Guest Blog: Jeffrey Allen
"Alright you Primitive Screwheads, listen up! You see this? This... is my boomstick!"
I love Army of Darkness and no, it has nothing to do with this week's blog post. It's the greatest B movie and I thought it was a good opening line.
While Drew is out gallivanting and saving the world, he's given me the keys to the batcave today. That's right, my friends, I'm in charge now and I take credit cards, money orders, and cold-hard cash to unlock the remaining chapters of Super Powereds Year 3 and Corpies.
Just one second, my phone is ringing...
Sorry, that was Drew and he says that I'm not allowed to do any of that. I'm just here as a guest blogger. Figures.
Anyways, I'm here to talk about 'Pay it Forward'. No, not that sappy movie with Kevin Spacey and Helen Hunt where the 'I see dead people' kid dies at the end by some random act of violence (oops, spoiler), I'm talking about helping others who provide all of us free entertainment through their stories.
You see, once upon a time I had a dream to write a novel. Yeah, me, the guy who hated English classes in school and was the math geek. I wanted to write a novel and the idea of putting together 100k coherent words together scared me. And then I met Drew. I asked him some questions about plot and character development and guess what? He wrote back. Yes, our exhalted Drunkard King actually wrote back to the new kid on the block with very basic questions. And then he wrote back again and again. This was about a year ago.
Drew didn't ask for anything from me and I didn't have anything to give him, or so I thought. But over time, I learned that I had knowledge that many authors actually wanted. I know how to build dynamic websites in WordPress (WP). If you don't know, WP is a framework, a set of core files that work together to build a generic website that pulls information from a database. These files can be modified using plugins for some cool effects. But WP does not work very well for novels without some help because WP is blogging software.
So I started my story and I wrote a few blog entries now and then, but one post was continually clicked and became the most popular for weeks.
This changed the course of modern history. Not really, but it did lead to new ideas for a lot of people.
Drew wanted a place where writers could come together and work to build a community for the Superhero genre. The first phase of that idea took the form of the Pen and Cape Society. The website was designed using The Pen in the Stone but with a few more plugins and a different theme. We even added a forum for readers and authors. It's not the shiniest forum in the world but it works and it was free.
But Drew was not done. Now he wanted to create a place called StarterSerials.com for new authors to hone their skills and work under the guidance of more experienced authors . This was truly a 'Pay it forward' moment (for him and me). Drew used my blog post on how I created ThePenintheStone.com to create StarterSerials.com on his own. Now he was the learner and I was the master. Remember that forum I mentioned at PCS? Drew added one to Starter Serials all by himself. I was a proud WebDev Papa when he told me.
I thought I had nothing to offer, but in reality, I had knowledge that Drew wanted to use to help others. To 'Pay it Forward' does not mean bartering or exchanging services, but helping others by sharing your knowledge and your time. I've already signed up for StarterSerials to write a new SciFi story as a mentor (God help us all), but I'm always also a learner.
Think about how you can help. It never hurts to get some good deeds in the nice column.
And make sure you bookmark StarterSerials.com so you can check out the new stories that will show up there starting in July. Maybe you'll find a new favorite author (other than Drew, of course). Even better, why don't you toss your hat in the ring as a new writer and see where your imagination takes you.
Jeffrey Allen is a multimedia specialist and serial writer at his site ThePenintheStone.com.