Snippets: Before Worm
Author’s Note: I’ve decided on the story I’m going ahead with, and need to take some time to set up the site and rewrite the first chapter. There isn’t much use in continuing with samples, so… something else!
I started to write ‘An Über and Leet Christmas’, and it wasn’t fun, funny or Christmassy. It wasn’t enjoyable, even.
So I was left to think about what other things might be of interest… and I consider this idea kind of a penance. It’s penance because it’s awful and it’s embarrassing to put it out there. A lot of it is really awful. But I think it’s interesting to see where things came from. I’m picking out the strongest or most noteworthy story from a given set of years.
Presenting: the (terrible) stuff I wrote in the superhero genre before settling on Worm. Be warned, these stories don’t have endings (Worm was the first thing that did), so they sort of cut off.
There’s actually a lot of words here. Don’t feel you have to read all of them in one sitting – you’ll hurt yourself. For a sense of what other stories were written, and my (off the top of my head) framing for many of them, see this comment and the follow-up comments on Worm, a while back.
A bit of history, and an insight into how things evolve over the course of building a world through multiple stories.
Runechild (2002) – The first superhero story I really wrote, back in 2002. After the bit I posted, it went onto a tangent with Faultline and never got back on track with a main story.
I personally find it interesting to note the elements that are present. Narwhal, contrary to what I remembered, was the first canon character who was introduced and who stayed with the setting. Runechild, the protagonist, was supposed to be a novice Doctor Strange, but wound up being a telekinetic with a few gimmicks. There was more at play with the ‘is it magic or something else?’ question. In the end, she was the only real character I wrote who didn’t really make it into Worm in one form or another. I would return to it once or twice (the second story featuring her helping Dragon vs. the Dragonslayers, to help circumvent the AI limitations) before deciding that magic didn’t work, and that Ottawa was a crappy place to set a superhero story.
TELUTT (2004) – AKA, ‘the events leading up to that Thursday’.
Not the first draft of TELUTT, the story switched between Faultline, the Triumvirate and Guts & Glory. It was an attempt at tying everything in together. I like that there’s one scene in there (At the end) that was pretty much copied exactly and inserted into Worm, even though I haven’t opened these documents in a long, long time. The nature of Faultline’s meeting with her ‘crew’ is essentially what happened in canon. That said, wow, are my protagonists a pain in the ass to read this early on (arrogant/annoying). At this juncture, I was still figuring out a way to make powers interesting. I was bored with many of them, and I was lapsing into some of the ‘standby’ powers, like tinkers without anything interesting to them.
Guts & Glory (2006ish) – Panacea and Glory Girl. This could count as canon, almost.
Some names have changed since. I recall that Amy would have been Annie if I hadn’t changed my mind a few minutes before Interlude 2 went live, in Worm. The nature of the story would have involved a stronger relationship between Amy/Annie and Brett/Gallant, her finding her way, and ultimately led up to her incarceration. It was too dark, though, and there wasn’t anything to salvage it. All those people who talked about what would happen if Amy had gone to the wrong prison? The other drafts (which are unfortunately handwritten) went into that, and it was ugly, with her basically going full-on Class-S threat.
The Travelers (2007ish) – See the Migration arc.
Basically any drafts I linked would be worse versions of Worm’s arc 17. I wrote them for a while after a friend suggested I was too fond of the ‘crummy powers being used well’ trope.
Circus vs. Elite (2008ish) – Circus was a character I wrote for a while, but she doesn’t feel like she has a lot of personality, looking back.
Hey, Bitch is there, in her first incarnation! And a variant on Bonesaw (who made it into every elite team before settling in the Slaughterhouse Nine)! Chuckles features in a fight as well. This was around the time that I started to conceptualize what I was looking for in a protagonist. I started to write Grue as a protagonist for a short bit before I finally stumbled on Taylor’s character.
Myriad (2010) – Worm, second or third draft.
Oh, man, did I ever write a lot of drafts of Worm, covering a lot of bases. Oh man, do they not feel right, rereading them. This is going to feel really redundant, but hey. I’ve alluded to this before, but I started off trying to emulate other serials, and I was writing too little (600-900 word entries), and it really hurts the flow. I was still finding a voice and an identity for characters at this point. Eight or nine drafts followed this over the months, as I searched for those voices, tried to figure out where to start my story, and struggled to find my stride. Then I started Worm.