Tales from Sark’s World: All or Nothing

I may have mentioned before that what I have dubbed the “Infinatum” has been simmering around in my brain since I was a kid.

Back then, it was just a bunch of characters I made up to enact their comic book-styled adventures. Then, I tossed the action figures and played out their adventures in my head.

But as I got older, I began to think that my characters and ideas weren’t something that wasn’t going to make it into adulthood. I had to grow up, think about the future, think about a career, and all the rest of the adult-y stuff old teens and young adults are supposed to focus on.

The thing is, I wasn’t a fan of doing anything else. Thankfully, the work ethic I learned from my Dad and brother allowed me to do whatever jobs I found, and my will-power to not to succumb to scholastic apathy, got me to college, twice. I even found an outlet for my creativity.

But it all brought me back to those characters and the idea of telling their stories. Even as I worked on scripts, I’d toy around with upgrading those old characters. Since I was older, I was also able to infuse a depth to them that I couldn’t when I was younger. The more I updated, the more I became invested in these characters and their world.

I pounded out a short story called “The Black Wave Event”. Not very long, only six parts. I figured that was it. But, like before, no matter what else I was working on, I’d always come back to this world, which I now called the “Infinatum”.

I think the beginning of the tipping point was a few years back when I wrote a script about a group of characters from the Infinatum, called the Regulators. They were my first group. The first group of characters. It was my best written script and became my favourite. I wrote other super-powered-themed scripts afterwards, and I did a good job on them. But the script for the Regulators was always my favourite and I still think it’s my best script.

It went on like this for a while. Working on one project, but always coming back to the Infinatum. I kept adding new characters, thinking up new ideas, eventually improving the Black Wave Event to the point that now, it’s a novel with an ensemble cast of characters, spanning  time and dimensions. Meanwhile, any scripts I had been working on eventually became less important. I even developed and plotted out new scripts. They all were set aside to allow me to work more on the Infinatum and an upgrade on the Black Wave Event.

When I started writing, I never wanted to write novels. Short stories sure, but not anything as lengthy as a novel. But it wasn’t just the length. It was my lack of confidence in actually writing prose. I can write scripts no problem. But writing prose is definitely not my strong suit.

I can write prose. But when I read others’ writings, I often feel quite substandard. Example; I always write in present tense. I got that from scriptwriting. I have tried to write in past tense, but it takes serious effort and I either slow right down and second guess everything I’ve just written, or I speed up and find myself back in present tense.

So, for a while, I felt pretty lame. I questioned whether this was all worthwhile to do. Should I pigeon-hole myself into one type of writing, or try to expand. Add to that various other personal crap in my life that pretty much ground my writing to a halt.

Then, everything changed. Although I had to give up a lot of freedom and privacy, as well as employment, which wasn’t my choice, it has afforded me time, lots of time. To re-examine my life, my goals and my future.

No, I didn’t have an epiphany, or a spiritual awakening. In fact, I was pretty miserable for a while, much to the delight of those I’m living with.

So, I fell back on what I enjoyed doing, what made me happy. The Infinatum. But it wasn’t about doing or re-doing what i had done before. I wanted to tell more stories, expand these characters and their world, or worlds.

The thing is I had already thought about what would happen to the characters after the Black Wave Event. That was what I did during my other projects, when I was taking a walk, or laying in bed before I fell asleep. I’d think about their future. Originally, it was my hope to write these ideas as an ongoing, comic book series. But when you’re only a writer, it’s hard to find an artist who isn’t already drawing their own work to be published.

I had to either shit or get off the pot, as the saying goes. I either had to commit to writing these stories or move on to something else. Unlike before, I decided to shit, lol. Or, in nicer terms, I committed to the Infinatum.

Considering I was only a few rewrites away from completing an actual novel, I knew I could do this. Unlike the Black Wave Event, which I thought would be a one-off thing, The Infinatum series of books would be bigger, but more well thought out. The idea of foreshadowing events in book one and have it pay off in book four or seven, that many of these characters would enter, exit, and re-enter the series was exciting, because I wouldn’t just be writing this as a novel. To me, it would be a series, with inspiration coming not just from other literary works, but from TV and comic books. All the things I didn’t like in any of those mediums, I could do it the way I would have! All of this excited and intrigued me. Since then, I’ve been spending most of my time working on the story and plot outline.

As for feeling ill-equipped to write prose. Screw it.

I’ve read a few different pieces of advice from the professionals with regards to writing. In the end, it’s about getting your idea down, and your story written. It’s about expressing yourself, having a creative outlet. With scriptwriting, there are certain rules one must adhere, especially when it comes to formating. Writing short stories, novels, prose, whatever, there shouldn’t be any rules. The most important thing should be telling a story. And yes, grammar, knowledge of the english language (or whatever language you prefer to write in) does help.

I’ve determined that the Infinatum book series might be seven books. I’ve already plotted out two books, and I’m nearly finished book three. Of course, I have ideas beyond book seven, but let’s focus on the job ahead, because it will be somewhat daunting.

But, I’m looking forward to it!

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