Origin stories rock and may be my favorite aspect of superheros. I’m must not be alone, judging by all the Spiderman and Batman origin movies. Clark Kent (Smallville) and Richard Grayson (Nightwing: Year One by Chuck Dixon) are my top favorite origin stories. To the left is my favorite scene from Nightwing: Year One between CK and Dick Grayson.
My origin story as a writer, where it all began, can easily be traced back to Ms. Melvin’s 5th grade class. She was a project-based-learning teacher long before PBL was a thing. We did many memorable tasks in her class, but the one that I remember best, the one that started me on my life of writing, was the first individual school project I really enjoyed. Each student was tasked with creating a protagonist/main character and I created Christine Miller. She was a teenage detective (I watched a lot of Charlie’s Angels and read Nancy Drew at the time) and I created her perfect family of four with two best friends and wrote about her first case.
I fell in love with the creating process, creating characters and scenes and worlds and drama, bringing my imagination to life on paper. I don’t even remember the grade I earned on the actual project. What mattered to me was the discovery I could control my escape from reality. Instead of escaping into worlds and lives created by others, I created my own, making me god-like of my fictional world. I can’t think of too many hobbies that produce such feelings of power and satisfaction.
Once I tried to write fan-fiction, but I didn’t enjoy writing characters created by someone else because, as previously stated, I am all about the creation phase.
Every time I try to write a short story, it invariably turns into 50,000 words and then 100,000. In other words, novels are my thing. I am in the editing stage of my second completed novel out of four work in progress pieces. This one is the first I will try to get published. I have pared down my current project from 160,000 words to 145,000 words, but 100,000 words is my goal. Another 45,000 words/scenes/subplots to eliminate. Fun! Once I trim off another 20,000 words or so my next step is to solicit help from Beta Readers.