My History With E-Feds And How They Helped my Writing

First, Though: What’s an E-Fed?

A slew of masks from Mexican wrestlers, lucahdors.
Photo by Larry Costales on Unsplash

An Electronic Federation. A wrestling federation that exists online and in the imagination of its players.

Sorry I haven’t posted in a while. Slow blogging, and some virus anxiety. Time to get back in the saddle.

Working on these helped me to develop characters and develop characters, in both good and bad ways:

Ace Championship Wrestling

This was in my early 20s, on the precursor to the Internet, a local BBS (Bulletin Board Serice). I would use my analog landline telephone to call someone else’s computer, usually after midnight when it was available to call (I was a night owl back then).

Most of the players just took the names of wrestlers they saw on TV, so there was a Macho Man, a Million Dollar Man, even a Hulk Hogan (he didn’t last long). Even worse: they took the names, but built no real personalities to go with them.

I came in with my creative writing and acting backgrounds, and created a brand new character: the Bullroarer, a masked Aborigine from the land down under, Australia.

I invented catchphrases for him, a whole mystique, and something I was proud of back then, but with the passage of time not:

In wrestling, all that they pretend is called a ‘work. You work a match to make it appear you’re really hurting your opponent . You work your story to make it seem believed… there are other terms like ‘shoot’ and ‘botch’, ‘legit hurt’… but none of them have any import to what I have to say .

Both in email and in person I worked the idea that I really was an Australian, and they bought it. Looking back, the emails written in dialect should’ve seemed fishy (we were young then), but in person… from acting, I picked up many accents.

They’d annoy natives, but local Montréalers? Hook, line, and sinker

One guy caught me near my workplace a few months later. I think that embarrassment shaded our future dealings — but that has nothing to do with this post.

The Bullroarer won a few titles, but vanished into memory — but the creative ideas taught me for the future.

AEWA

This fed is long defunct. I run a long-struggling wrestling message forum hosted by the creator of it. If you’re interested in that give me an email address in a comment and I’ll send you the link (I moderate all comments before they go live. Those won’t).

I started with this nearly a decade later. The Internet was around by then, so it ran as a bi-weekly program in email, written by a stable of writers.

All the characters were original. The main goal was to create better shows than those we were seeing on TV back then (wasn’t hard). Often, we succeeded.

My character, Doug Christian, was a good guy, but bland. He won several titles, was the last World champion, but I doubt he’s remembered.

This post isn’t meant for just ‘war stories’ also for how it shaped my writing. Here, my first understanding of subplot and payoff of them began to form.

Ring psychology (the reason for what’s done) for fiction writing works as well. Why does a character do something, and does it make sense for them?

SWF

I may have the name wrong. If you were there, feel free to correct me.

While the Internet was growing more popular, some of us tried to keep BBS culture alive. I ran a wrestling discussion forum then. In my mid-twenties I was still dealing with the bullying crap I faced from day one grade 3 – grad, so I was authoritarian. Throw in strong ego users, you were waiting for a disaster… but that’s off-topic.

Two of my friends started an e-fed on it to test out new mechanics they created.

I brought Doug Christian to it, but he did well in the champion tournament, then vanished. I created two technical Japanese stars, The Gyroscope and Githiyanqui, they didn’t take off.

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This post is already long, and I still have a lot left. I’ll make this a 2-parter.

Wrestling: an Alternate Fighting Style

May Not Be What You Think

All I could find royalty-free was teenagers in amateur wrestling, but this image is for professional wrestling.
Photo by Chris Chow on Unsplash

Before you brand me a fool. hear me out! I’m not saying this is real. I’ve been watching it for nearly 40 years and always knew it was orchestrated. It’s like stuntmen in movies, except matches sometimes go for longer.

No matter, wrestlers can show you a lot about developing a character (a man was always seen as a Russin was revealed when he died as French Canadian), getting others to care about an upcoming match, and even some basic storytelling (yes, a good match tells a story). There’s much to learn.

Origin of This in my Novel

When I created Rigger, Mortiz, and Shivver decades ago, puns were a huge part of the name choices.

When I created Alex Rigger, I thought of him as a former wrestler, ‘Oil Rigger’. 

I’m what folks call a ‘smark’ (a smart mark. Smart enough to know what’s happening, but still a mark for my favorite performers). 

Why a Wrestler?

Some people I know would wonder why I’m writing another wrestler (I’ve created a few). Thing is there is a saturation of former boxers and martial artist characters. I’m trying something different. 

Style

The fighting style is different. Some of the moves are flashy, but couldn’t be used in the real world. They would cause fatalities if they were. 

A lot of real fights would be punches and kicks, with some basic slams thrown in, dropkicks and clotheslines too. 

Another interesting thing about fights using wrestling: as with many Kung Fu fights, many wrestlers have a different style. Some of the bigger guys don’t do aerial moves… some of them do, but it’s considered unusual in the US and just looks strange in Japan. In writing, we just strive for uniqueness. 

In the hand of a good writer (hope I am), this could be interesting. 

I’m going to try to post here more often. I’ll wait until I’ve done a few more to state a schedule, so I don’t let readers down.