Badlands, Bad Writing, and the Best Damn Thing.

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This post is a part of the Teens Can Write, Too! Blog Chain for October, the question being; ‘What is the first thing you remember writing of your own accord?’ Delorfinde kicked off yesterday with an excellent post, Escape! A Play and set the bar for the posts to come this month. I’m sweating right now.

 So, first of all, how many of you remember this show?

Okay, second, you’re most likely wondering what in the heck Dragonball Z has to do with answering the question, or writing in general, right? Essentially, everything. The short version of the story is as follows; when I was eight, I couldn’t sleep, so I got up, and decided to watch TV for a while. My dad was still awake and watching DBZ … it may seem a little odd for a man in his late thirties to be watching this, but my dad was always a fan of Martial Arts films, so I can see what the draw would have been. Anyway, I started watching it with him. It was great for me and dad to have something we shared an interest in. This interest, as they often do, gradually grew into an obsession that sometimes bordered on the insane – I missed a week of school to re-watch video-taped marathons of the show. At eight, this was as far as it went. By ten, I was scripting my own episodes, with a (Mary-Sueish) character I’d created. By thirteen, my first ‘masterpiece’ was complete – a fan fiction following my character, Kerroi, and her exploits.

For a while, my dad insisted I send the scripted episodes, and later, the fan fiction, to Akira Toriyama and get him to create a new series from them. This inspired something rather different; obsessed as I was with Dragonball Z, I thought … what if I could write something new, something original on the basis of what I’d already done?

Dragon Badlands didn’t follow the plot of Dragonball Z but looking back, the most obvious things I lifted from the series were the characters – sure, I gave them all spiffy names like Ekaia, Zehio, Jalkie and Nelisha, but at the very bottom of their character sheets, I likened them all to characters from DBZ. The plot didn’t really bear any similarities. The intention was for it to be a ‘journey’, sure … I mapped out the entirety of the Dragon Badlands and it had everything I could have possibly wanted to traverse; a city bordered by a jungle, on the other side of which there was a seaside town, surrounded by a desert which led to a canyon, a lake to cross, and finally, the mountain range. Oh, and there was a castle somewhere, too. The plot was loose, something along the lines of ‘The Embodiment of Evil has broken free of the Dragon Star and you have to stop it before it reaches Dragon City by crossing the deadly Dragon Badlands’ … yeah, I liked dragons. Anyway, nothing too complex for my eleven-year-old mind to handle, a nice little journey with some possible death and destruction, romance, secrets, the usual. Looking back, now, I’m surprised by just how warped my brain at eleven years old was, but I’ll spare you all the details of that.

This story was truly amazing. It was the most innovative, original idea I’d ever had. Sure, I’d written a few violent crime thrillers in school, and something I vaguely remember that concerned a nun bludgeoning someone to death with a candle holder (see, warped), but this … this was amazing. It was going to be my debut work, and I was going to be rich and famous like J.K. Rowling.

I stopped working on Dragon Badlands around the same time as we got hooked up to the Internet here at home (dial-up … that thing where you have to turn off the Internet to use the phone, or vice versa) and I found all these really wonderful Dragonball Z related websites, and later, MFG Forums, which prompted me to start work on Dragonball KK. As I said, obsessed. I’d also just started high school around this time, and found myself distracted, enough that I didn’t have the time to sit down and write anymore.

It’s a bit presumptuous of me to call Dragon Badlands a story anyway. There were a few chapters floating around the house, written in red ball-point pen, but I never got much past the ‘gang’ establishing that the Embodiment of Evil had broken out of the Dragon Star. No traversing jungles, deserts, canyons … no, nothing. Essentially, most of it happened in my head which, truth be told, is about as far as most of my stories get anyway. It wasn’t my first complete story, let’s say that.

It was my first, real, original story, though, all … two or three chapters of it. I don’t count anything I wrote before this time, on the basis that there was always some assignment it was tied to. Write this way, or that way. Some specification.

Dragon Badlands was more than an idea, though. More than a story, even. It became a place for me to retreat to; this escape from school (I had a medical issue at the time that, essentially, warranted people staring at me like a circus freak), and a time when I could actually feel … like somebody. To have fans of my work that were as obsessive as I was about Dragonball Z. To create something that meant that much to others, as much as it did to me … in short, all the insanities of a pubescent girl (yes, I said that) who felt like nothing and wanted to be something.

So. I now urge you all to check out this month’s Teens Can Write, Too! Blog Chain. It includes a plethora of great teen writers, all of which, I am sure, will have their own unique take on answering this question;

October 15th — http://delorfinde.wordpress.com – A Farewell To Sanity

October 16th — https://thelitjunkie.wordpress.com – Eat, Sleep, Write, Repeat

October 17th — http://taystapeinc.wordpress.com – Tay’s Tape

October 18th — http://noveljourneys.wordpress.com/ – Novel Journeys

October 19th —- http://greatlakessocialist.wordpress.com/ – Red Herring Online

October 20th —http://kirstenwrites.wordpress.com/ – Kirsten Writes!

October 21st — http://incessantdroningofaboredwriter.wordpress.com–  The Incessant Droning of a Bored Writer

October 22nd — http://herestous.wordpress.com – Here’s To Us

October 23rd — http://teenscanwritetoo.wordpress.com – Teens Can Write Too! (We will be announcing the topic for the next month’s chain)

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17 Comments

Filed under Writing & Literature

17 responses to “Badlands, Bad Writing, and the Best Damn Thing.

