The Writing of Once: An Inside Look

Yesterday I gave everyone the inside scoop on the Comeback Kid saga but what about my main project, Once? What is it that motivated me to create such a story that actually began way back in the day during my sole year at Kent State all the way back in 2010? Many of you know that this is much more than a fitness blog, so therefore I like to preach about other topics, such as my writing, sports, politics, symphonic metal, fantasy, and various others in between. Well, Once is practically a combination of all of these interests.

Last week, I mentioned that Once is really a combination of several influences such as Harry Potter, Star Wars, Lost, themes often seen in symphonic metal, libertarian politics, American history, Avatar: The Last Airbender, and current events. You’re going to see a wicked combination, crossovers, tributes, and references to everything listed above. You’re going to see my main protagonist possess many of the traits that several key figures in my influences possess and then some. Once is also a saga, and the work is going to be the very first one in the series. Unlike Comeback Kid, I won’t be posting this one, as I really want to get the work published professionally. It is currently being beta-read as I write this and after the beta-reading, I’m going to go through one last edit before actually sending it out into the world.

Back in the fall of 2010, I was really looking for a second hobby next to working out at the rec center in order to combat my increasing boredom at Kent. It is important to note that Kent State has a lot, and I mean a lot of things to do, but since I can be the world’s greatest introvert at times (which explains my excessive writing) I had to do something. Ironically, at the time I had no interest in pursuing a career in fitness so I was actually a history major. This confession may actually come as a shock to some, but although I had an interest in fitness and loved to workout and potentially compete (which I did a year later and placed well), I come from the Ohio Valley and I assumed no one from the Ohio Valley could ever create a sustainable career in fitness. So I was skimming through my history book and came across two things that really jump out at me to this day: The American Revolution and the Civil Rights slash Counterculture Movement of the 1960’s.

Right, so what do the American Revolution and Civil Rights Movement have in common? See, we historians love to answer these kinds of questions that involve the most critical thoughts on the planet, and this question that popped into my head at the time was no exception. The American Revolution was a fight for freedom. The Civil Rights Movement was a fight for equality. Yet, although the American Revolution was a fight for freedom, wasn’t it a fight for equality in a manner of speaking? Didn’t the Americans want to be just as free and independent as their British rulers? Of course! During the Civil Rights movement, didn’t Martin Luther King want the African-American population to see the same equal rights as their white counterparts? Of course! Thus, we have something in common between two very vital eras in the history of the United States! Now, Barack Obama wasn’t my favorite president, but being that had the Civil Rights movement not occurred, Obama never would have seen the Oval Office. Ditto for the American Revolution. Had the Americans not declared freedom from King George III in England, George Washington never would have become president. Two important movements in the growth of our country and two people who are forever linked by extraordinary events.

This made me think of a very critical question: What would happen to a nation had the American Revolution taken place in modern times? But I’m far too ambitious than to simply answer that question and I have a thing for fantasy, so I had to make this critical answer to the critical question as epic as possible. Avatar: The Last Airbender was one of my favorite TV shows growing up, and I loved the way certain characters in the book could bend elements, so let’s put that in the book. Harry Potter was one of my favorite book series growing up and I just needed to take some elements from arguably the greatest tale told since the Bible, so I put some magic into the book. Lost loved to play mind games with others and just because you might see it, doesn’t always mean it isn’t something else, so I decided to place some of that in the book too. George Lucas credits Joseph Campbell’s The Hero with A Thousand Faces, so I bought the book and read it. Elements are scattered throughout the book. Ron Paul was (and still is) my favorite political figure so I read some of his books, and the same went for Judge Andrew Napolitano, who I would probably nominate for Supreme Court Justice tomorrow! I love the lyrics, the sound, and the feeling I get from listening to bands such as Nightwish, Xandria, Within Temptation, and Delain among others, so they were key influences in writing this epic tale.

I wrote about my main protagonists earlier last week as well, and why they are in Once, as well as a role they will play in the work. Where did they all come from? They are amalgams of many different characters playing many different roles from the above influences. Each one of them is inserted into the text for good reason and there is always much, much more than what meets the eye for these characters. Cain Robertson, Lira Ross, Micah Robertson, Jed Robertson, Asha Robertson, Marcos Gretels, Clyde Flanders, Korra Adams, Randelo Jefferson, Savannah Rivers, and the others aren’t only based off of book, movie, and TV characters, but each of them are loosely based off of people I have been fortunate enough to meet in my lifetime, especially recently. These characters almost become your best friends and you come to like many of them as they’re developed from a simple thought placed into my brain by a higher power greater than myself. That’s powerful.

Many have told me that although it’s great to create this tale, this world, the characters, and the likes, that they simply aren’t real. No, they’re real. They’re very, very real. Each plot was influenced by real events, each character is based off of somebody who is real, and even the world and universe in which the tale resides is based off of something. Something real. They’re not real? I honestly beg to differ.

This is it for today, and as promised, Comeback Kid, Part II will be released by the end of the week in order to coincide with my move to Pittsburgh, where I look to expand and evolve my fitness career. Also, I’ll be posting periodically in hopes of spreading the good news if and when Once is picked up! It’ll be my first crack at this so it’ll be a challenge, but with challenge comes opportunity.

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