From my junior year in high school to several years later, I was inspired to become a writer. I felt that my time in role playing had given me the keys to open the creative juices for writing fiction. I took a creative writing course my junior year. Worst mistake ever! The instructor had a serious distaste for Stephen King, and since I had had him for sophomore English the year prior and wrote a report on King, I’m sure he had low expectations for me.
I put my heart and soul into my writing for this class. I wrote short stories, came up with concepts, kept a journal of potential stories to write about, and even devoted an entire spiral notebook to character names. My goal at the time was to become a writer like Stephen King. He was my idol, I wanted to follow in his footsteps and I felt that I had the talent. My instructor made sure that these feelings were quashed. I felt he gave my papers a very critical view because of my interest in the horror genre and Stephen King. He had expressed in the sophomore class that he found horror to be a “distasteful genre” and that he would prefer our writings to be of a more “literary” style. I ignored his requests. I received poor grades in his classes. I probably would’ve received even poorer grades had I not aced every single test in gave us. Even though I didn’t like doing the work he had asked of us, it didn’t mean that I didn’t understand what he was teaching. I feel that his influence may have led to the inevitable decline of my writing interest.
After high school, I kept the notebooks for a while. I even entertained the idea of creating a comic book with Ernie, since he was a very talented artist, based off of a couple of characters we had created for one of the Heroes Unlimited games we played. It was called Shadows of Justice and I had scripted the first issue, came up with a synopsis for a 5-issue mini-series to start, and Ernie had penciled/inked/lettered the first 6 or 7 pages. I sent our proposal to Dark Horse comics, who I had corresponded with to find out the guidelines for submitting the proposal, and after 3 or 4 stressful months, they sent us a form letter of rejection. Yet another crushing blow to my dream of becoming a published writer. I believe that it was shortly after this time that I finally threw-out my notebooks from high school. I can only remember one of the plots that I had in there. Perhaps I will finally write it when I find my inspiration for it again.
This transition also came to a head when I walked into the local Waldenbooks to find new role playing game books on the shelf. Titles of Vampire: The Masquerade and Werewolf: The Apocalypse from a company called White Wolf Games. I had always been interested in the supernatural, so these games caught my attention. I bought the first editions of these books, even though the cover of the Werewolf book was badly torn. This book is infamous for having a claw mark on the front cover. The first edition was a paperback, and the claw mark was through the front cover instead of an illustrated claw mark; which they did in the revised edition of the book.
The games were a part of the system collectively known as the World of Darkness along with games like Mage: The Ascension, Wraith: The Oblivion and Changeling: The Dreaming, they would be the core of the system that would take over my life for the next 16+ years.
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