Hello, friends, and welcome to day three of the A to Z Challenge. For this year’s challenge, I’m telling you a little more about the universe of Tomorrow News Network, my upcoming Sci-Fi adventure series. In today’s post, C is for:
Dear readers, I know some of you are fellow writers, so today I’m going to offer you some writing advice. You know those abandoned manuscripts and story ideas you have collecting dust? You know all those writing projects that just didn’t work out the way you wanted? They don’t have to go to waste. Think of them, instead, as a resource to be used for future writing projects.
Way back when I was an angsty teenager, I wrote a short story about a cyborg named E.K. Cognis. Being a cyborg, Mr. Cognis had no emotions, but he was curious about what emotions might be like. So Cognis and a fellow cyborg named K.T. Macnera downloaded a bunch of emotions into their brains. It was a profoundly mind-altering, mind-expanding experience.
As I said, I was an angsty teenager. Downloadable emotions were supposed to be a metaphor for drug use. Initially, Mr. Cognis and Ms. Macnera only wanted to “experiment” with emotions, but it’s not long before they become addicted. After that, their status as upstanding members of cyborg society deteriorates rapidly.
This may be the single worst story I’ve ever written, a case of a young writer trying way too hard to be edgy. The original story may or may not be saved on a floppy disk somewhere. I will likely never find it, and I’m okay with that.
But when I started work on my Tomorrow News Network series, I soon realized that my main character—time traveling journalist Talie Tappler—would need a cameraman. And when I thought of Mr. Cognis, I realized I had a character already made and ready to slip right into that role.
Cognis’s ongoing addiction to emotions creates plenty of opportunities for both humor and conflict in the Tomorrow News Network stories. So does his complicated relationship with Ms. Macnera, who now works for T.N.N. as an assignment editor.
Tomorrow News Network has salvaged a great many concepts and characters from my old, abandoned stories. Mr. Cognis was only the first. Story scavenging (as I like to call it) has made the process of creating a whole new Sci-Fi universe so much easier. So don’t feel bad if you have some old, abandoned story ideas that never worked out. Treat them as resources that can be used for building your next story world.
Next time on Tomorrow News Network: A to Z, turning the World Wide Web into the Galaxy Wide Web is far easier said than done.