The second point of Straczynski's talk that I took to heart was to "write what you love and write what you know." He went on to clarify, that you should not set out to write for others, or what you feel others wished to read. If I wrote what I wanted to write and wrote what I loved, and in the end others enjoyed it, great. If not, then who the hell cares. Again, it was a great talk and I wish that I had recorded it, which I am pretty sure would have been frowned upon, but I did take with me the general message, which brings me to how I continued from there.
I believe that it was about a month later when my wife went up north for a week to see her family and thus being left to my own devices and seeing the beautifully sunny Santa Barbara day before me, I thought about Straczynski and what he had said at the comic con. I also wanted to go for a bike ride and I also wanted beer. I had to weigh the following: a) Start working on my novel, b) go for a bike ride, c) I'm hungry, d) I want lots of good beer. What to do, what to do. I know, add the fifth option of e) all of the above. When faced with many appealing choices, it is best to combine as many of them as possible and thus miss out on little. I gathered up a notepad, some pens, hopped on my bike and rode to the Hollister Brewing Company for a couple of beers and a Alegria Steak Sandwich.
*Kids. Biking under the influence is a crime. Don't do it...unless you have access to a good off-road bike path. Better yet, don't be stupid, just don't do it. Also, be safe and wear a frickin' helmet too.
Once I finally made it to the restaurant, I ordered my beer and food and began to think about what I know and what I like. Roughly, it came down to having of a love of comic books and science fiction and I began to think about the sort of story that I would like to read and what I liked in a lead character. I liked the idea of hidden potential, veiled threats, tragedy that set one off on a new path, camaraderie, and love where least expected. I wanted strong characters that made mistakes, strangers that were not what they seemed, and parallels to current real events that really pissed me off. By the time I had nearly finished my first IPA, I had the general idea for the protagonist his name and abilities, I had the antagonist as a general idea, a sense of the world that he would live in, the friends that he would have, the enemies that made his life difficult and some possible conflicts. Two nights later, I began to write the story.
Many things changed from my initial ideas and many of the characters developed in ways that I really did not expect, but at that point they were the ones calling the shots, not me. Now, do I believe that what I had written is the best thing ever? Hells no, but I know that I enjoyed the process, despite a handful of nights where getting two pages out of myself was like washing the dishes and damn, how I hate to wash dishes. The point of all of this is that I did it and I could do it again and again, and hopefully better with each go. It was also fun and made me happy, which is all that really matters.
So, I will continue revising the novel and coming up with ideas for the hopefully soon-to-be-started sequel, writing, writing, more writing on the blog for practice, and enjoying the process, despite the possibility of embarrassment, but then again I survived Junior High and a few bone chilling instances that I will someday divulge, and honestly nothing can really beat those. This will be cake.
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