Monday, February 13, 2012

Origins Blogfest!

The Origins blogfest (click for details) is today. It's an opportunity to talk about why I write, no, not exactly, it's about my origins, what led me down this path.

My origin story, like that of Peter Parker, is a mixture of the exotic and banal. I'm just a normal person, living a normal life, when one day - bam! - I've been bitten by a radioactive muse.

The truth be told. I didn't come to writing until I was well into my twenties. I did, however, always consider myself a storyteller. As I mentioned in my About Me page, I first dreamt of being a comic book artist when I was young. I would spend hours and hours in a small desk I kept in my closet, yes, closet, and toil away drawing all these comics. I recall doing this He-Man rip-off about a guy who was imprisoned by a skeleton headed guy in a cowl that said he kidnapped barbaric humans... AND SOLD THEM!

That's right, I was a pre-teen, writing stories with relevance, touching on big social issues, like enslaved barbarians (I came down on the side of it being wrong, FYI). At the risk of spoiling the tale for those who haven't read my early story, this young barbarian solved the problem by beating up everyone he came across until he made his way to Skeletor...er, I mean, the Skullhead, and punched him right in the face.

Story over.

Anyway, I did lots of those type comics. However, as I got older, my dream of drawing comics slowly passed by me as I got away from what I thought was childish stuff, and got into other things, like playing guitar, then later, doing television.

Not real television, but public access stuff. Friends and I discovered it by accident. Our local public access had  to air our stuff if we asked them to. It was the law. So we ran around and did all sorts of stupid stories, badly  acted, horribly conceived, and no matter how bad they were, they went on the air.

My favorite show at the time was Star Trek: TNG. Now, I've talked about that show so much that I'm getting tired of bringing it up, but I have to, it's important for me. Because, as we went along with our public access show, we were starting to do more Star Trek themed episodes. Generally, they would start with a far future band of human explorers getting sent back in time to do something... I think saving the Panda population was high on the list of tasks. So we were sent back to the early 90s to bring back specimens to the future.

Well, as I got further into the our own convoluted story, which made no sense, but carried on in spite of this, I was constantly trying to ret-con things said or done into some sort of something that made sense. Of course, I was actively watching Star Trek, reading the books, and otherwise living the dream.

The show, as we each kept wishing to do it better, began taking more time to produce, we were starting to buy props, film on locations, trying to come up with coherent stories, and were attracting a growing number of people that wanted to be a part.

It was beginning to take too much time, like, we were having to film several days a week, meet to discuss what we were going to film, and in our spare time, figure out how we could improve our technical skills for the show.

It quickly got too big for us. God forbid anyone in the group have a girl friend, play in a band, or worst of all, have a job. After an awesome summer things fell apart. We just couldn't do it. One of my friends decided that he wanted to be a real actor and got an agent and did bit parts in local productions and TV commercials. I got drawn in deeper and deeper into the behind the scenes aspects. And eventually discovered that TNG was open to story submissions.

Um, what?

That's right, during their run, I heard that they would solicit ideas for stories. Honestly, I don't know if that was even true, but I believed it, and was determined to get a story idea on the show.

As much as I loved the show, I was often frustrated that they had these amazing science fiction elements buried as back story that were never explored. They had that ancient super civilization that had artifacts littered across the galaxy, the Iconians, they ran across a Dyson's Sphere once, the first spacefaring race in the galaxy explored and found the universe a lonely and empty place, so they seeded it with life - bringing forth Humans, Vulcans, Klingons, and all the other humanoid races that were eventually became so familiar with.

But that wasn't what the show was about, instead it was always about the crew getting space drunk, or Riker having to teach the women of some new planet what good loving could do. Again, it was frustrating at times.

So, I started trying to come up with the greatest episode of TNG ever. The absolute best. I began working on a story that I thought would be just that.

I went epic with it, making it as big a story as I could envision. So big in fact, that naive as I was, I realized it was unfilmable. I had been reading the novels and thought it might serve better as a novelization. And once I put pen to paper (or finger to keyboard) I couldn't seem to turn it off.

I wanted to be a writer.

And there you have it, my origin story. Star Trek again. I'd consider creating a fictional origin story that involves me running away from home as a child and travelling across country with a hobo on a train, but I haven't got the details worked out yet. As it stands, that's all I've got for now.

Sigh, thanks for the opportunity to share.

37 comments:

Gail said...

Very interesting bio...I've been a trek fan from the beginning.

Live long and prosper!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Star Trek launches another career!
Do you still have any of the shows you guys made on tape? And were you in any of them?

Matthew MacNish said...

What a cool background. It's great to get to know you better, Rusty!

Tonja said...

That's awesome. Too bad the summer film-making went awry. You should finish the edisode/movie. We can never have too much Star Trek.

J.L. Campbell said...

I have so much admiration for people who write Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Paranormal, Historical stuff. The world-building alone would exhaust me.

Grumpy Bulldog, Media Mogul said...

So you guys were like a far nerdier Wayne's World? Excellent!

I think they had to do stories the way they did just because they didn't have a huge budget being a syndicated series. Everyone stumbling around space drunk is a lot cheaper than creating a Dyson sphere.

Sarah Pearson said...

I think the true story is more interesting than your possible one about running away with a hobo. I mean, who hasn't done that?

