Creativity – The Late 80’s and 90’s

I hope everybody has had a good holiday season. Welcome back.

Last time, I shared King Richard’s retelling of the exploits of Colwin, Sabrina, Panama Joe and others.

Me at Walt Disney World posing with someone dressed as Prince John from the Disney animated classic Robin Hood

Back when my writing alter ego was King Richard. Apparently this is Good King R. consulting with fellow royalty.

Luckily, my creativity streak continued beyond the grade school years into high school.

Sadly, not much remains from that era. I remember writing a story called “Lightpool: Drugs & Diamonds”, that was heavily influenced by the computer game series Police’s Quest.

Box cover of Police Quest - In Pursuit of the Dark Angel computer game

Cover of the first Police Quest game, from Sierra On-Line. I spent a ridiculous amount of time on this one, as well as the Space Quest series.
(image from Wikipedia)

From the little I remember, it was about a South Milwaukee cop (yes, South Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where I grew up) who stumbles upon some drug ring, and embarks on an adventure that takes him undercover and even to Mexico for some reason.

Far more exciting for me was the second round of Knight’s Quest stories that I wrote. The originals that I wrote in grade school featured a warrior named Larky (again, with the “clever” names) and another Sabrina, working for King Richard and taking on all manner of enemies, both domestic and interplanetary.

The next series I wrote, in the late 80s and early 90s was about a different band of heroes. Once again, some of the names were just me being quirky and weird, like the main character being a warrior named Wizardry.

But the party of adventurers were: Wizardry the warrior; Sperry the thief; Moonshadow the warrior and healer; Sazzor the wizard; and Guild the guardsman/archer.

I just learned that my brother has copies of most of these stories, including the “spin-off” called Thief’s Quest, which was a backstory for Sperry. I’m sure they’ll be a treat for me to read (and cringe-worthy at times).

I was so heavily influenced by Dungeons & Dragons and role-playing games that I rigidly stuck to terms like fighter, thief, and cleric because I wanted to stay true to the whole genre. I didn’t feel comfortable enough striking off on my own and being more inventive.

One of the prime inspirations for writing them was the bestselling Avatar Trilogy in the Forgotten Realms book series.

Cover art from the three books in the Avatar Trilogy of the Forgotten Realms series - Shadowdale, Tantras, and Waterdeep

The three books of the Avatar Trilogy, set in the Forgotten Realms.
Photo from:
Comic Books & Novels Sales

As I mentioned, not only do I have the original stories but I have tons of notes detailing how I could re-write them. I have the notes for an 8-story saga. I’ve spent literally my entire adulthood thinking about the characters, setting and other details. Obviously, lots of things require changing, like uncoupling it from Dungeons & Dragons’ jargon and renaming goofy characters like Wizardry, Narchanzar, Fizzle and who the hell knows what others I came up with.

After the second Knight’s Quest series, I don’t believe I finished many other stories on my own. I did have another run during early college though. In my first year, I planned on being an English major and took a couple creative writing classes.

I still have some of the stories from then. Most were forgettable, but a couple still stick in my mind.

Most notably, I wrote Aphrodite. It was a story about a Classics professor named Sidney Timbers, who loses his wife in a car accident and spirals into alcoholism and eventually screwing around with a student of his who reminds him of his wife.

He gets visited by a strange old man, who eventually reveals himself to be a poet from Ancient Greece. He tries to convince Timbers that the classic gods are real, but barely in power because most people don’t believe in them. Timbers professed to not believe in any Greek mythology, at last consciously – he always had considered his wife his Aphrodite. Well, the old man tells him that his wife actually WAS Aphrodite.

Eventually, Timbers figures “What the hell” and winds up getting whisked to ancient Greek times. He tries to track down the goddess Aphrodite. Just when he about loses hope, he gets an audience with the gods and, while the goddess Aphrodite doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about, he tries to convince her to do things differently far in the future, and avoid the car crash.

He awakens from this back home and dismisses it as a dream, but then is greeted by his wife, who reveals she heeded his advice and they live happily ever after.

What I remember (I still have it, thankfully) is that the first half felt quite inspired and unique, but when I took the story to ancient Greece, I completely lost my direction and it wound up pretty lame. Were I to do it again, I’d tweak the beginning but come up with a completely different ending, probably without a literal trip back in time and not necessarily with the fairy tale ending.

I also wrote a decent story about two college guys who dare themselves to visit a supposedly haunted house in the neighborhood, as well as one about an aging pirate who goes on one last voyage in hopes of finding his lost sister.

And that, sadly, was about it. In my final post about this whole creativity thing, I’ll talk about the dozen or so fragments of stories I’ve still got, many of them inspired by some great dreams I had, that I was smart enough to take notes on.

Creativity Series

  1. Creativity
  2. Creativity – Me & the ’70s and ’80s
  3. Creativity – More Fun in the ’80s
  4. Creativity – The Late 80’s and 90’s
  5. Creativity – Then and Now

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