I got into writing because of Mr Joss Whedon. I'm not going to say I acted out almost every episode of Buffy and Angel back in the day, but after watching an episode I could never stop thinking how awesome it would be to inhabit that world. To be Angel, or Spike, or Riley, hell, even Xander! But since that's impossible, the next best thing is to write it, yeah?
That's my general thinking on writing - would I like to be in this world, to hang out with these characters? If not, then I've failed.
The first bit of fiction I ever wrote was after Angel finished. I heard that the series was going to continue in comic book form, which pissed me off since the show ended on such an amazing note and I felt I knew what was going to happen - Angel, Spike, Illyria and Gunn (mortally wounded) were facing down an army of demons, with a giant and a dragon thrown into the mix. They die. It's that simple - Angel goes out on a battlecry with the message "always keep fighting", but they lose that battle. They all die! But the point is, they fight.
I can't help but quote Angel himself:
This isn't a "keep fighting the good fight" kind of deal. Let's be clear. I'm talking about killing every... single... member... of the Black Thorn. We don't walk away from that.
We do this, the senior partners will rain their full wrath. They'll make an example of us. I'm talking full-on hell, not the basic fire-and-brimstone kind that we're used to.
Ten to one, we're gone when the smoke clears. They will do everything in their power to destroy us. So... I need you to be sure. Power endures. We can't bring down the Senior Partners, but for one bright shiny moment we can show them that they don't own us. You need to decide for yourselves if that's worth dying for. I can't order you to do this. Can't do it without you. So we'll vote... as a team. Think about what I'm asking you to do. Think about what I'm asking you to give.But I digress. I decided to try my hand at writing a Spike spin-off thingy. It was in prose form and absolutely terrible! And I mean seriously shite! But the one thing that was good was how I wrote Spike - I'd known the character for about 7 years so that meant I was able to write him easily.
This was, of course, before I decided writing was something I wanted to do as a career. Back then it was all a bit of fun - I wrote whatever I wanted to write. And it was crap.
I wrote a TV episode. It was for Firefly. Now Firefly was loooong dead by this point - it was never going to happen. But it was great fun. I believe my episode was about Jayne being left behind on a planet (the crew of Serenity didn't notice until they were miles away, naturally). So the decision was - do we go back and get Jayne? It it was Kaylee or Mal left behind, hell yeah. But Jayne? Really?
Anyway, the episode was, as previously mentioned, poo. But, again, I managed to nail the voices of the characters, because I knew them so well.
So if I could write for any TV shows past, present or future, it would definitely be Buffy, Angel and Firefly (there's a whole Joss Whedon theme here, you may notice). Notably not Dollhouse. Sorry, Joss.
But when push comes to shove, if there's any set of characters I could write for - what would be my absolute dream - it would be the X-Men.
X-Men is still one of the finest pieces of fiction ever conceived. I started reading them at school, grabbing whatever issues were lying around. I didn't understand it all, because if you pick up a random X-Men issue now, you'll need a Masters degree in Mutant Ethics to have the slightest clue what's going on.
But these characters are the core of what makes it great. The constant tension between Wolverine and Cyclops and the love triangle with Jean Grey. Beast's ongoing internal struggle with the creature within. Colossus' connections with his old family. Emma Frost's constant questionable allegiances. This is what makes X-Men. That, combined with the brilliant moral, ethical and political "mutant problem", make it amazing to read.
I could quite comfortably sit for an entire year and write nothing but X-Men. Unlike Hellblazer, where I would probably find myself repeating what's gone before, X-Men still has stories yet to be told.
For example, if I were to create a live-action X-Men TV show (my undying dream), I would remove Wolverine. Don't get me wrong, Logan is amazing and possibly my favourite mutant, but he's been done to death now - everyone knows who he is and what he's all about. At most, he would pop in every now and then, fuck things up, and piss off. In classic Wolvie fashion.
No, my X-Men team would quite simply consist of Cyclops (the classic, core, father-figure of the group - if it ain't broke, don't fix it), Colossus (who would do a lot more than just stand there and hit things - thank you, Mr Brett Ratner!), Shadowcat (for her awesome relationship with Colossus), Beast (as a solitary quiet type, a mere shadow of his former self) and Psylocke (because every team needs a psychic). That's where I stand. And, no, I would not throw Gambit in there just to please fanboys!
Anyway, that would be my dream - to write the X-Men, either on TV (preferably), film or comic book. Now, there's very very little chance this will ever happen, but I can't see X-Men ever dying. So it'll be around for a long long while. Whether it'll get better or worse is anyone's guess - probably both. I'm not holding my breath, but maybe, just maybe, I'll one day have the opportunity to write the X-Men. And then I can die a very happy dude!
So, what about you? If you could write any set of characters, who would it be? Friends, Cheers, Lost, 24, James Bond, The Avengers, Spider-Man, Dr Who, Harry Potter?
Let me know.
Over and out.
PS: if you've never read a comic book before in your life, just watching this video and you might change your mind......