. Either they have a great imagination that runs wild, or they don't. You can't teach someone to love baseball if they're simply not into sports. They can learn the rules of the game. They can sit and watch a game. But if there's no enthusiam there, don't expect them to cheer when a homerun is hit. There's a certain NGer who I'm not going to name. I've encouraged this individual to write, due to their intelligence and love of good stories. But it's like hitting a brick wall. And we both realized a story with their name on it simply wasn't going to happen. A love of good stories and intelligence isn't enough to CREATE a great tale. The imagination has to be there too. And that's not something you can teach others.
Q: Do you have any writers that you look up to as mentors?
A: Mainly Stephen King. But he's far from perfect. When it comes to sexual content, his writing often degrades to that of a horny 15 year-old. He's allowed Hollywood to remake and change several of his stories. ("1408" is one of his shortest short stories. Yet Hollywood turned it into a feature-length movie.) He has published some short stories that should have been tossed away. And he sometimes overdoes the supernatural element. His least popular work, and even he admits it, is "Rose Madder." Ironically, the first 1/3 is excellent! It would have stood well without the supernatural element added in. Still, he's one of the greatest writers of all time.
Another author would be the late Jeff Copper. Having written mainly technical manuals on firearms use, he has written other books. His collection of short stories titled "FireWorks" is definitely worth checking out.
Q: What can we expect from Monocrom in the future?
A: Near future will be the continuation of "The Jade Chronicles." And, more short stories added to my still active short story collection II thread. Plus, fewer wait times in between chapers and short stories. I can't type. And it takes me a very long time to update either thread. Usually 3+ hours per each update. I'm buying Dragon software so I can better manage my time. I'm sure my readers will appreciate that.
Monocrom is one of the masters of the written word here on Newgrounds. A wonder of the plot twist. And overall a very kind and humble person. When the Lit Portal is released on Newgrounds I can see him rising above many. It's hard to describe a writer when their written words already does the job, to do so would be plagiarism.
So here we are. 50 interviews in. Is this the end? Well if you keep up with my thread then you know it certainly is not the end. I would say it is only the beginning, but that's way too cliché and it's also a lie. There are many artists here on Newgrounds, some whose works have yet to be questioned and others who have given us newer works in time. I intend to get the answers for my faithful and fellow readers. So here's to another 50 interviews.