Alright, so this isn’t so much a “writing tips” series of posts as it is a “how I did exactly what I did” post. It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time, and I’m finally getting around to doing it. A lot of this has been touched on before, in the ‘from the author’ sections of the books and such, but I really want to get into it here as much as I feel comfortable.
I’ve been creating for as long as I can remember. Some of my first and fondest memories are of playing superhero with myself or my friends, but most notably, with my father. A lot of my memories from that age (I’m talking 3-5 here) involve my father. At some point he brought home an old dos-based computer which could function as a word processor and little else and taught me how to write files and save them. I think I was ten.
I vividly recall two stories I wrote early on. One was a crossover between all the Disney Afternoon characters (something I still contest would have been a good idea) and the other was a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles story in which the Turtles finally defeated Shredder and the Technodrome, but Donatello lost his arm (because my action figure of Donatello had lost his arm, and I’d longed for an in-story explanation).
I may have written more like that, but I know that not long after that I started writing stories about a Superman-esque character named Alexis Temple. This was it, the movement from imitation to actual, individual thought. I wrote ten books (to my recollection), and they took Alexis from his early teenage years into early adulthood. It felt like time to stop then. And I thought I was done.
Then one day when I was supposed to be studying I pulled out an excersize book and started to plan more stories. If anyone read Wizard Magazine while it was in print, there were price guides in the back that would list each issue and the basic contents of them. And there was a code, like ‘Amazing Spider-Man #1’ would be: ‘ASM 001: fa (first appearance) Chameleon, J Jonah Jameson, Daily Bugle.’ So I plotted the whole Alexis Temple series as though it were comics. Then I kept going, continuing his adventures even though I’d never written them… I was plotting.
I plotted several more storylines after what had previously been the final one. Around this same time, I was asked by my Drama coach to draw each person in our acting group for a mock-playbill we were making. Then like now, I’m not much of an artist, but I drew everyone as best I could, then drew everyone as superheroes. I recall this big group shot of everyone looking mean into the camera, all 20 of our little drama squad. People had robot arms and capes and laser eyes. I even drew myself in, but that was the only one I didn’t like… So I shaded him in all in black, except for the eyes.
The next time I sat down to plot, I added in the following line: “CHS #75: Alexis meets Sara, Cathy, Mike, Grendel and Black Womb.”
There’s more to it then that of course. There always is. But for all intents and purposes, that was the beginning. It didn’t look anything like what it does now, but it served as the foundation for what would become the longest project of my life.
I had started writing Black Womb.
To be continued 😉
Never Look Back