In e-fedding as in life, we need mentors. Be they parents, teachers, bosses, colleagues, fedheads, handlers... mentors open your eyes and your mind to new possibilities. I had 3 key mentors who really shaped me development as an e-fedder early on and came away with one really good friend.
I moved into my own apartment in 2002. A few months later, I was back in eWrestling. I was hoping to pick things back up with NAWA--the fed I was last in back in 2000. Apparently the fed had seen plenty of success in my absence, but closed before I came back. So I had to find a new home.
I had long since abandoned Crazy Horse--the other half of Deadly Force--while I was handling in NAWA. What's more, I changed Dark Wolf to "Dark Wolf" Dante Krieg back then. I was a mid-carder at best in NAWA though, and didn't earn any title reigns there. It was in NAWA back in 2000 when a fellow handler--we'll call him Christian from Virginia Beach--commented that I was better at writing female characters than I was at writing male characters.
So when I came back to the game in 2002, I scrapped "Dark Wolf" Dante Krieg as well, focusing solely on Wild Animal who had now become "Wild Animal" Sarah Mayson. I landed in NIWF--New Independent Wrestling Federation or New Internet Wrestling Federation... something like that. It was there that I was trying out Tyler Mayson--Sarah's brother. He in turn lead to one of my most prominent characters of all, but I'll get into that later.
NIWF was short-lived, but the real value that came out of that was a new friendship with a fellow we'll call Ken from Vancouver. Ken was a great promo writer who was handling in one of the top feds on RSPWF. I must've commented on how good his promos were in NIWF, because he started sending me his promos, wanting my feedback. I genuinely enjoyed reading his writing, so I was happy to give feedback on it.
Keep in mind, my writing was lackluster at the time. So reading Ken's promos really opened my mind to a much wider range of ideas. Ken's use of symbolism certainly didn't hurt either.
He was always trying to improve his craft as well, as he felt that the inner circle in his feds were holding him down. That only motivated him to try harder, to write the best RP possible. So as a result, I had to really dig into his promos and find any details that didn't add up. To point out any flaws--however minuscule they might seem. Ken's character was "Extreme War Machine" Corey Irons; and I was a die-hard Corey Irons fan just from reading those promos. But digging for those minor details really helped me up my own game. It would take some time and practice, but I really modeled my writing after his early on.
I think this could be invaluable advice for new writers and e-fedders alike. If you're new, and there's somebody whose writing you love to read, dive head-first into that. Analyze it. Break it down. Model your own writing after it. If you don't have somebody like that and you're in eWrestling, find the character in your fed whose writing scares you the most, and model your writing after theirs.
Corbitt from Tampa was another handler from the old NAWA days who I stayed in contact with after it closed. Actually, we didn't really connect much at all in NAWA. I was on the low to mid card and he was a upper-mid to main eventer. When I came back in 2002 though, I created fed called Mile High Wrestling. Along with posting on RSPWF, I also recruited some folks from NAWA, and Corbitt was one of the guys I brought in. MHW was short-lived, but Corbitt and I went on to work together for several more years afterward.
He and I landed together in Mighty Bastard Championships, which I'll address in greater detail in another part. By this time though, I'd started writing Myra Benedict who originated as a valet for Tyler Mayson who I mentioned above. Corbitt and I would get together and write collaborative RPs over AIM. He had a reputation among some other handlers as being a bit pushy. Corbitt liked pushing characters' limits. For my part, Myra was pretty bland early on, and I wasn't really willing to push those limits. He taught me that characters need quirks. At first I didn't understand what that meant. He elaborated that they need things that make them tick, curiosities that you might not expect at a glance. That insight really went a long way toward giving Myra the depth she needed to become a great character.
Last, but certainly not least, is Darryl from Kansas City. After MHW folded and I bounced around a few feds, I opened Diamond Star Wrestling--my first women's fed, and an ultraviolent one at that. I'll discuss DSW in more detail later. Darryl was the handler of "Mockingbird" Nina Grimsson, one half of a tag team called Extreme Measures with another handler's character called "British Bad Girl" Lisa Drake. Or at least I think that was Drake's nickname. Anyway, Darryl and I became fast friends. Of course, me becoming a huge Nina Grimsson fan didn't hurt.
Darryl's writing was totally different from Ken's. You could say it was very plain, lacking the flowery symbolism that Ken's had. Darryl's writing was not flashy in the least. Where he made up for it though, was in quirks. Loads and loads of quirks. Nina Grimsson along with her brothers Chad and Erik were just really interesting characters.
Darryl's taught me so much though. I honestly can't remember 99% of it. We worked together heavily while he was in the game; talking about our characters, thinking up scenarios and how they might be addressed. He pushed characters' limits too, much like Corbitt, but gentler--suggesting that Nina Grimsson (a face) befriend Myra Benedict (a heel). This was counterintuitive! Faces and heels don't become friends! But he had done it previously with Lisa Drake. We had a feud between them at first, Nina winning a Tokyo Suicide Match to end it, and then the two characters became friends. Or as Darryl put it the other day, they agreed not to attack eachother on first sight.
That's another thing about Darryl though. Ken and Corbitt left the game around say 2005 to 2007. I've reconnected with Ken a bit on Facebook, but had no word from Corbitt since. Darryl, meanwhile, has been one of the best friends I've ever had. He left the game in 2011 or 2012, but even still, we keep in contact at least once a week. And it usually ends up being for several hours a sitting. We still talk about our characters even though the Benedicts and Grimssons are long since retired. But we also talk about sports, politics, family, women, etc. I'm eternally grateful to have Darryl as a mentor in this game, but more importantly as a friend of 17 or 18 years now.
The moral of these stories is to find people you connect with. Learn from them. Sooner or later you might find that they'll learn from you in return. Ken took several years off from the game after mentoring me before returning as a handler in the second iteration of NAWC; which again, I'll get into later. Ken learned though that it's not all just about competition. He found the competition, trying to be the champion all the time, just stressed him out. He found much more satisfaction from working with other handlers who were just as good or better than him, creating great feuds with them.
That about covers it for part 2 though. In part 3 I'm going to go into the mistakes I've made along the way, and the lessons learned from them. Hope to see you then.
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