August 26, 2012 by bck1402
I think it was five years.
In mid February of 1998, I joined the corporate workforce with the idea in my head that I would work for five years, save up some money and get the hell out of there. As it ended up, I left the corporate workforce one week shy of a full nine years, February 2007. One of those things I wanted to do upon leaving was – ta-da – write a book.
Of course, there was the little niggling issue about what to write. It had to be something simple that I could fall back on, characters I could get my head around, placed in situations that could be familiar and yet have a different spin on it.
I fell back into a groove, using characters I was way too familiar with.
I started out creating (writing and drawing) my own comic back in 1982. I was ten, so a little math will tell you when I was born and just how old I am now. But, really, I started writing about this young girl who got thrust into a unique position (at least, at age 10, I thought it was unique) of being kidnapped by her own father and then subjected to a medical experiment which resulted in her having psychic abilities, while a special team set out to rescue her, not really knowing what was actually happening to her.
I followed some simple instructions about story-writing from this book I had about how to create your own Disney cartoon. It had what it called the story triangle. Each point had things to fill in – characters, plot and action. Get your characters, put them into the plot and use the action to move the story from the start, to the middle and proceed to the end. A simple three part structure, which led to a three part comic. Nothing great to shout about but that girl, I’ll use her initials, “EF”, stayed with me though the years. I made up more stories with her, either in comic book form or basic writing.
So, by 2007, I had really built a world around EF. I had done one more set of adventures during those corporate years (on the side, not during working hours) but I didn’t want to use her for this new project. I ended up utilising her daughter instead, sort of following the fallout of the last adventure (which was never really completed). The idea here was that while EF was pursued to join this specialised facility, to be both a trainer and a trainee, she ultimately turned it down, but her daughter heard about it and decided to head in that direction, as a full trainee. It was something that was rumbling around in my head as early as 1996. I actually have notes about the stories I wanted to do, all geared around David Bowie song titles.
It seemed like a plan. Take a character I’m familiar with, put her into a whole new environment, write it in a way that seems like she’s writing reports home, thus giving a unique perspective on a unique situation. What I needed to avoid was falling back on familiarity of the character which no one else in the world really knew about. So, I let the character herself figure out that strangers would be reading about what she was writing, and she would have to gear her writing to suit them. After a while, there would be a groove and everyone gets along comfortably.
And I don’t know if that really worked in the end, because despite sharing this with friends, no one gave any feedback that was useful in anyway.
Anyway, by August 2012, I posted the final entry to the whole shebang, which effectively ends what has become a three book project. According to the metadata on the first entry, the writing started in mid-February, 2007. So, three books in five years. The last of which took the better part of the last two and a half years because it kept getting put on hold in favour of freelance work that actually paid… and I really didn’t want it to end, even if it had already ended in my head.
I was planning to write about something else a little more current, but I had a look back at what’s been done with this and – BOY! – are there tons of typos in there. So in between working on the new project, I’ve also been reading over the Journal, making another pass and making corrections along the way. Is this what an editor does? I have to constantly check myself to not get too swept up in what I’m reading and actually try to find the little mistakes here and there, while trying to figure out if the mistakes were deliberate (the character’s ‘voice’) or not.
After all, it’s been five years.