Once: Setting the Stage

Rule one: When we write, everything in our real-life comes to the forefront. Passions, influences, real-life interests, wants, hopes, dreams, our tastes in sports, music, where we come from, and most importantly, the people we come across all play a role in one way, shape, or form in our works. I’m no different than any other writer. This is seen extensively in Once, where I’ve covered my influences, passions, and real-life interests in previous writings. Today, I would like to expand on that.

First, I’d like to review everything I have covered up to this point. The NFL and College Football Saturday, obviously, played a huge role when designing the atmosphere covering the sport of shotball, my own personal creation. And if it weren’t for twelve NFL teams, my shotball teams wouldn’t have their own rivalries, color schemes, and even team personas. The same goes for the team nicknames. Matthews Knights (Sir David Mathew, look him up), Oiler Fighting Braves (Native American ancestry), Caldrone Sentinels (Italian ancestry), and so on. Matthews, Oiler, Caldrone, Wilson, they all have served as names of resident Apartment Complexes in the series, and each of the names (except Robinson, which replaced the name Robertson, as it serves of the last name of my character, Cain).

The fantasy, war genre, really taps into my kind of music, which involves groups such as Nightwish, DragonForce, and Xandria just to name a few, with much influence also coming from Disney and Two Steps From Hell. It allows me to dream my tales true, to fall into a world of fiction, and allow the to come to life. This is a definite when I’m working out or driving, as it’s these times of the day where I’m really into brainstorming mode, thinking, plotting, adjusting, and really creating my scenes, what will happen in them, and what will stem from them.

Yet today I want to dig deeper than this, as I’m really just scraping the tip of the iceberg. I want to carve that iceberg today, and really get in-depth with where many of my locations of based off.

For starters, nearly every territory, college and university mentioned in Once are taken after counties in Ohio, Northern West Virginia, and Western Pennsylvania. The viewing area in which many of the events take place are based off of small towns throughout the Ohio Valley. For instance, Richfield, the town in which Summit University is located, is a carbon copy of Wintersville, Ohio. Kettlewell Stadium, Cartwright Field, and Harding Stadium serve as the home of the Indian Creek Redskins, Edison Wildcats, and Steubenville Big Red, respectively. In Once, Kettlewell Stadium serves as the home to the fictional Cross Creek High School. Wintersville is located in Cross Creek Township in Ohio.

Summit State Forest, located outside of Summit University, is based off Fernwood State Forest, which is located outside Wintersville, Ohio. Muralville is based off Steubenville. Nightford is based off Mingo Junction, and New Alexandria is a real place. Many in the Matthews Family are actually buried in New Alexandria while even more reside close to the area. Hallsburg is based off Pittsburgh, and Forest City is based off Cleveland. The Columbian Colonies are named Columbia for the spirit of Columbia, which served as the symbol of guidance during the era of Manifest Destiny in American History. The Southpoint Empire is the one where I get a lot of questions, as it doesn’t necessarily sound like something that one would refer to as an actual country, but the name is actually a symbolism more than anything else. I’ll be vague, because I’m giving away information if I reveal what it really means, but I’ll just coin the phrase ‘Southernmost point,’ and leave it at that.

Now for the fun part. How and why exactly did I construct this fantastic war story? Well, Once really does one thing for me. It allows me to tell, from my perspective, my side of all the problems the world faces today. And I’ve touched up this in previous posts. For example, an empire tends to oppress a colony. We all know where that one started: Colonial America. But let’s expand beyond Colonial America. I want Southpoint to stand as a symbol for every single invasive empire that ever existed in recorded history of mankind. War, and the horrors associated with it will be a recurring theme. Midway through the first book in the series, the reader will have a firm grasp on what I’m saying here. Truth and lies are another theme. Never assume something because someone, or something, such as the TV or media for instance, said it’s true. And never allow a distraction (sports) sidetrack you from what is really going on in the world. Sports are a distraction, and many of us become oblivious to events such as the Syrian Conflict, the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Russia, China, Ezekiel 37-38 (read it), two overly powerful, big government political parties looking to spend YOUR tax dollars on special interests. Remember my post from a few weeks back. If you haven’t read it yet, please do so.

But do I really want to get across, other than a great story? I’m using symbols, from a political standpoint, to really express my own views on certain subjects. Sure, the story is definitely the story. But when people read Once, I want them to dig deep, and really pick up the underlying message of this epic tale. Really dig deep, and leave nothing at the superficial level. This is more, way more, than merely a story, or a tale like you’ve read so many times before. Something else must be explained and expressed, and I’m really talking about the way I personally feel about very important political issues. If you’re into epic tales, and potential exposition of the lies we’re told every single day through mass media, this is a work for you. Wow, under one-thousand words!

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