Friday, July 14, 2017

You Are the Chosen One: The Future of Speculative Fiction by Mollie E. Reeder | Guest Post

Emilie here: Excited to feature this post by Mollie today! In a funny coincidence/happenstance, I had just heard this story (or part of it) from another author and am so glad she decided to write about it here. I know you'll find it as encouraging as I have!

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In 1916, a fifteen-year-old newsboy in Kansas City sat in a darkened auditorium captured by a silent film - a fairy tale. A storyteller at heart, he enrolled in a correspondence course for cartoonists, squeezing in Saturday art classes between school and newspaper routes. During WWII, he was published in army magazine Stars & Stripes, and later went to work in illustration and animation, the early impact of that silent movie percolating in his young mind all the while.


In 1934, now a filmmaker, he gathered a group of animators on a sound stage and proceeded to act out the storyline of the fairy tale he’d seen all those years ago. He wanted to do something that had never been done before: the first fully animated feature film. In full color. With audio.

And he was going to produce it right in the middle of the Great Depression.

The movie he wanted to make was Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and that fifteen-year-old midwestern newsboy turned Hollywood aspirant was Walt Disney. But Walt’s contemporaries didn’t exactly jump on board with his big idea. It seemed like a bad investment, and the industry jokingly titled the Snow White project “Disney’s Folly”.

Imagine if they could have seen the future.

Storytellers are innovators and inventors of though - we not only write to reflect culture but to shape it. I love Walt’s backstory because it illustrates the generational nature of creativity. In 1916, filmmaking was in its infancy. Pioneers of silent film blazed a trail for young people like Walt - and Walt’s legacy continues to impact my creative endeavors (and probably yours) to this day.

Speculative fiction is exciting because there are so few rules. We can create new worlds, new languages and new ideas. We can travel back to alter the past, fling ourselves forward into the future, or step sideways into alternate realms. Speculative fiction has been optimistic and cautionary, whimsical and technical, sometimes all at once.

When I think about the future of science fiction and fantasy - or should I just say the future? I think about you.

Somewhere, today, is tomorrow’s Walt Disney.


I started writing novels because nobody was writing books exactly like the ones I wished for. I hope that’s why you’re writing, too - because you have a story that’s meaningful and exciting to you. Something that gets your blood going. I hope you’re taking risks instead of fearing trends. I hope you’re writing the future you want to live.

Of course, with this power to shape the future comes responsibility (thanks, Uncle Ben). Not just to take big creative risks, to pursue new ideas and creative excellence, but to tell stories we actually believe in. As a Christian, everything I do is driven by a purpose, not just to entertain, but to transform. Walt produced Snow White because he believed it was a great story. He got it done, despite great odds, through sheer determination and creative passion. How much more will you accomplish if you are pursuing the story that God has set on your heart, not through your own might, but through the power and determination of Christ? When you are prayerfully aligned with the Heart of Jesus, walking intimately with him, you truly have not just an ability, but a destiny to impact the world! (tweet this)

Or, to borrow the language of the genre: you are the chosen one!


We owe a lot to Walt for taking that risk back in 1934. What seemed stupid then - an animated feature film? - now has its own category at the Academy Awards. “Disney’s Folly” turned out to be one of the most profitable films of all time, and inevitably gave rise to the modern giant the Walt Disney company is today.

I recently got to visit Magic Kingdom for the first time, traveling with fellow movie makers Nathan and D’Lytha Myers to represent our film at a festival in Orlando. One of my favorite photos is the three of us - freshman filmmakers ourselves, just like Walt once was - screaming our heads off on the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, which opened in 2014… seventy years after Walt first set out to make his movie!


Long after Walt, Walt’s stories live on. With any luck (grace!), so will ours. Write on, awesome people - and I’ll see you in the future!

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I’m a writer and a filmmaker and I really like dinosaurs!

Growing up in the suburbs of Texas, I memorized musicals, devoured paperback novels, and dreamed of someday working in Hollywood. In 2016 I co-wrote, produced and edited Aria Appleton Shines like the Sun, a musical family comedy featuring kids, dogs, singing, pyrotechnics and everything else they told us not to do in a microbudget movie. With its humor, drama, and great soundtrack, Aria Appleton is just the kind of movie I always wanted to make. 1990’s Mollie would approve!

I’m currently writing a series of science-fantasy novels about dinosaurs, and I blog about writing and filmmaking at www.writeratops.com.

Follow me on Twitter @writeratops


Mollie has graciously offered a giveaway of this AWESOME "Tea Rex" mug! Enter below via the Rafflecopter (please note this is for U.S. addresses only).


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