Monday, May 16, 2011

Rome Wasn't Built in a Day

When you look at it on paper, the Agent M series took a long time to move from conception to its current physical form.  Almost 8 years to be precise.  Think about that for a moment.  Do you know how many things that can be done in 8 years?  That’s like going from the NES to the N64 or watching Hulk Hogan’s reign as WWF Champion to Stone Cold Steve Austin or the average lifespan of 8 Ford vehicles (cheap shot yes, but I was raised in a Chevy household).  So, with that in mind I thought it would be a good idea to look back on the journey thus far.

                I firmly believe that, once you have a good foundation in place, you should never stop building upon it.  It’s not enough to ride on the coattails of a good idea.  If you do nothing else then it’s a nothing more than a dream, a fantasy, not reality.  Agent M was not going to go down that road.  As soon as I came up with the concept on that fateful day inside the movie theater I began to take notes, doodle character designs, and writing back stories.  I really couldn’t wait to sit down and start writing everything I had built up.  The first draft of Agent M: Project Mabus began about two weeks after coming up with the concept.  Looking back on it, I was so horribly wrong.

                To say the concept was immature would be an understatement.  I blew through the first 3 chapters in the better part of two weeks without even thinking about characterization, mood, or future prospects.  Just getting the story written down made me happy and I chased that thought until I reached the end of chapter 3. My fan-fiction habits made the desire for recognition, approval, and praise skyrocket.  I posted my story to another fiction related website and awaited the results.  After 2 weeks, only a handful of people decided to read my story and only one left a comment.  Albeit a positive one, I spoke to another one of my fan-fiction colleagues and after some reassuring words and a bit of advice, I decided to pull the story off of the website and re-review it.

                Disaster is a word that gets thrown around these days.  The first draft of Project Mabus was borderline atrocious to say the least.  After achieving success and praise in the fan-fiction realm, I was sure this would be the next big thing to sky rocket my writing career (20 years old and immature, go figure).  This was my first failure as a writer and damn near killed my writing career.  I put the project on hold as an afterthought and concentrated on some other things instead.

                Though ignored, Project Mabus was never forgotten.  Every time the song Poem by Taproot came up on my CD player I was thrust back into the Agent M universe.  I never wanted to give up Agent M but I also never saw the desire to go back to it.  As the years passed, the universe began to unfold through the melodies and rifts of some of my favorite bands.  Agent M was evolving beyond my wildest dreams.  It wasn’t until 2008, when Disturbed released their Indestructible album that I was inspired to decimate my defeated attitude and start anew.

                Scrapping the draft was easy as well as starting over.  In the last 5 years I had evolved the Agent M concept beyond the simplistic frame I had initially developed and into something bigger.  All of my characters now had elaborate back stories that ended right as the story begins.  I was on a warpath.  I couldn’t be stopped.

                Until I reached chapter 2…

                After I had fleshed out this new story that I was completely ecstatic about, both in tone and characterization, I hit the wall again.  However, it wasn’t a creative one.  My graduate program was starting to get the better of me.  Working 50+ hours a week plus another 8 in school, I was burnt out and couldn’t afford to spend time writing.  I put the project on hold (again) and promised myself I would finish it once I graduated.  Unfortunately, luck was not playing in my favor nor in my company’s and after 5 years of faithful service, I was laid off.  As sad as it was, my time away from work afforded me a unique opportunity.  With only 6 months left until graduation, I decided to finish Agent M: Project Mabus once and for all.

                The motivation was ripe and so was my fury.  I attacked that story with an unbridled determination.  Every day I plunged into the book, refusing to quit until I had conquered my daily quota (3000 words or 5 pages give or take).  My fiancé lovingly supported my efforts.  Even with 16 hours of classes bogging down on me I was not about to be defeated.  Not this time.  Finally, almost 8 years (TO THE DAY) since Agent M began, it ended.  And I never felt happier.

                So that was the abridge version of the road I’ve traveled with this project.  I could go on for days about this journey but I just wanted to highlight a few key points and inform everyone that you should never got down without a fight.  Even if you don’t like what you’ve started now, who knows?  Eight years down the road might turn it into magic.  You’ll never go anywhere in life without taking a step forward.  And with every step you take, something good is bound to happen.


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