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The Disco Ball: Chapter 1
Marcus Rhoder Backstory

Collaborate with us on the backstory for Marcus Rhoder, one of the supporting characters in THE DISCO BALL. We are seeking a writer to bring life to his character through a classically structured short story building out his character’s backstory and canon. The backstory will be a core consumptive component of Chapter 1 of THE DISCO BALL, serving as the basis for future additions to THE DISCO BALL compendium.

Cover image for Marcus Rhoder Backstory
Profit Points
$500 USD

Submission Guidelines

Interested writers should submit an original short based on Alma’s description of Marcus’ backstory.

Submissions should be:

  • English language
  • ~1-2k words
  • Written in script format
  • First person narration in the voice of Marcus Rhoder

Story Context

View Relevant Story Scene

“Marcus was an early and talented mover in the YouTube Educator space. His channel now boasts millions of subscribers and provides orders of magnitude more income than his lowly day job going to space. It should make him easy to hate, but he also happens to be endlessly positive and upbeat, and his videos really do an incredible job of making a host of nuanced and complicated scientific topics not only understandable but downright entertaining. I’ve even referred my own kids to them. Marcus does a better job of explaining something than I ever could.”

So is the beginning of the backstory for Marcus Rhoder as told by Captain Alma Cooke, during her therapy session with Dr. Bauer in Chapter 1. Little else is divulged about Marcus’ backstory in this scene beyond his age (early 40s) and role aboard the ISS (engineer).

Creative Considerations

The goal is to create a comprehensive backstory written like a short story with a clear beginning middle and end, but in script format and with the freedom to include dialogue with other characters from Marcus' life. Feel free to expand upon the initial backstory that Alma describes for Marcus, fully realizing Marcus as a person using rich, detailed characterizations that address the core considerations necessary to breathe life into a fictional persona as well as key, basic details such as his upbringing, educational background, work experience, etc.

Questions that should be addressed include: What does this character want more than anything, and how does this desire propel him in the story? What event from his past forced him out of his "status quo" and set him on his life’s journey? Does the character have love in his life? What are some other backstory anecdotes and character details that can be referenced and addressed in the core narrative of our story?

Creative References

  • ”Thank You, M'am" by Langston Hughes
  • "The Snows of Kilimanjaro" by Ernest Hemingway
Story Universe Examples
  • "Marcus Rhoder's Backstory"
How It Works

Interested writers should submit an original short story specifically written for Marcus’ backstory (creative portfolio and writing sample optional).

Review & Selection

Our creative team will review all submitted applications, considering narrative writing proficiency, creativity, and alignment with the creative guidelines and existing world of THE DISCO BALL. The writer whose short story best meets the criteria will be contacted and provided with feedback. This may involve discussions on refining plot points, touching up dialogue, or changing narrative details to ensure the design aligns with the vision of the character, episode, and franchise.

Feedback & Finalization

The writer’s whose story is chosen will work closely with the creative team to finalize the short story, incorporating feedback and making any necessary revisions. The focus is on ensuring the prose is gripping, cohesive with the world of THE DISCO BALL, and incorporates the necessary elements of proper character-building to bring this character to life.

Story Integration

Once finalized, the approved short story will be integrated into the story, appearing in Chapter 1 of THE DISCO BALL core narrative.


Writer will be appropriately credited and recognized for their contributions.