Writing and Editing by Gary L. Wade

Ever since I was a young child, I’ve wanted to write. I wrote my first novel in fifth grade, a sci-fi story called World War III and inspired by my love of sci-fi, especially Star Trek, and a starship model I assembled resembling Jules Vernes’ Nautilus from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, but named by the manufacturers as the Interplanetary UFO Mystery Ship. My hand-written tome spanned 200 pages on both sides of narrow ruled paper. The manuscript, unfortunately, has been lost to antiquity, but I’m sure it would have been a bestseller if it were available today.

When I moved on to sixth grade, I wrote a class newspaper based on imaginative stories involving my classmates, using drawings and magazine cut-outs for the graphics. Because this was the pre-personal computer era and I used mimeograph and Xerox machines as my printing presses, high-quality graphics weren’t that important. At that time, I wasn’t aware that advertisers should pay for their placement, so I just included ones featuring Now and Laters and other products I enjoyed.

In seventh grade, after the release of the movie Jaws, a single was released, Mr. Jaws, in which clips from songs were the answers provided by the shark to a reporter. Along with two classmates, I capitalized upon its success by writing a number of similar interviews of classmates, superheroes, and movie characters, which were featured in my English class and recorded using the cutting edge technology of recordable eight track tapes.

My creative writing class in ninth grade provided me the opportunity to write and film a script about an interstellar war between Earth and the Strudite Empire with another classmate. In the production, I played both the President of Earth and the Strudite Emperor. Since Strudites were reptiles, I used green grease paint and rolled my eyes back to produce the illusion of no pupils. I was quite scary. However, the cutting edge stop-action filming techniques we used to move Buck Rodgers model fighters through space with a warp field of stars following along below the ship caught everyone’s attention and provided us with numerous accolades.

During the second semester of my tenth grade, I joined the high school newspaper to further my writing career. Since my adviser and other school staff members believed I had attended many of the school’s sporting events (I had never been to one), I would be a great sports photographer, so I gave it a shot. Even though I was only on the staff for the second half of the year and wasn’t even attending the period when the newspaper class met, nor was I even on the yearbook staff, over one-third of the photos placed in the yearbook that year were mine. Besides having an affinity for the craft, it helped having the same teacher as adviser to both newspaper and yearbook.

For my junior year, I was promoted to photo editor for both newspaper and yearbook, but I kept my foot in writing through a number of features and beat stories. I also began using the computer lab’s Apple II+ and multi-user computer system to write applications, including a simple database of the titles for that year’s newspaper’s articles, my individual attempt to create a rudimentary electronic morgue.

After feeling exhausted from all the extra work of being photo editor for both newspaper and yearbook and wanting to devote myself more fully to writing and computer programming, I chose to only pursue the copy editor position on the newspaper staff my senior year.

With my interest in computer programming growing, I chose to pursue a B.S. degree in Computer Science rather than any form of writing even though it was quite clear from my ACT scores that language arts was my strongest skill with mathematics following very closely. As a result, I took only what language arts classes were needed for my degree program; I knew my Honors Comp professor was saddened by my choice, but I was sure software development was my best choice for a career, and it truly was for a number of years after graduation.

A month after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, I was laid off and out of work in my field until July 2004. During that time, I reconsidered my earlier love of writing and began reading Writer’s Digest and other books on the craft in order to refresh my knowledge and interest, taking notes on a number of story ideas. I eventually found work in software development and returned my renewed interest in writing to the back burner so I could focus more on my new job.

To exercise my writing talents, I wrote some poems. Some were liked while others were not, but it didn’t really matter to me—I had performed my first post-college attempt at creative writing.

Three years after starting my new job, I found myself matched through an online dating site with a newly published author during the same week her book was reviewed on a Christian fiction review web site. After contacting her and developing a long-time e-mail friendship, I began to renew my interest in writing. During our e-mails, I learned about her own personal struggles and writing challenges, many of which I was already aware of that most writers face, but knowing her personally made them more real to me.

A few years later, another friend was renewing her visa and green card application during a trip back to China. Since the process lasted longer than she anticipated, my friend took a job translating Chinese television documentaries into English. Although her English was good, she wasn’t a native speaker, so I assisted her by editing her translations, earning her quite the reputation so she received more work than she could possibly do.

After being inspired by a friend who posted his poetry on Facebook, I decided to post the ones I wrote in 2003 also. Soon afterwards, a female friend made it known to me and all our common friends she believed they were about her even though I hadn’t met her until 2007, and she demanded I take them down. After suffering under her concept of “creative reality,” the title for a future story came to me, “The Lying Queen.” Shortly thereafter, similar experiences brought other titles to mind, “The Jealous Ten,” “The Prima Dona Jack,” “The Tyrant King,” and “The Arrogant Ace.” The “Royal Flush of the Jaded Hearts” was born.

After three years of hearing of my published-author-friend’s experiences at the American Christian Fiction Writer’s conference, I decided to attend ACFW’s 2010 conference in Indianapolis. I figured if I spent lots of money on airfare, hotel, and car rental, that would be the kick I needed to move forward with my writing. Not having a completed manuscript, I decided just attending and soaking in all I could would still be worth it. I enjoyed the times of worship, talks, and classes in which I was reminded that Jesus used story to illustrate the truths of God and His kingdom. As a result, I came to realize I was not less of a Christian for believing it my calling to read or write fiction, as one friend had made me feel.

I am currently working on a series of science-fiction novels about the early pioneers of interstellar travel, their contact with non-terrestrial life, and the spiritual, political, relational, and intellectual challenges affecting those from Earth and their counterparts on other worlds.