In a previous post, I mentioned that throughout my life I have always written stories and created characters but, for most of that time, they stayed exclusively inside my head, for my own entertainment. I’ve decided to go into a little more detail about what that means, and how it came to be such a common practice for me. The vast majority of the time, it has meant writing myself into my favorite TV shows.
Just about every TV series I have ever loved secretly had a character for me. These characters are not really me, they never have my name, or my life. They are more like alternate versions of me, who I could have been if my circumstances had been different. I had elaborate backstories for all of them and plotlines that would bring them in and make them crucial parts of the show. These storylines would play out in my mind constantly; it was kind of like watching my favorite show all day, but from the perspective of this new character that I had created.
I still remember, quite distinctly, the first series I ever inhabited this way. It was called The Invisible Man and it was my very favorite show at the time. I was thirteen years old when it first came out, and I was instantly in love with it. It was quite short lived; there were only two seasons and, if I recall correctly, the showrunners didn’t even get a chance to tie anything up before it went off the air.
A while back, I bought the first season on DVD (the second season doesn’t seem to be available anywhere, which frustrates the hell out of me) and rewatched it. If I’m being totally honest, it wasn’t as good as thirteen year old me remembered it. I still feel like it had great potential though. The storyline was just as interesting as I remembered it, and the characters were fantastic. It was just that it was obviously super low-budget and, with the brief time that they had, they never really got the chance to get things together. Still, I was immediately reminded of how deeply I connected with these characters when I was a strange, awkward teenager who desperately wanted to be someone other than who she was.
The character I imagined for this show was, and still is, the most detailed I have ever written. I knew her entire life story, from the time she was born, to how she would come into the series, to where things would end for her, and she lasted far longer for me than the show itself. In fact, I still think about her sometimes, and have often considered writing her story. Though, obviously, for copyright reason it would have to be without the backdrop of The Invisible Man. It would be quite a departure form the sort of thing I’ve been writing but, after I finish my Black Magick Series, I may well give it a shot.
At that time, my dream was to be an actor. That was actually the thing I wanted more than anything throughout my entire childhood. I thought that creating new people and playing out their stories in my head meant that I would be good at that. It was only within the last few years that I realized this was much more indicative of the idea that I should be a writer. Though I am still drawn to the idea of acting, I now realize that the part I love the most has nothing to do with that, it’s creating the characters and telling the stories, which is something that few actors ever get to do.
I guess the whole point of this post is that, even though it was a mostly overlooked, and short-lived, series on the Sci-Fi channel (back when it was still Sci-Fi, rather than SyFy) The Invisible Man changed my whole life. It made me a writer. It just took me a couple of decades to realize it.
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