One of the most important parts of being a writer is being able to judge the reaction of a reader. Often you can’t even see the person reading your work, so usually this is an exercise in imagination and empathy. Writers need this skill on many levels: on the sentence level (CAN YOU UNDERSTAND THE WORDS COMING OUT OF MY COMPUTER?), on the page by page level (Do the actions of a story flow naturally?), and on the big picture level (Is this actually a good idea I have?).
Gregory Scott has the advantage of having a potential reader directly in front of him during the Kickstarter pitch video for his novel “The Oldest Sentury.”
Scott needs $30,000 to publish is book The Oldest Sentury. He needs the cash to pay his aunt (a romance writer consultant), an editor, a cover illustrator, and himself for marketing. But the biggest thing he needs is the ability to read Amber’s reactions.
What results is the second most fascinating Kickstarter pitch video ever. (Second only to TERESA SERENITY HANDS ARE FOR LOVING.)
Amber seems pretty excited to help out with this project at first. She hasn’t heard anything about the book yet, and Scott is about to introduce it to her and us at the same time:
And then Scott mentions what the book is about: “It’s a fictional story about the centurion soldier who stabbed Jesus Christ while he was on the cross.”
Apparently the Bible says that when the soldier stabs Christ, “blood and water” came out of the wound. In Gregory Scott’s fictional retelling, the soldier is covered with the blood and water, ends up ingesting it, and becomes immortal. Fast forward to the present, and the soldier is 2035 years old:
Here Amber struggles valiantly to express support and interest, while her eyes to the side and forced smile reveal exactly how uncomfortable she is.
The only thing that can kill the soldier, apparently, is the spear itself. It’s a cursed spear.
That’s the moment when Amber realizes she’s made a terrible decision.
Scott continues. The centurion accumulates wealth, and by 2013 he has over $40 billion dollars and is one of the wealthiest men in the world.
He buys up failed pharmaceutical companies “on the cheap,” mixes his blood and some water with bad medicine, and the medicine starts healing people. Any questions, Amber?
Scott then goes on to give a summary of the first chapter, which involves a massacre at a pharmaceutical company. 15 people are found slaughtered in a warehouse but there are no bullets (even after the cops hear massive gunfire) and two people are left alive.
One is the multi-billionaire and the other is his personal doctor.
The billionaire bleeds out. The doctor survives.
Turns out, the doctor is the centurion.
And the dead billionaire?
He’s the centurion’s 375 year-old son.
The cops then tell the doctor he has some ‘splaining to do. We got 16 dead bodies.
So the doctor sits down and says wait, wait, wait. I gotta tell this story from the beginning so that it’s real long, long enough to be a novel.
And THAT’S the novel. The CENTURION IS the NARRATOR. So whaddya think, Amber?
Yeah, my thoughts exactly.
And when it’s all over, look how happy she is to go home!
OH THANK CHRIST IT’S OVER.
As you can imagine, the response has been tepid to say the least. Just one backer so far. But there’s still time…and as we all know…miracles do happen. Womp womp.
Oh, and if that pitch video wasn’t enough for you, check out an additional four minutes of footage Scott had to cut: