Blog, The Fantasy Realm

A Fantasy Realm Tale: A Murder at Moxie’s, 1922 – Behind the Scenes

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Much to my surprise, this story turned out to be one of the tougher ones I’ve written for the show, but I still had a good time trying.

Along with the other experimental stories like the zombie apocalpyse story, the contemporary (turned historical fiction) story, and the science fiction story, I really wanted to try writing a mystery in an era that really fascinated me: The Roaring Twenties.

To be completely honest, American history doesn’t interest me very much save for the era of the monopoly tycoons vs Theodore Roosevelt and, of course, The Roaring Twenties.

I went with The Roaring Twenties simply because I am also a huge fan of The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. It’s an incredible novel that highlights so many virtues and vices of American culture, and I really wanted to pay tribute to his work with my own story.

This is why, if you’ve read The Great Gatsby, you can see the mirrored plot between my own and Fitzgerald’s. The plot being the idea that a murder revolves around a love that is never meant to be, despite how passionate it is, simply because of society’s rules.

However, I did add a modern twist to it with a lesbian couple at the forefront. I think it was an incredible way of bringing some diversity to a classic tale.

I also added many little Gatsby easter eggs in my story, including:

  • Moxie’s entry password: “Green Light”
  • Fitzgerald’s quote from the novel: “No amount of fire or freshness can challenge what a man will store up in his ghostly heart.”
  • Viola Mae’s nod to Daisy about being a fool: “I hope she’ll be a fool — that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool.”

Despite all the fun, this story had a bucket full of challenges I was not prepared for.

Writing in the voice of a woman from the 1920s was not easy. I enjoyed getting to find clever ways to use 1920s slang, but I often found myself writing in a very modern voice.

Along with that, voicing with a 1920s accent was even more difficult. When I did my French accent for The Museum of Moving Paintings, it was easy, because I had been learning the language for about ten years.

I’ve never had to speak in a 1920s accent. Sometimes, I feared I came across more southern belle than an actual 1920s girl from New York. Still, I did my best, and I had a grand ol’ time doing it.

The other major challenge I had to face was writing a mystery. Mystery novels are a work of art, and I bow to any author who can write them. I’ve never once tried writing a mystery, so I figured this would be an interesting way to try it out.

I spent a lot of time trying to think about how to lay down all the clues necessary to not only show you the truth behind the murder but also to fool you if possible. I focused a lot more on the mystery being not that the murderer was Eva Nickels, but that the reason is because Eva and Viola Mae are in love.

Of all my clues, I am actually most proud of the ones I used through song.

Both The Tango by Marc Shaiman and After You’ve Gone by Bessie Smith were used as subtle hints to the true relationship between Eva and Viola Mae.

The Tango would instantly ring the nostalgic bells of any Addams Family fans, and possibly get them to chuckle a bit. However, when thinking about the scene of this song, Morticia and Gomez are wildly in love, as can be seen in the tango, therefore, a mirror to Eva and Viola Mae who are also dancing to this tango.

When the two women are outside smoking, they’re discussing their plan to live their life together, but as we later learn, Viola Mae is a lot more hesitant than Eva. Bessie Smith sings about the hurt that will come her partner leaves, as Eva would probably be telling Viola Mae to convince her to go on with the plan.

I will also share two confessions:

Another big reason I wanted to write this story is because I wanted to somehow use the great jazz songs from The Legend of Korra soundtrack on my show.

While writing this story, I not only learned that Hugh Laurie is an incredible musician; he is also British.

Despite all the hardships, I really did enjoy every minute I spent working on this story. Though I wish I had just a bit more time to work on it to make it even better, I am proud of what it is.

I hope you enjoyed your trip to Moxie’s! Next week’s story will be even more bizarre. I can promise you that.

Fairfarren, friend.

Fairfarren, Friends

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