  1. Nice detailed post! Likes it a lot. So your story is a masterpiece, eh? Well, mine certainly isn’t. You set the bar very high, nice job! Now on to Tays Tape for tomorrows post. :D

    • Thanks! :D and lol, to my 11-year-old self, it totally was. xD honestly, though? The story about the nuns was better. *nods* aww … but most first pieces … everyone’s gotta start somewhere. (: and I’m glad you think so! (: I had a few ideas, in the end, I went with this one, though, as I guess it was the most accurate interpretation of what I did back then. (: and indeed! I look forward to it!

  2. Nice Post… I too created Worlds that I didn’t do much with, but I also Created Worlds when Running Dungeon & Dragons, and that was very Satisfying. I never watched Dragonball Z, but I do have a Kick A#@$ Black Hoody, with the Orange Haired Guy on it? Not sure who it was, lol

    DarkJade-

    • Thanks! (: … and I can imagine it would be – it definitely sounds fun! When I moderated an RPG forum, I found the similar sort of thing … it was so great to have that freedom, definitely. :D … damn, I’m jealous. xD and orange hair … ooh, I shall have to find this out! :D

      • Yeah, I actually just located it… It’s a thick black Hoody, and on the inside of the Hood it’s Floerecent Orange… On the Front is a Patch of it might be “Goku”, but with Orange Hair like I say… The sweatshirt was made in 2001, marked http://www.dragonballz.com, but I actually bought at a mall. It’s very cool, but basically unwearable now, it is warn out, lol

        DarkJade-

  3. Wow…I’m starting to sweat as I think of the standards I have to match for this blog chain! How will I describe the horrendous beast that is my first story in an engaging way? I’d better get to work…
    I’ve heard that fanfiction starts off a lot of writers. I guess I’m an exception–I’ve never written fanfiction in my life, at least not consciously. Given, some of my earlier works did bear suspicious similarities to my favorite books… :)

    • Don’t worry! I have no doubt that your post will be excellent. ^^ I know what you mean, though … it was a tough one, trying to figure out how to convey this, especially as it goes back so far! I didn’t even have the internet back when I was 11, that’s a really, really scary prospect. xD … and same – I guess it’s a nice way to ease into writing? Adapting something you already know … and it’s all good :D influence and all that. (: looking forward to seeing your entry ^^

  4. Miriam Joy

    Oh, I’m sure everyone’s done a fan fiction of some sort. Me, I used to rip off LotR in everything I wrote, even if it wasn’t explicit. I only got called up on it about twice, too. :)

    • I know a lot of people who have (: … way back, and even now, to be honest, I still write Fallout fan fiction every now and then. xD and awesome! I definitely did similar things … I think when I was about 8 (just before the DBZ obsession came along), I used to play Spyro the Dragon as well, and we were asked to create a fantasy world in English. Not content with taking elements from the sequel game, EVERYTHING in that fantasy world, as well as the characters, were from Spyro 2. My teacher never did figure that one out. xD

    • I’ve never actually written fan fic. Actually, I may have ripped off the Secrets of Droon as a six year old. Not sure. You’ll have to tell me when you get to my post. :D Both of yours were so good!

  5. It’s okay Allegra. My post will be embarrassing as well. We all have to begin somewhere…. How in the world will I describe that random, poorly written story? I don’t know… Try not to laugh please when I post. Yes, it will be funny. :D It’s been an awesome blog chain so far. *turn back to his To Kill A Mockingbird essay and sighs*

  6. I’m totally with you: when I start thinking about a story, most of it happens in my head before it ever gets onto a page. Great post!

    • Thanks ^^ and indeed! I find it even now – it gets me really excited, I think through all of these things, get really enthusiastic … but only about 50% of these ideas ever really happen. Roleplaying was a great chance to execute a lot of them, but most of the time, mind before … uh, word document. xD

  7. Great post! I never got into DBZ, but I too made up stories about my favorite television characters. Actually, the first thing I remember about that sort of story was taking my television character merchadise (My Little Pony, Scooby Doo, etc.), pretending the world had ended, and that they had to rebuild. I was a weird little kid.
    But we all have to start somewhere, I guess. My first stories were… weird, too, though I can’t say that I was as thorough as you were when I was eleven myself.
    Hoenstly, my favorite part of this blog chain is seeing all of these fantastic posts by people I would never have heard of. I really love your blog!

    • Thanks ^^ … and that’s always fun to do, really. xD and I wouldn’t say weird at all – just imaginative. Very imaginative. (:

      Exactly … personally, I’ve noticed a natural progression (something I am thankful for xD) … and it’s fine, most times I wasn’t. (: in part, I put it down to wanderlust, and other than that, playing video games and watching anime. xD the world building part, at that time, just seemed so much more fun than writing it. (:

      Aww, well thank you!! Glad you do. ^^ and likewise here … and yep, it’s a really fun experience, thought-provoking and like you say, gives a chance to access some excellent blogs!

  8. Oh my gosh! I LOVED Dragon Ball Z!!! They show a whole bunch of remastered episodes and movies on Nickoloadeon (spell check) right now and I am rediscovering the awesomeness of it. Great post!

  9. Pingback: Underworldly: The Start of Something Very Strange … | Eat, Sleep, Write, Repeat

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