I am still going here somehow!
When last I discussed the history of SWO Productions, we looked back at Something Unique, which was an entirely NOT unique idea of a shared superhero universe between several other posters at a comic book forum. The idea had sprung up when we grew slightly tired of debating hypothetical comic brawls–I mean, as tired as you can ever get from that–and it carried us through most of our college years until we were far too busy to keep up appearances. The friendships and memories remained, but the real world and shifting priorities made it too hard to continue coordinating. Still, it last for several years!
And for a long time… that was it from me.
My creativity waned rapidly in my mid and late 20’s. Whether it was just fits of poor mental health or lack of motivation, there were many years of my life where it seemed like relevant creation was in my rear-view mirror.
I continued doing a lot of plotting out on my Chosen and Kyre ideas, but I did little actual writing… easily the least of any such stretch of time over my life. Creatively, personally, and professionally, the ages of 24 to 29 were the valley of my life. I was completely adrift for a while. It was rough, and I had settled into a lull. Real woe is me kinda shit here! But we’re pushing on! After all, a series on my creative endeavors would be really boring if I spent a lot of time on my time not endeavoring to create.
But life finds a way! I met the woman who would become my wife, got on a more fulfilling career track, and started really just living my life more successfully. Long story short, I am awesome and had forgotten for a bit!
And sure everything was better, but it was also time to get back on the bike–a pointless analogy for me because I can’t ride a bike. Never been able. I’m pretty sure it’s witchcraft. Anyway, I got back into writing the weirdest and most embarrassing way possible.
I wasn’t being very creative, but I was playing a lot of video games in this era! And during some replaying of Pokemon games–a series of games I have essentially been playing non-stop for, like, 20+ years–I found myself on the forums over at Serebii.com for research. And as I looked over the site, I saw they had a Fan Fiction section.
Fan Fiction is not something I regularly engaged in, but I wasn’t brand new to the idea, either. I had dated girls who were heavily into their own fan fiction. And as a kid, I wrote a lot of go-nowhere Ninja Turtles or X-Men stories since my brain was just always going. And even at the aforementioned Wizard forums, we would occasionally do writing competitions to see who could do the best fight scenes. Writing characters popular in media wasn’t a brand new concept, but I’d never really dedicated time to it. So I perused some of the stories at Serebii, and fuck me if a lot of them weren’t actually quite good. I was surprised! So I figured I could try, too.
Brothers’ Bond wasn’t… entirely “fan fiction”, I guess. It was original characters and an original story just… taking place in a world with, you know, Pokémon. Not even the cartoon world or the video game canon. Just my own take on it. What? I’m a dork. Move on.
And I did it as an exercise in anti-plotting! I went at it with zero intention. I never thought further ahead than the next chapter or some nebulous scenes I might want to include. I would base entire chapters around a line of dialogue or a description of some flowers and little else. It was fun and put as little pressure on me as possible. How would the story end? What would happen two chapters from now? Who knew?! Not I!
This ultimately led to two things: First… I genuinely and truly like this story. I got 20-some chapters in, and it was about 200 pages in my Word document. I never got too intimidated by it, and I had FUN. It was just a crappy non-project that I dedicated time to. I was laid off during most of my writing of it, and in-between job searches, I would go for a walk, plot something out, then come home and write it.
The second thing was… that the plot was a mess! Ha! When I re-read old chapters, I would see all the foreshadowing I included that went nowhere for no better reason than that I forgot entirely about it as my brain constantly shifted to “What if I did THIS?!” Characterization changed because I couldn’t keep straight whether the shady mystery guy was a villain or a hero. This was all stuff I could have cleaned up in editing, sure. But I never did. It worked as its own project. It’s honestly, I think, how I write best, but it requires a lot of editing. A LOT.
I never finished it because I am a bad person, and as I entered the third act of the tale, I realized I needed an endgame. After twenty-some chapters of writing on a breeze, I suddenly felt pressured to come up with a goal line, and that threw me off. Oh well! Story of my life!
It was a blast, I met some other good writers along the way and got to give out some feedback on their projects. That was surprisingly neat because I didn’t realize just how much I liked working with other creators and giving honest thoughts on their products. It helped out with the writing itch, but also made me remember how much I enjoyed scratching it!
It was shortly after this exercise that I would try my hand at my biggest project yet.
So I had been an occasionally-lapsed wrestling fan for years, and in the times where I wasn’t watching WWE, I would still always log on to 411mania.com to get my recaps of what I missed. It is a fantastic site with some great writers, formerly headed by the late, great Larry Csonka, and I thought “Why not me?”. So I sent in some samples and asked to be a contributor.
And so, since 2015 or 2016, I have been contributing articles to 411Mania under both the Movies/TV branch and the wrestling branch. It was finally my first exposure to not just co-creators, but to the public at large. And you know what? The response has been overwhelmingly positive! People there dig my articles! I don’t always offer up as much there as I would like, but I try my best.
I did an incredibly well-received review of every WWE Royal Rumble match (and I add to that series every year) among other wrestling articles. I started doing weekly comic book reviews elsewhere on the site to keep myself honest and working (those have fallen by the wayside with the creation of SWO Productions, but I can’t say I’m not keeping myself busy). For the first time, I had a regular project that actually mattered to people! How brave of me to do something millions of others do all the time!
All right, we are nearing the conclusion of this history of the SWO with what will be the weirdest or hardest chapter yet. Next time: So whatever happened to Ghosts of the Stratosphere?