Civil War Horror (Sean McLachlan) said...

Hello from a fellow western/Civil War writer! Yeah, I did comics for a while too. My drawing sucked, so I ditched it and focused on the writing.

DL Hammons said...

It was reading Star Trek books (the original) where I first realized iconic themes could be re-told even in future settings. That series has inspired a great deal of writers!

Thank you for sharing your ORIGIN with us! :)

M.J. Fifield said...

Wait... it's wrong to enslave barbarians? Give me a minute. I'll be right back...

I think He-Man and She-Ra were among my first inspirations too. Not Star Trek though.

Still, a very cool story.

Jay Noel said...

Now that is one helluva origin story. I wonder how many people took up writing because of Star Trek???

Jen Chandler said...

what a fun origins story! sci-fi and fantasy are HUGE inspirations for my writing (and, yes, Star Trek deserves a nod).

thanks for sharing your story with us! i really enjoyed it!

Cheers,
Jen

nutschell said...

Hi Rusty!
I'm dropping by from the origins blogfest. I love that you got started writing thanks to Star Trek!
Your newest follower,

Nutschell
www.thewritingnut.com

LynnRush said...

Awesome! Thanks for sharing this story!!! Write on, my friend.

Bob (Beauty in Ruins) said...

Great story - I think we can all point to some sort of ST influence, regardless of generation.

Brinda said...

This is my favorite line: And once I put pen to paper (or finger to keyboard) I couldn't seem to turn it off.

A true writer...

D.G. Hudson said...

I watched the Original Star Trek. Mr. Spock was my fave of the bunch.

I know lots of ardent Star Trek fans. One woman visits the ComicCons in costume.

Following now,Rusty,and dropping by on my Origins stroll. Nice meeting you.

Dianne K. Salerni said...

I did a lot of Star Trek story-telling, too! But not TNG. No way. The original.

My brother had a model of the Starship Enterprise and dolls of the original crew. And I played with them endlessly! He was allowed to play, too, of course. But I directed all the stories under pain of Older Sister Wrath.

Andrew Leon said...

Man, I didn't know that TV stuff was back there! Just think, one day when you're big and famous, you can include that stuff as extras like Shayamalan used to do.

Cindy said...

This all makes me curious about that TNG episode you wrote.

Christine Rains said...

Great story! Star Trek invoked a lot of inspiration in me too. Comic book writing is also writing. There's fantastic stories in comic books.

Melissa Sugar said...

Another Star Trek beginning. Awesome. I am a new follower from the blogfest.

boopia said...

I did not know this Rusty. I think I did know something about the comic books...

Jeremy Bates said...

Loving the info on this site, you have done outstanding job on the blog posts.

Jeremy Bates said...

Real informative and wonderful bodily structure of articles

S. L. Hennessy said...

Haha, a radioactive muse. That's a good one. Love the Peter Parker reference.

Intricate Knot said...

I'm still laughing over "...as I got further into our convoluted story, which made no sense, but carried on in spite of this..." Dude, this is the story of my life!!

Really, really had a blast reading your "origins" tale. Yay for Star Trek! You have a new follower (me). Looking forward to your future posts.

Shockgrubz said...

That show inspired me a lot as well. I always wished our area had provided a cable access channel. It was one of my dreams to do something like that.

Donna Hosie said...

Another Trekkie here! Loved this story.

Michael Offutt, Tebow Cult Initiate said...

I love peeking in on how everyone got started in their writing. Yours is no exception.

Mina Burrows said...

Very cool beginning! I like your book cover too! New follower too on the blog & twitter. :)

The Golden Eagle said...

Awesome story!

I'm just starting to watch Star Trek for the first time--I can see how it would influence and inspire.

M Pax said...

I wrote stories for my friends in HS in comic book form. My drawings were bad. They were meant to be funny.

Cool on filming your own show. I imagine that would be a lot of work. They're still publishing Star Trek books. I had a dream about Riker the other night. He had aluminum foil in his beard. I am so using that in an upcoming story :D

Jackie Jordan said...

I love sci-fi and envy your interest. I also am always jealous of anyone that can draw. I can't even write my name legibly. Keep up the good work, and thanks for sharing ...

mshatch said...

I grew up on the orignal Star Trek and I enjoyed NextGen, too, altho I think there were a few episodes that were better than Ryker having his way with local women (the one where Picard lives a whole other life comes to mind). I think the problem with television is that they only have limited time to hook the audience which means they usually resort to gimmicks or stupid stuff rather than explore anything meaningful. BSG did a pretty good job though.

Cool origins story and interesting how many different ways we all came to writing.

Trisha said...

I'm facing a quandary, with an ex-boyfriend being a huuuuuuuuuge STAR TREK fan and me therefore never wanting to touch the stuff again :P But maybe someday I'll get over myself & give it another go. hehe

Loved your origins story!

Scarlett said...

Rusty! Ya gotta love your dedication to the craft, man. So cool that you got up and out and actually took advantage of an opportunity at such a young age!

TNG was our go to show on Tuesday nights, way back before kids and a mortgage. We saw every single episode no less than three times in reruns (yes, even with the Ferengi, but only out of boredom).

Code of the Ferengi:
#242 More is good. All is better.

Glad to finally make it round to your spot! Looking forward to reading much more!