Fred Kerns-Early Dose of Sci-Fi17 Sep 2014
I've wanted to be a writer almost as far back as I can remember. I grew up watching shows like Star Trek and Doctor Who, and I think it was around the time my parents took me to see The Wrath of Khan that I started to become aware of people who wrote movies, TV shows, and books. They didn't just come into being on their own, I realized. I was around nine or ten at the time.
I started writing at around that time, and of course the results were awful. Even at that age, I knew it was bad, but I kept at it. Over the years, I'd get a few pages into a story, scrap it, and start over, trying out this idea and that, but nothing quite clicked. But I continued to improve.
I submitted my first story to a magazine when I was seventeen. It wasn't accepted, but I kept at it. I hadn't landed on the right combination of characters, setting, dialogue, and action, but I continued getting gradually closer. Things finally started coming together when I connected to the Internet for the first time, back in the late 1990s. I discovered more outlets for my writing, where I could get rapid feedback and experiment with ideas, characters, and so on. I continued writing, practicing, improving.
In early 2002, everything in my head clicked into place and I had the core of my first novel, a huge city a few decades in the future named Neon City. It had once been a collection of small towns that went bankrupt over the years and were all bought up by a group of mega-corporations. They rebuilt the towns, filled in the empty stretches in between, and moved their headquarters, research-and-development and production facilities there. They used it as a test bed for bleeding-edge technology, and eventually the result was a population of fifty million humans, genetically-engineered "anthros," robots, and AI, along with all sorts of gadgets and weapons.