So, if you read my other blog entitled, What Inspired Me to Write, you will read about the first series I wrote called Legend of the Ape Men parts 1 thru 8. Largely inspired by Planet of the Apes and mixed a bit with Star Trek the original series. Captain Kirk and Thundarr the Barbarian became templates of heroes I would write about. As I grew older and learned more and started seeing how stories especially in comic books tied together, I started doing that with my stories. I was writing all the time at the little table next to my dad’s desk. My dad and I would exchange the stories we wrote and offer suggestions. When I told my dad that I wanted to write my own ongoing series, he got me my first desk and upgraded all my writing supplies. My dad never sent anything of his own in for review but he encouraged me to send mine in and after each rejection he told me to fix it or change it but never throw it. He made sure to read all my rejection letters and when I was depressed about them, he would always push me back to writing. He noticed that started writing things to appease others. I remember when he told me, “Write the story I want to write.” My first real submission attempt was Tiger Man America’s Adventurer. It was a G. I Joe type tale at first and then turned into a spy type story and eventually a superhero. My dad pulled me aside and asked what I enjoyed writing the most. I said space. I wanted to write the next Battlestar Galactica, Star Trek or Star Wars. My dad told me to use my other stories as practice but when I was serious, I had to write space stories. I mixed up my westerns, horror and a small soap opera serial, I called “Heat” to get a blend of things that I soon saw bleeding into my space stories. I started writing a series called Great Space War.
I continued to send in stuff but started to get more selective. I devised a list if items or standards and checked my stories to that list. If they did not have everything on that list, they went to a rewrite folder and if they did, they got sent in. My dad told me never to throw a story away. If I did not like it keep it and take the parts I did like and apply to my next story. I watched a show called Farscape and it changed everything. It was Star Wars, Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica with attitude and a more mature level. It became my favorite franchise. I started reading more mature comics as well as the others. I started piecing parts of stories together and brought out the old story, Great Space War.
It was now that I decided that I was going to build by own universe. One of the first aliens I ever drew was a reptilian race of intelligent carnivores. They were the standard alien I wanted in this new universe. They started as reptile men like Sleestaks from Land of the Lost. They changed between brown, black and green at first and as I grew older and wiser, they evolved with me. They became green, brown or orange. They had tails and snouts sometimes did not. They were always to my knowledge called Derths. They ended up orange, snoutless and with dagger tipped tails.
I started matching technology and planet environments. I mapped out where planets were located from each other. I started making files with information on each alien race including special skills, languages, planets, descriptions of appearance, affiliations and anything I felt would be needed to draw upon. I started role playing games and seen how characters were made and developed from level to level. I took in how characters in movies and TV changed and how each encounter grew the characters and gave them background experience. I started to piece everything together. I would remove things I felt did not fit and make constant changes to alien races and individual characters and worlds. I constructed from one small notebook a universe that now was at least six binders of information. My dad always had a villain he called the Claw. I became liking villains more than heroes. I wanted to honor my dad for all he did to push me to write so I made sure the Claw ended up somewhere in this universe. It became a Black Guard starship, but the name was there. Now it came time to give this universe of so much varied creations a name. I wrestled with Great Space War, Star Warriors, Space Run, Fallen Galaxies, and Beyond the Sun. Then it was War Shadows of Suns and Stars, Shadows behind the Sun, Star Shadows. It eventually became Shadowed Stars and I never looked back. I knew that I could make this work and over many years and distractions, Shadowed Stars remained in my desire. Now I am building it to what I wanted it to always be.