5 versions of john sheppard

1. canon

His father (Patrick) is rich, his little brother is named Dave, and their mother is never spoken of. He knows how to ride because he jumped when he was young, on horses that made his competitors cry, although he hated ever moment of it except those few spent in flight over barriers designed to fall down if touched.

He joins the Air Force because a) it means he won't ever wind up working under his father, and b) planes fly better than horses, although he occasionally misses the smell of hay and leather and horse sweat, the feel of a velvet nose pressed into his palm. (And c) there is, way back down deep, a part of him that needs to protect someone, something---he doesn't realize this until it's too late, though.)

He marries Nancy because everyone thinks he should, and she leaves him because she thought she was marrying the son of a wealthy father, not the soldier he becomes.

When he arrives in Atlantis, it feels like home, but he doesn't know why, or what it is that draws him so strongly to Chaya.

2. several steps to the right

His father (Rob) is USAF, just as John will be, and would spend his life in the air if not for his wife Ana, who is an orphan and generically foreign and just a bit strange---but beautiful and impossible not to love. She and John both sleep scarcely at all and spend the gray mornings telling stories to each other. When she dies, her husband breaks more than just a little; no matter how he tries to put the pieces back together for the sake of his only son, the cracks just gape wider every year. He winds up with early-onset Alzheimer's, and John spends the last two years of high school living with his grandparents, who own a farm (and a bad-tempered horse).

He joins the Air Force because he is very much his father's son, and there is nothing else he could have done and remained himself. His wife, Deb, comes from a very wealthy family and fell in love with him partly because he doesn't. And she leaves him because she cannot understand why he would rather have his feet in the air than on the ground with her. (In between, her father teaches John how to play golf---other than Deb, it's the only thing they have in common.)

Atlantis is home in the way his grandparents' farm almost was, and he knows exactly why. And when Helia and her ship of time-refugees show up, he refuses to simply hand over the keys and walk away.

(And if, perhaps, he found himself reliving that first, desperate year, he would tear himself to pieces in the attempt to make things go right.)

3. several steps to the right + magic and tattoos

There's magic and John can see the shape of any man-made thing's past, although he locks away that part of him so that he can fly. Deb gives him wings so that he can't fall, and then hates him for using them. Sometimes his shadow talks to him, sometimes it doesn't, but Atlantis is always the most beautiful thing he's ever seen. She works her way into his head, his bones, his heart.

He's still a soldier, would still choose the people in her over the city herself, if needs must, but he might never recover from making that sacrifice.

In this world, he manages to save Sumner, to turn Michael into an asset, a friend. He makes other mistakes, but not those.

(And if, perhaps, he found himself in a different world, where he had been a different man, he would give up anything to go home again.)

4. one more step to the right, no magic this time

John's father is in an accident---non-fatal, but career-ending---and so John spends his childhood on his grandparent's farm instead of on Air Force bases; his mother is very ill at one point, but recovers. When John goes to college, he majors in mathematics but plans on becoming a farmer. His roommate turns out to be a spazzy genius kid who's studying physics.

Deb never enters the picture: there's Lucy, instead, who suits him in all the ways Deb didn't, and is thrilled when he starts a sideline crop-dusting business.

Atlantis . . . well. I did mention that John's mother is still alive, didn't I?

5. um...

Well. There are a whole bunch of possibilities, just nothing I've written much of yet. There's the John that grows up in the Roman Empire, the John whose father lost everything when some financial bubble burst, the John who's entirely Alteran, not just mostly, etc.

Every now and then I read back through all the bits and pieces scattered through my notebooks and feel this odd mix of elation and despair.
I for one would love to see more of the Magic and Tattoos 'verse. Heck, I'm even willing to bribe you with cookies, if necessary. ;-)
It's--there's--just let me get finished with Things Already Seen. I've got a bunch of stories planned and started in the Tattoos 'verse, and every intention and desire to finish them.
//Every now and then I read back through all the bits and pieces scattered through my notebooks and feel this odd mix of elation and despair.//

Oh, ye ghods, I know.

(Have you written anything for #4 that I just haven't seen, or...?)

And the thing is that all of those versions are recognizably John Sheppard, as opposed to other sorts of permutations.
#4 is here and here. It's currently languishing a bit because while it's fun to write, it's not as demanding as everything else and so keeps getting pushed to the back of the queue.

all of those versions are recognizably John Sheppard, as opposed to other sorts of permutations

That is, I think, just about the nicest thing you could say to me. :D
It's funny--I never set out to write John Sheppard. He just set up shop in my head one day and then refused to leave.
I kind of wish number 2 had been John's canon back story. His canon back story makes him interesting to explore emotionally, but number 2 makes more sense to me.

#2 is my personal canon for John. He told it to me (and it really does feel like that's the way it happened--I didn't set out to write backstory for him, it just kind of appeared unexpectedly) before the show told us anything about his background, and it still rings more true to me than his "real" history.

Also, it lets me play around with John being not exactly human, which is always fun.
The wonderful thing is that you have a better grasp of John--even canon John--than those who technically own him. And please don't despair of your unused ideas! I'm sure that all of them contribute to the richness of the writing that you accomplish.

A very happy New Year to you, my dear (yes, I've said it before, but now it's official!), and blessings in all things!
*blushes* I try. And John talks to me sometimes, which helps.

Oh, the various ideas do all fit in somewhere--and most of them will get finished in the not-too-distant future, Lord willing, but it is overwhelming at times, how much stuff there is in my head just waiting to get out.

And a most marvelous New Year to you as well! And many thanks for all your encouragement over the past year. :D