Student Mike Burke, author of “Crowdfunded”, pictured rehearsing the role of El Gallo for Calvary’s upcoming production of The Fantasticks.
Burke inspired by Calvary’s English and Theatre Departments
by Amanda Harman
The year is 2038. An intense battle is raging between the technologically advanced Marines and the genetically-enhanced enemy. The tide of the battle turns against the Marines, and with no sign of help, they desperately use a less conventional source for rescue.
Calvary University English Literature and Creative Writing Major Mike Burke’s contest-winning short story “Crowdfunded” follows this platoon of Marines as they navigate through an abandoned city, avoiding ambushes, using every trick up their sleeves to hold off the enemy, and generally just trying to stay alive. Burke, a retired Marine himself, cowrote the story with his friend Nicholas Nethery, who is still on active duty in Europe with the Army. Their piece “Crowdfunded” won first prize in the U.S. Naval Institute-CIMSEC Fiction Essay Contest.
“There are so many talented people out there with great stories to tell; it never occurred to me we would do so well,” Burke says. “The notion that we wrote the kind of story they want to read feels great.” The coauthors are already talking about their next story on explosives disposal techs and smart munitions.
On the inspiration behind the winning entry, Burke says, “Our story addresses a number of issues the future military might face, including moral and ethical issues.” He adds, “All the tech in the story actually exists or is in development.” Another source of inspiration was English classes at Calvary, where Burke learned how to outline a plot in Creative Writing and how to write purposeful dialogue in Playwriting.
Besides writing, Burke enjoys being part of the Theatre Department at Calvary, and he will be starring in the upcoming production of The Fantasticks. Burke says that English and Theatre have so much overlap that “When I write I feel like a gunfighter with a pistol in each hand.”
Burke’s advice to fellow writers comes from experience: “Good writing has been drafted and rewritten a bunch of times so it’s okay if yours is too. It’s also fine to write a draft of something and set it aside for six months and look at it with fresh eyes. Just don’t do that with your homework.”
You may read “Crowdfunded” by following this link to the U.S. Naval Institute website.