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Monday, June 10, 2013

Why I started

Just a picture of a cat.
I have said many times that I began writing in the fourth grade. From there it just exploded into being a part of who I am. My friends and family all knew that I loved to write. By the time I was in fifth grade I was spending more and more of my spare time just writing. No purpose, no class assignment, just for me. There wasn't another kid in my school who did that, I was unique. Okay, unique is the nice word, the real word is weird, but I love being the weird person.

How it all started. Well, back in fourth grade my teacher, Mrs. Rogers, allowed the class to have a section of each day to just free write. We weren't given more than half an hour each day, but in fourth grade that was excruciating for most kids. For me, it was like giving me chocolate for the first time. I loved it and wanted more. I began writing my own versions of tongue twisters, but then I tried actually creating my own story. I still know the story to this day, the adventures of Private Eye Peyton....corny but hey I was only in fourth grade. I was damned proud of that three page novel and even dressed up in costume to read it to the class. Private Eye Peyton had several stories, all where he is solving the crimes and saving the day.

Back story: I grew up with a mother who loved Simon & Simon, and Magnum PI. So, it certainly influenced my writing. But, what most influenced my work was the other television show/movies that she introduced me to at an early age....Star Trek.

Continuing: I continued writing stuff for a couple years, and had an urge to construct my own Star Trek story. Again, the central character was yours truly. My first attempts were childish, but I was just having a lot of fun. Then, in the ninth grade I had an English teacher who once again added a free write time to our day. We were using the block scheduling so our classes were 2+ hours long each, instead of just 1 hour. We had extra time some days. Mrs. Smith suggested that we write stories and keep working on them with each free write and then at the end of a certain period of time she would take them up and grade them as extra credit. My own personal practicing all those years paid off and  prepared me to create a more solid storyline. For the first time I planned it out more, I bought the encyclopedia of Star Trek (no kidding) and started jotting down notes as often as they came to my mind. This was my first true venture into novelizing.

Star Trek: The 11th Fleet was set during the Star Trek Deep Space Nine storyline, but in a distant part of the federation away from the main story. It told of a captain and his crew on a federation space station in orbit of Tarven 4. To prepare for the up coming Dominion conflict, starfleet orders the refit  of hundreds of outdated ships in a junkyard in the same system. Thus building the eleventh fleet to bolster the lines of the Federation when war broke out. The main character, the Captain, has to be convinced to come back since he was the one who came up with this notion years ago and knows more than anyone about the old ships and how they work. Unfortunately for them, he doesn't like Starfleet any longer. Ten years ago he was part of a team that made contact with a race of people called the Hakashans. The Hakashans took him in and treated him like family when he was facing a difficult time in his life. But, when they called for help from Starfleet, Starfleet turned it's back on them leaving them to be surrounded by enemies for ten years. Now, Starfleet needs him, and he gives them an ultimatum. He will return, but they must agree to allow him to lead an armada of starships into the Hakashan system, and drive out the enemy. What he was not prepared for was finding a small group of the Hakashans on his doorstep when he reaches the station. They have been lost and looking for help for nearly ten years now and he is their only hope of seeing home again.  There are Borg encounters, The Maquis, Dominion conflict, love, adventure, family, humor...all the right stuff to make a fun Star Trek story.....if I do say so myself.
This is one of the Hakashan's, and his son

I never intended on getting this published initially, but I had a change of perspective. My teacher, Mrs. Smith, took my story home with her and read it, graded it and then let her own mother read it. Her mother was an English professor at a State University and absolutely loved the story. She even brought it with her back to class and wondered who among her students wrote this. She had mistaken my work for a college students, and in her judgement a good student at that. When it finally made it back to me it had a note pinned to it from the mother telling me that I had something special and should think about becoming a writer. Not too long after that I won the writing section of the PTA Reflections contest. That year was a good year for my writers ego. I decided that one day I would find a way to publish my Star Trek adventures.

Unfortunately, there is a better chance of someone breaking in to Fort Knox, stealing every last ounce of Gold, and then getting away completely free than getting a new Star Trek novel published by an unknown author. So, I almost gave up on the idea of being a published author. What use was it to write when what you wanted to write was never going to see print? Fortunately for me I have a mother who doesn't give up on me as quickly as I do. She pushed me to write my own story based on my own ideas and see what came of it. I actually fought this notion for some time, but eventually a thread of logic hit me. All I could do was fail? So, I started writing again, this time solely with my own characters and story.

So far my only experience in traditional publishing has turned out to be fraudulent. But, I will hold onto hope a little bit longer. I am not the first author to be rejected, and I won't be the last. I don't know when my breaking point will be, but some day I will either make it or finally give up. That day hasn't come yet. For now, I write.

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