Thursday, March 28, 2024

Microstory 2114: Dream to Fiction

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Let’s set aside for the moment the fact that I’m a traveler from another universe, and that all of the characters that I’ve written about are real people, living somewhere out there in the bulk. Let’s suggest that I’m just a normal creative storyteller whose stories come out of his mindbrain, just as they would for anyone else. Let’s talk about how this process began and developed over the course of more than two decades, and let’s pretend that I never left my world of origin. I was thirteen years old when I officially became a writer. My local radio personality would say that I shouldn’t be allowed to call myself that because I’ve not published any books. But that’s not the definition of a writer. That’s the definition of an author, numbnuts. I was struggling in eighth grade science class, specifically the chemistry portion, which was particularly disheartening, because I wanted to grow up to be a biochemist. Seeing that letter F on my report card told me that I would never realize my dream. It was unrealistic, and I would have wasted a lot of time, energy, and money on the fruitless pursuit. Fortunately, I had this other idea of telling stories, so I started really leaning into that. About two years later, I started work on my canon. I didn’t understand that I was doing that, but the story I came up with in the summer of 2002 has survived today, so I ended up retroactively marking this period in my life as the beginning of my franchise. It was about a boy who was on a boating trip with his fellow scouts. He gets separated from them after the tragic deaths of all of the parents on board, as well as the crew, and ends up on an island full of mythical beings, like elves, dwarves, and mermen. It was quite derivative in the beginning. I’ve rewritten the majority of this book at least four times, and revised it any number of times in between. It’s taken as long as it has to finish because I have never stopped growing as a writer, and perfecting my skills, technique, and personal voice.

As I was saying, I wasn’t familiar with the concept of a canon in the early years of my work, but I did have this compulsion to tell stories that exist within some kind of established continuity. They might be thousands of years apart, or even in different dimensions, but the potential for crossover had to be there, whether it ever actually happened at all or not. I came up with the premise for dozens of stories over the course of the next several years, nearly none of which remain today. The ones that have survived have transformed so much that they would be unrecognizable to anyone who happened to hack into my computer to read the originals. I never published a word, of course. In 2004 or 2005, I came up with a book and its television follow-up that I don’t even want to talk about, because they were rooted in my anger and violent tendencies. I wouldn’t even mention it, but I feel that I have to, because that was my first TV show, even though I wish it wasn’t. My second show, which I conceived of in 2007, was about a group of people with special powers, and from there, the universe expanded. By then, I had already decided that the dimensions from my original concept would be temporal, instead of spatial. That is, they just happened at different points in the long history of a single world. I came up with several other shows that fit within the timeline on the one planet, and then I came up with several more which took place on nearby star systems, and in other galaxies. It was 2012 when I came up with The Verge Saga, which took place billions of years ago in another galaxy. The number of TV shows that I had created effectively doubled overnight to around 60.

For a couple of years in my adult life, I had a recurring dream. Well, maybe that’s not the right word to use. Continuous would be a better choice, because I wasn’t just reliving the same thing every night. The story kept going. I could wake up, go about my day, and then go back to sleep to revisit the characters right where we last left off. I don’t know about you, but I’m only in about half of my dreams. A lot of the time, I’m observing other people’s lives, and this particular one felt very much like something that could be adapted to fiction for public consumption. I even had the perfect title for it, but the problem with it was that it inherently took place on Earth, where that established continuity I’ve been talking about bars such world-changing events from occurring. Basically, if I wanted it to take place on Earth, it had to be a different Earth. This was when my canon exploded. I suddenly had access to a dozen new universes, which could have their own independent histories that I didn’t have to worry about conflicting with each other. My list of TV shows approached 80, and I was unstoppable. That’s when Salmonverse was created, but that’s not when I thought of my first story for it.

On December 27, 2012, my first dog, Sophie Love was put to rest at a 24-hour animal hospital after a short but brutal and cruel battle with liver disease. Shortly thereafter, I had a dream (not again; this one came first). I woke up to find my dog alive downstairs, where she should have been all along, and then I realized that I had traveled through time to before her death. Of course, my dream turned into a nightmare when I jumped back in time again to not only before my dog was born, but also before we lived in that house. Someone else was living there, so I had to escape without disrupting their lives too much. Samuel Bellamy took over this role when I converted this dream to fiction, making him the first ever resident of Salmonverse, but like I said, I didn’t come up with that until 2015. Everything I wrote until I built my website just sat there in my files, never to be seen by anyone but me. That’s why these things have weird temporal values, because I regularly come up with a story, or only a premise, or even just one character, without having any place for it yet. I guess normal writers conceive an idea, and then just with it until it’s done. I often develop all aspects of a new story all at once before I so much as write the first word of the actual text. This process might inspire sequels, prequels, multimedia follow-ups, and crossovers that I will also work on without necessarily having written anything substantial. I dunno, maybe I’m doing it wrong, which is why I’m over here with a personal website that no one reads, and George R.R. Martin is a millionaire. He too has taken forever to write his latest book, but people are actually waiting for it. Hopefully I’ll finish the new edition soon, but I’m pretty busy. Unlike how it is for Martin, this isn’t my only job, and as aforesaid, I don’t make a dime off of it.

Tomorrow, I’ll get more into the details of my website; how it got started, and how I prepare for upcoming stories. There’s a lot. It takes a lot to keep this thing running. Like, you don’t even know. Slipping back into character, I’m surely in jail now, awaiting trial, or whatever step comes next. I scheduled this to come out just so I don’t leave you with nothing, but I’ll eventually run out of these too.

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