Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Starchild--"DVD Extras"

Just out of curiosity, I dug a really, really old manuscript out of my closet yesterday--the original version of Starchild. Why so old? Well, I put the first incarnation of this story to paper when I was in eighth grade. We won't discuss how long ago that was...

Of course the story was different back then, but what I found most interesting was how much was the same. The characters' names didn't change, although in the original version I referred to Fairfax by his first name. That changed in the later incarnations when Harrison Fairfax became, in my head, a sort of spin-off, personality/appearance-wise, of Fox Mulder. So Fairfax and Cavendish started referring to each other by their last names, a la Mulder and Scully. In the original story (which is, by the way, only 135 pages, typed on one of those things we used to have before computers, you know, um, what were they called? Typewriters, that was it...), Kate dies near the beginning. And I killed off Jeff, too, which might be part of why he ended up with his own book this time around. There was still a romance between the leads--I remember being quite embarrassed by it all at the time.

One idea from the book that I seriously considered keeping during the later rewrite was the concept of the aliens. My teenage self produced an alien race that appeared human, but whose body temperature was a few degrees lower than ours. They also could see on the infrared spectrum, so when they encountered humans, they interpreted the higher body temperature as a sign of greater power, and so saw the human settlers as a threat. I liked this idea, but I'd had the idea of a not-quite-human race that communicated via sign language rattling around in my head for quite a while, as well, and in the end that one won because it was more intriguing to me at the time. And another plot element that remained, oddly enough, was Fairfax's leg injury serving as a catalyst to bridge the gap between the human and alien races.

So there you have it--the short version of the journey of Starchild from a teenage effort to a real-life novel. It still makes me smile to think that something I wrote that long ago grew into a publishable work. Maybe I'll pull out some of those old folders and see what other gems I can find...