Monday, August 1, 2011

Bio Post: How This Whole Mess Started

This is in response to a comment made by Jackson Porter, who couldn't have brought up this topic in a more timely fashion. I'll try and keep it short. What's the story behind your Unannounced SciFi Trilogy?

Once upon a mid 90's, I was a High School Freshmen in a big city where most major Hollywood studios are located. I was convinced that, someday, I would be a director, animator, or special effects wizard--I was a big Sci Fi junkie, too, but I had a bigger problem. Nothing came out that appealed to me as a Sci Fi fan. I thought to myself, I could make something better than that.

Then it hit me. An idea. An inception, so unique that I couldn't stop thinking about it. That was my initial obsession. Writing it down was my only why to cobb.

Err, I mean, "cope."

It was tough. I wasn't much of a reader, and I was an even worse writer, but this idea kept growing. Character names popped into my head. Plots, images, theories, and political intrigues led me to new ways of expressing it, like primitive concept art and Lego models.

No. That's not an X-Wing.

There was no way for me to get this entire story out of my head without writing it all down. A year and a half later, I finished my first novel at age 15 (and improved my English grades). This idea that drove me to write still has not been used to this day (Avatar made me worry for a second, but the end product is not even close).

Well, I was feeling pretty good about myself. I finished a book. How many teenagers can say that? So then I went and saw Fantasia 2000 for some kind of school venture. Then, at the very end, I watched The Firebird segment.


Crap. My just-finished book was not the end of the story. Books two and three began and were finished within my first year of college. 500K words total.

Sounds great, doesn't it? But there was a problem. I was so paranoid that someone would steal my idea that I never sought critiques. I didn't even have the internet plugged in while I was drafting it (pretty nutty, huh?).

By the time I started going to workshops and local conventions for the first time, I was thrilled and nervous to finally share what I had spent five years on. Let's just say the feedback I received was brutally honest.

That was a waste of five pages . . .
Fun ideas, but the presentation is deplorable . . .
This makes absolutely no sense . . .

Well--if there's anything I learned that day, it's what it feels like to have your heart ripped out of your chest.

I has your heart!

The sad truth of it all--they were completely right.

I even sent it out. Six months later, I was given rejections, those impersonal, mass-copied rejections that can apply to anyone. Those sting the most. 

So I discussed this with my then-newly-wed wife and she made a proposition that would change my writing forever. Why don't you write something I would like? What does she like? MG and YA Fantasy, naturally.

The rest is history, and the writing is better for it.

Thank you for reading this mini-bio. I'm pressed for time, so I'll make a post for the dozen new members who have joined us soon. You guys are awesome!

What got you started on the writing road?

I'm David, and that model brings back memories.


  1. Wow. So these were your first three books, and this new YA novel was your seventh, so what were your fourth, fifth, and six books?

    I am visitor 11,000 on this blog. Weird.

    I think everyone can agree with me when I say that you made the right decision to become an author. I enjoy the blog.


  2. What a great story. You know though...critique groups need to be taken with a grain of salt. It makes me sad to think that you have a story you believed so strongly in that I will never see. I think someday you should say to hell with the naysayers and let us out here who are readers judge your work for what it is.

    I'm also astounded you write so prolifically. Wow...500,000 words while a teenager. Holy cow. You probably couldn't tan even at gunpoint.

  3. That's an awesome story. I'm glad you posted it. What would you know? The wife was right! Love it!

  4. Inspiring story, it's how mine began, though I am still unpublished. Regardless of how critique groups go, never abandon your story. Writing is art, just like drawing and painting. Could you imagine how the Sistine Chapel would have turned out if Pope Julius and his bishops had their way- no way. Michaelangelo stuck to his guns and emulated what inspired him. Those critics may not have liked it, but scores of others would. Stay true to yourself.

  5. Thanks, Matt and E.R. I wrote two short Sci Fi novels (short enough for MG but on an adult level space opera comedy), and The Dragon's Heart was my sixth. I'm going to have to spruce those guys back. They're much more salvageable.

    Michael, I know what you mean. Luckily I've found an awesome critique group since then. I'll get back to my trilogy. It needs a rewrite, but I feel it will serve better if I work on new things and expand my craft first.

  6. Aw, I love that story! Do you ever use any elements from it in your MG/YA writing?

    Honestly, what got me writing was getting together with a group of friends to write the fifteenth episode of Firefly for a Firefly obsessed friend. It was so much fun, I knew I had to write my own stuff.

  7. You make an excellent point, Julius. If it helps, that drawing I drew and my writing at the time have a similar, rough feel to it. Since my focus on writing is better, I'll be able to make it read better than that looks.

    Peggy - I have borrowed a few elements--another reason why a rewrite is needed. Needs new material and updated theories. Firefly. Now that's a Sci Fi show I can get behind!

  8. Talk about determination! You've done so much writing as a means to an end; I feel like such a douche. Here I am complaining to my wife that there's no point in me wasting my time shut in with the computer writing and that it'll never amount to anything, and you keep typing away. Thanks for the inspiration!!!

    You should watch "Gentlemen Broncos" if you haven't already. I think you could relate, as I did.

  9. It's fun to hear your writing journey. And not having internet while writing a first draft is probably a brilliant idea - that way you can't get distracted.

  10. "I has your heart" - haha... cool that you finished a novel at such a young age.

  11. Great story. I can't believe you wrote your first book at 15. That's awesome!

    I remember the first time I put my writing out there for critique. I still have nightmares about it. LOL I've heard other writers say they started out in one genre because that's what they liked to read, but then found their niche in somewhere else. So interesting.

  12. This is a great post. Thanks for sharing.

    btw: Do you know a Kristin King Park? Just curious. I should totally have you and your family over some night and just talk about books! My husband surprised me last month telling me that he was serious in starting to write his very first novel. Now we can be like that couple on FUNNY FARM, you know that guy...and his wife =)

  13. I thought your wife had you heart???
    haha, bad joke.

  14. Glad your wife steered you in the right direction. I need someone like that to tell me which genre to right too as I keep getting those awful mass produced rejection letters! Great post :O)

  15. 500K is impressive, especially for a 15 year old. I was 10 when I wrote my first. I don't know the word count, but it was 76 handwritten pages long - no where near 500k. I love hearing stories of people who start out young, and I feel really proud when I watch my two nieces at 7 and 9 sit down to write their own little stories. Everyone starts out somewhere and always there's that question of what the writer should be writing, but it's great when perseverance finally pays off...

  16. How inspiring that you wrote your first book at such a young age. I think sometimes we can become fixated on an idea, which when looked at many years later wasn't so great as we thought. My very first novel idea at age 17 was an intergalactic hoover-man who cleaned space debris. Yes. It was that bad!

    Ellie Garratt

  17. I love reading about a writer's journey. Thanks for this and hurray for your wise and wonderful wife.

    I got started on the writing road when an English professor in college gave me the nudge that I needed. Sometimes we all need a little push, right? : )

  18. Love it!

    I'm sure you know that I also finished Perilous when I was 12...of course the finished product bears little resemblance to the first draft!

  19. Lol, I like your sense of humor. Great bio and entertaining post:)

  20. Love learning more about you and what brought you to where you're at. And those sketches. Really took me back to my own time and some drawings I have in my scrapbook.

    Great post.

  21. I loved reading this! So interesting, yay for wives knowing what they're talking about! ;)
    Glad to have found you! :)