My history as a writer.
In case anyone is interested…
The first fiction story I remember writing was in the fourth grade. The year was 1998 and I was nine years old. It was titled “Halloween of 1999,” and, if I recall correctly, it was about a girl named Katie (or Megan) who moved to a new town and wanted to make some friends. She met a girl named Megan (or Katie) and the two set off to explore a haunted house nearby. They encountered some violent ghosts and used karate or something similar to fight them. They escaped the house and collapsed in the yard, under a tree, to catch their breath. After a moment, Katie (or Megan) looked up and realized that Megan (or Katie) was dead, had been literally scared to death. The still living one, whatever her name was, ran off screaming for her parents, and that’s where the story ended.
YEP. How I managed to avoid being sent to the guidance counselor’s office for eight years, I have no idea. But I’m skipping ahead.
I also wrote a story that year called “Christmas of 1999,” but I don’t remember what it was about. Both were written as assignments at school, and both received praise (though I can’t remember if it was generic teacher praise or legitimate). P.S. My three best friends at the time were named Megan, Katie, and Katie.
I do remember my first attempt at writing a novel, but unfortunately I don’t remember how old I was. My guess is around ten-eleven? It was a terrible rip-off of Animorphs, called “True Control,” and it was about some kids who met an alien and were granted the ability to control weather. There were six of them, three boys and three girls, and they were all siblings—maybe adopted. The oldest were twins, named Samantha and Samuel, nicknamed Sammy and Sam respectively. I didn’t get very far with that.
When I was eleven or twelve, I wrote a rather long fanfic about Dream Street. It was mostly written in pink ballpoint, and was very hard to read. It spanned two notebooks, I think. I don’t remember any of the plot, but I’m sure it was very bad.
In the seventh grade, age twelveish, I wrote a few stories that made my teacher cry. One was about the wife of a soldier, and how she was some kind of spy, and she died at the end from…something. Maybe being shot? It was written in a diary-like format, so she was telling her own story, and it stopped in the middle of a sentence. My teacher read it aloud to the class and cried while doing so. The other story that made her cry was about a girl whose father died, she thought about suicide, and she was saved by a very new boyfriend giving her hope through his complete and everlasting love. I think that was also written in a diary-like format. Anyway, my teacher used my stories as examples of damn good writing and what my fellow students should strive for. I didn’t think they were that good, and I think that’s when my doubt of praise started in. It comes from low self-esteem, and she gave me no reason to think she was lying when she told me the writing was wonderful…but I doubted her anyway.
In the seventh or eighth grade, I started a project with five of my friends called The Notebook (this was before we knew about Nickolas Sparks’ book by that title). It was fanfiction, blending several fandoms, with all of us writers as self-inserts. It was literally a notebook that we passed around and we all wrote in it—a word, a sentence, six pages, whatever we felt moved to write before throwing it at another Notebook member. The story had to be completed by the time we reached the end of the notebook. It was a lot of fun, and we got a few more notebooks over the years. That came to a close in the tenth grade, when a member accidentally left the notebook in a classroom and it was found by a teacher. By that point, The Notebook had gotten…vulgar, crass, and not even we, the writers, could pretend it was appropriate. It was turned in to the administrators and we were all called to the office. The meeting consisted of us being panicked out of our minds and the administrators, middle-aged women, saying, “This is completely inappropriate, I mean, the writing itself is very good, but you could get a man fired with this kind of stuff lying around, I mean, it’s a wonderful read but you cannot write this sort of thing during school hours,” about twenty different ways. They kept our notebook—to this day, I’m convinced they made copies and kept them under their pillows.
Jumping back a little, when I was fourteen and a Freshman in high school, I wrote a story for a class called The House. It had six characters, three women and three men (WHOA, like True Control!), who all lived together in a house in the woods. Spanning about 7.5k words, one man cheated on his girlfriend with another woman, the couple fought about it, he hit her, and all these blocked memories of abuse came rushing back to her, so she killed herself.
Those characters stuck with me intensely and I developed them until they barely resembled themselves in that story. I call them the Housers, and I have plans for them to this day—almost a decade after The House was written.
When I was fifteen or sixteen, I tried NaNoWriMo for the first time, but didn’t even hit 5k.
When I was seventeen, I wrote a short story for a class. It was the story of three of the Housers, not even recognizable, and was a sort of prequel to The House—the characters weren’t living together yet. The woman who killed herself in the original story and her brother were the main characters. The story was about how the brother fell in love with a different Houser, and how the sister did not approve of the match because the other guy was too much of a player, while her brother was too sweet and quiet for trash like that, etc. At the beginning of the story, though, it described in not a lot of detail an instance of sexual abuse. For that, I was sent to the guidance counselor’s office and asked if I needed to talk about anything. All I had to say was, “I’ve never been abused, it’s fiction, don’t worry about it,” and I didn’t actually get in trouble. Five of my friends (some former Notebook members) were also sent to the guidance counselor for their stories for that assignment. We all sat in a huddle in the back of the class, but we all wrote about different (inappropriate) things—one or two were about drugs, one was attempted suicide, etc.
I stopped writing for a while after that.
When I was maybe twenty-one, I wrote a short story for a class about a world in which bisexuality was the norm and people who were monosexual (gay or straight) were degraded and insulted, labeled discriminatory and sexist, etc. I actually really like that story, poorly written though it is.
And then there was November 2011, at twenty-two years of age, when I participated in NaNoWriMo. I wrote 35k words about a polyamorous triad, the Andersons. In the ten months since, that story has been polished up to 44k and is hanging out with my editor. I’m so very proud of it…poorly written though it is!
That brings us to now.
Now, I have a blog about my writing. Now, I’m looking into query letters and agents. Now, I’m working on a new story. I’m so glad I returned to writing. This is where I belong. I am a writer and I don’t understand why I ever stopped.
For anyone who has actually read this far and is still interested, the Housers are set up to be a sequel to the Andersons’ story. Two of them are actually the Andersons’ children—timey-wimey!
Posted from my phone, so please excuse extra typos! ESJ