Hard to believe that on this day 10 years ago, The Blackthornes made its debut on the web. That first episode, aptly titled “The Next Mrs. Blackthorne”, was a long time in coming. I wrote the entire first season (twenty-three 6k word episodes) in the spring of 2004 while recovering from a motocross injury that left me on crutches for three months. Writing wasn’t new for me. It, along with politics and dirt bikes, were my lifeblood, and to some degree still are. The earliest piece of fiction I can remember writing was a Star Wars fanfic that took place after Return of the Jedi but was essentially a scene for scene copy of the film. Later there was a spiral-bound collaborative effort that was passed around the halls of Van Nuys High School for an entire semester, and was some of the rawest, raunchiest, perverse “erotica’ to spill from a tenth graders mind.
But things got serious when I wrote a forty-some episode series called The Young At Heart and was a cross between Dynasty, All My Children, and some hijinks that went on one year in school. Then came a series called Moonshadows that lasted several seasons and that I tried to ressurect years later as one of many attempts at a spin off of The Blackthornes.
Finally, that spring of 2004, I was glued to SoapNet for weeks when I came up with the idea for The Blckthornes. It was basically Dynasty set in Hollywood. For a while, I posted it on a Dynasty fan website as a spin-off fanfic, but eventually eliminated any reference to its inspiration series. It wasn’t until over a year later that a friend helped me get a website going and directed me to Epiguide. By early December of 2005 I had a very crude website built and posted a new episode every week. Nobody read. I can’t really blame them. Over the years, so many webseries have come and gone that it’s difficult to allow yourself to make an effort to get into one if it’s just going to disappear in a few episodes. Still, I remained resilient. After a short hiatus following season one, I went full steam ahead into season 2 and posted every week. Still, no one read.
Finally, when season three launched in January of 2007, I started getting some recognition from other webseries writers. I don’t know if it was because I’d broken through the barrier so many new series find themselves up against as a “newbie” or that I shed some of my bad writing habits from earlier episodes and started writing more outside-the-box material. Either way, I remember that being a very productive, fertile time in the community. The rest, as they say, is history. After six seasons The Blackthornes is an accomplishment that I’m very proud of, and defined a decade of my life. Will I ever go back? The truth is I don’t know. But of course I never say never, and I love my characters like they were real people. If I do revisit that world, it would have to be done in a new and different way. For now, there’s a permanent timeslot in cyberspace for The Blackthornes. I love nothing more than to tune in to a random episode and remember what was going on in my life when I wrote it. It’s those memories that I wrap myself in when the world gets cold and lonely.
Until next time.