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Michael Sweeney
A diverging courage
The following is a TWGnewswire Interview with Edward H. Bart IV, one of the primary writer's for The Courageous.

A diverging courage.
A TWG Interview

TWG - You do a lot of co-writing writing with your group AlterEgo Inc. How has this affected the stories you tell or the direction you take with charecters?

Eddie - Sometimes three heads is better than one... the others come in handy for proofreading your own work. It's too easy for someone to miss errors because they are certain they caught every error they made as they typed. It also helps in generating ideas. If I get stuck on a plot I'm working on, I can turn to the others for brainstorming sessions, coming away with a perspective or idea I probably wouldn't have gotten on my own.

TWG - What prompted you to start writing Star Trek fan fiction?

Eddie - Jesse Catalano came up with an idea for a Deep Space Nine story and in discussing it with me, asking for feedback and proofreading help, it fueled my own creative juices and desires to tell Star Trek stories.

TWG - You chose to write about an alternate history with The Courageous, while common in fan fiction most tend to take an extreme example of a worst case scenario. Do you feel that you went that far with yoru story line, and what prompted you to diverge from the cancon time line?

Eddie - Who says we won't end up using the worst case scenario? And what really IS the worst case scenario?

In any case, I can't speak for the others, but one of my goals in telling stories in The Courageous is to take the concept of the Dominion War further than the writers and producers of Deep Space Nine allowed it to, along with some Voyager concepts. Stuff you wouldn't be allowed to do on a Star Trek TV show because you have to deal with budgets and actors. I think in a way, that's one appeal of Star Trek Fan Fiction.

TWG - You group has been very prolific and contributed a great deal to the TWG Archive. How has such a large body of work, with some many authors helped or hindered the stories you wanted to tel yourself? have you ever started working on a story only to find it over ruled, or shot down because of something some else had done?

Eddie - Well I don't feel very prolific... my writing discipline has slacked off a lot. I suppose we do have more stories than some TWG members, less than other TWG members. One thing that shows up is continuity. Sometimes we forget what happened in a story we wrote last year, although it takes place a month before the events of the current story.

I've had some ideas shot down because it turned out that another fan fic writer has already done it, or it has shown up on a Star Trek television show before I was able to write the story.

TWG - How about your ideas? From where do they come? Do you simply sit down to write, or do you have to be "inspired"?

Eddie - My ideas come from different sources. As I just said earlier, I wanted to take some ideas further than DS9 and VOY did on their television shows. The easiest idea generator is always "What if..." Another source of ideas come out of the general storyline we want to tell in The Courageous. Taking a nod from Babylon 5, we wanted to give the story a definite ending, and with that ending in mind, we need to figure out, how do we get from Point A to Point Z? Sometime's it's easy to figure that out. Sometimes it's not.

TWG - Do you read a lot of fan fiction, Star Trek or otherwise?

Eddie - No. In general, I don't have time to read fan fic on top of required readings for school and the latest paperback out.

TWG - Who are your favorite professional authors?

Eddie - I assume they have to be living... Peter David, J. Michael Straczynski (he does have books published)... I've enjoyed the team of Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens. Right now my reading is pretty much limited to licensed TV/Movie novels, and required reading. The last assignment I really enjoyed reading was "The Watsons Go to Birmingham 1963" by Christopher Paul Curtis.

TWG - Do you have aspirations towards publication? Any non-Trek work of yours around we can read?
Eddie - Yeah, I do have aspirations for publication. The majority of my fiction is Trek fan fiction, but I have academic essays and very short screenplays available on my website at http://home.earthlink.net/~ehbiv/writing I also have a book that I'm sort of shopping around for publication.

TWG - Do you have any plans for new stories?

Eddie - Almost always. We have a pile of ideas that we can build stories around. Right now we're working on finishing the 7th story, which will lead into the 8th. I'm also working on a cosmetic redesign of our site. We're hoping to get the 7th story posted on the website before the end of the year.

TWG - If you had the chance would you go back and do anything differently? Change the ship, crew or setting?

Eddie - We all have different things we "wish" we had done/not done, but for myself, I would not have started out with so many main characters. It's very difficult to juggle 12 main characters. Also I would have liked to work out the logic of some elements of our story universe more deeply-- Rank structure, politics, technology, distances, etc.

TWG - Many Star Trek fans get very excited when they read The Courageous and the other popular fan fiction series at TWG. What would your advice be to them if they wanted to start their own series, or tell an exciting adventure?

Eddie - Think about your story. Ask yourself why does this character do what he/she/it does? Why do they say this or that? Is this really the right consequence of this action?

And attempt to be as original as you can be. If you can describe your story as "it's like Star Trek IV but with Jedi-like beings and instead of whales, it's dolphins..." then the story had better go in a VERY different direction than your source material, otherwise it would be a waste of your reader's time.

And try to spellcheck! One great tip is to have a friend read the story before you post it- another set of eyes will catch error or inconsistencies that you may have overlooked. Also your reader can help you catch things that "don't make sense" like for example, why does Captain So-and-So use a shuttlecraft here when he could have just used the transporter?
Those are just the things I feel useful in writing my Star Trek fan fiction.

TWG - Of all the writing mistakes, typos, grammos or errors, what are your personal favorites? Can you list five? Ex. their vis-a-vis there, mistaking "your" for "you're," etc.

Eddie - Repeated words, which usually happen when I stop stop in the middle of a sentence then resume writing. It's easy to overlook them when you read the sentence, and often other people don't notice them too. Misspelled words that can mean other words like "Feel" to "Fell" "hate" to "hat," and my favorite of all time, Deaf to Dead, or vice versa. Misspelling Phasers with a z, Phazers. Misspelled ranks- Leiutant and Captian.

That's it.

TWG - Thanks for your time, Eddie, and best of luck with your future work, both Trek-related and not.

Check out the fan fiction of Edward H. Bart IV and The Courageous at their website Star Trek: The Courageous.
Posted: 2004.09.24
Evil Must Be Opposed.
-- Vedek Yassim,

(DS9: Rocks and Shoals)
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