Every few years when I went to the San Diego Comicon, I made a point of attending a presentation with J Michael Straczynski. I became a fan of JMS way back during Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future. I didn’t know a lot about him at the time, and I didn’t really have a passion for writing. I thought the show had some interesting concepts for a children’s show. The death of Pilot (Jessica Steen), for example, I thought was a ballsy move. You don’t kill people on a children’s show. A good friend of mine, Raymond Rappaport, who was working at Comic Gallery at the time, knowing of my love for Captain Power, asked me what would I think a season 2 would look like?
I had never written a script before, didn’t have an idea of how to make a story treatment, and I personally knew one other person who was a writer. I asked him a few questions about planning a story. He gave me a few tips and suggested checking online for story treatments. This was in the early days of internet. AOL was king, I had a CompuServe account and I had a screaming 9600 bit modem. I downloaded am few CompuServe article by JMS on writing and plot development and with that I wrote a proposed season 2 of Captain Power.
Raymond liked it and I got bit by the writing bug. A few years later I read where JMS had a guide for writing for all sorts of media. I bought his book, even got it signed at the San Diego Comicon about two decades ago, and read a lot about JMS and other authors, including the author I knew, about structure, motivations and everything imaginable about the craft of writing.
A couple of comics, a novel and a few film and television projects under my belt and I’m still a poor, starving (well, not so much starving) and struggling writer.
I continue to do write because I want to tell stories, I have a need to tell stories. I don’t do it for the fortune and fame (yes, I’m quoting Paula Abdul). I love writing.
This morning, a new Remitar article comes out. The reason I find this article significant is because when I started working on this crazy Star Citizen role playing idea, I wanted to have something out that was going to immerse me in the game, getting me tapped into role playing. I had things here and there, ideas I wanted to try but it took me three efforts before I could even get a handle on the character. As I wrote the first few articles, I thought I knew exactly where the plot would go, but writing was a struggle and I didn’t know why.
When I wrote this recent article, it was the moment when things started to click. I just started thinking about the presentations JMS would give at Comicon during the production of Babylon 5. I was stuck trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. I was struggling with previous articles because I had what I was sure was the path I needed to go. In all those memories of the JMS talks, I remembered he said sometimes the characters will not let you go the way you plan. My friend the writer said the same thing.
It was my “you must unlearn what you have learned” moment, in a sense, and I had to reexamine and toss out where I wanted the story to go. This is where the seeds of the big drama are planted. This article was when I got a handle on things and it opened up a whole world of possibilities for this character. It allowed me to really explore events that affect the character.