Cameron Suey's fiction has appeared in a variety of anthologies as well as on the Pseudopod Podcast. He is currently a narrative director for video games, having worked on “Rise of the Tomb Raider” for which his writing team won the WGA Award for “Videogame Writing” (Don’t blame him, that’s how the WGA spelled it). He recently launched the found footage podcast, Observable Radio. He lives in California with his wife, two children, and cat.
I’ve always loved stories of every sort, I was a voracious reader but also movie-watcher and ghost story collector. One of my strongest memories of camping with my dad was hearing the plot of the movie “Alien” adapted as a campfire tale for six year olds. I don’t remember a time when I didn’t want to just tell stories in some way.
I pursued acting and later filmmaking because they seemed to be such an interesting ways of storytelling, and I loved working collaboratively, but after college I gravitated towards writing as a way of both working with other, but also working entirely on my own with creative freedom. I’ve been exceptionally lucky to write in a variety of mediums, from games, to prose, to podcasts, and they are all uniquely challenging pursuits.
I tend to gravitate towards horror and science fiction, as I have always been interested in the strange, surreal, uncanny, and weird. As a reader, there’s very little I don’t like and I always find inspiration in unusual ways - a long span of reading Historical fiction has helped me think about how to tell a story in a precise series of events, and I have similar lessons from other genres.
Everything! I have a few partial novels, I’ve written a few dozen short stories published across anthologies and magazines, I’ve written for decades worth of video games. I wrote a comic book that will likely never see the light of day, and I recently launched a found footage podcast called Observable Radio that I write and edit. Doesn’t matter the medium, I like telling stories.
I’m highly visual, so I usually “see” a few beats or images in my mind before I even try to make context of it. I often know the beginning, the very ending, (and oddly, the title) of a story in the first moments of thinking about it, but the middle is a mystery until I start writing it. I am very lucky to be able to work from home, so the vast majority of my writing is done in my head, editing and revising while I fold laundry, before I ever sit down and type. When I do it right, it all comes out very quickly.
I get to think of stories, then I get to think of interesting ways to tell them, then I get to share them with people, and hear what they think. There’s certainly labor and work and friction to it all, but it’s worth it.
Write for yourself. Markets and trends and fads are certainly where the money goes, but the most important thing you can write is the thing that only you can write. Write what you would want to read, not what you think will sell. If you love what you’re writing, and entertaining yourself, it will show on the page.
Writer’s Block for me is never a lack of ideas, it’s a lack of a plan to get there. When I can’t see the path, I do chores. Laundry, dishes, any repetitive manual labor. This forces me into meditative and almost hypnotic states where I start solving the problems almost subconsciously while poorly folding t-shirts.
I was thrilled to be contacted a while ago with the intriguing proposal, and very little restrictions for the type of story I could tell. Like I said, I am highly visual, so seeing how my writing was translating into another medium is always fascinating. I love the extremely broad palette of styles and moods to the animations, and the continued freedom I’ve had to tell stories means that I always have a surplus of ideas.
I went through a series of pitches thinking about a medieval action story when we started talking about a retelling of Robin Hood, one of my favorite folk stories of all time, and I decided to pitch a version of Robin Hood in a climate-ravaged future, where water is the chief resource. I went back to the original middle English texts to draw from so if you’re familiar with “A Gest of Robyn Hode” you should see the parallels. Re-contextualizing classic characters in new settings is always a delight.
My attention span is so challenged, I genuinely love how pairing animation with text keeps me constantly locked to a story. I’m excited to read the other stories.
As an older white man, I’m very aware of how much of my career has benefitted from assumptions and structure placed there by people who look like me. I think equality requires people to recognize that we didn’t ask for the benefits we have, but we have them nonetheless, and it is incumbent on us to create structures that do not perpetuate creative teams that don’t reflect the actuality of the audience. As far as representation in writing goes, I make an effort to go through my work and make sure it reflects the world, not who I see in a mirror. If half the population of the world is women, there’s no reason that half your characters shouldn’t be, other than your unexamined biases.