Authors were once children. There was a time when they didn’t write books. Some authors didn’t start writing until they were much older, others started when they were in elementary school. But they all start somewhere. Let’s find out how we all started.
Question 63 – When did you start writing fiction, and what did you write?
I’ve been writing fiction since I’ve been able to hold a pen, put it to paper and formulate ideas. I started out writing the wild and dramatic adventures of my household pets, my favorite TV show characters, my parents’ cars, anything at all!
When I was 7 or 8 years old I began writing stories about a 13 year-old space shuttle pilot that was thrust into the future after a crazy space accident, likely involving cosmic rays and atom bombs, but the details are fuzzy. (In my defense, these sorts of accidents would probably be a lot more common if space shuttle pilots were 13). At the time, I thought “aging up” the protagonist from my age to 13 was the responsible, realistic thing to do.
I started writing way back in elementary school with stories about cars that had lives of their own. Sadly (because who knew cars would turn out to be a huge thing thirty years later?) I moved on to mystery and scif-fi shortly thereafter.
That’s really hard to pin down. As long as I can remember I’ve had an interest in writing. My first real attempt at a novel was when I was 13 for a school project. We had to write the story, draw illustrations, and do our own bookbinding. By my standards now the story was terrible, but I think lots of authors can say that about their first stories.
I started National Novel Writing Month in my senior year of high school, also to get some school credits. That story was never finished and it’s also terrible, but a lesser degree of terrible.
I started writing fiction way back in elementary school. At most, third grade, possibly sooner. I don’t remember what I wrote, but I do remember sitting at my desk in my room writing stories. I think they often involved my friends and I and some adventure. Since then, I’ve started writing more for children than adults when I write fiction stories.
I don’t have anything to give me an exact date, even a year, but I do remember writing stories in the little blue-covered test books we were given in elementary school. The earliest one I can recall was a story something like The Ordinary Princess, but from the perspective of her maid/companion — even then, I was completely uninterested in princesses or other royalty. I don’t remember the plot, but that feeling has continued to this day; I’d rather follow the exploits of peasants and soldiers and just comment on the nobility from afar.
I’ve always been a storyteller. I wrote sci-fi as far back as junior high.
The first time I can really remember writing fiction was in the third grade when we were assigned a creative writing assignment. I can’t remember the exact story, but I remember that my title was “The Mystery of the Emerald-Eyed Cat“, and it featured – wait for it – a cat with green eyes. From there I started writing for fun, and what I wrote for the longest time was a series of stories called “The Game Masters“, in which my friends and I would enter in the worlds of video games. Reading that stuff now is like killing myself slowly and painfully, but it was so much fun at the time. I loved incorporating my favorite parts from video games into the story, and I’d write for hours on end. And sometimes, just for fun, I still enjoy writing complete schlock like that. You’ve gotta play sometimes!
When I was 13 or so. Science fiction short stories, both original ones and fanfiction. But I got sidetracked and didn’t start writing with intent to publish until much later.
As I recall, the first complete story was of a sword fight between a powerful man and a god. I don’t really remember why they were fighting other than that the man had failed whatever mission he was on, and he believed the god had betrayed him. The battle took place in the clouds over the North Pole (don’t ask me why), and after the man was cut in half and died, he regained consciousness as a newborn. Whatever his task was, the god had sent him back to try again.
No, it made no sense, and it was heavy on action, but it was the first complete story I wrote. I think I was about 10.
My first attempt at a novel was when I was in 7th grade. The story line went like this: We all went to school one day (in central Kansas), and shortly after we got there metal shutters came down over all the windows and doors, and the school started sinking into the ground. We were told to sit on the floor near our lockers as the school was lowered to a massive railroad deep underground. Once on the railroad, the entire building with us in it began moving south at about 10 miles per hour. We were told that life on Earth was about to be extinguished by some terrible event. Our school, and those of us that attended it, had been randomly selected to be saved. We were going to ride the underground rail under Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas before we were to eventually descend to the seabed in the Gulf of Mexico (you would think the gov’t would have picked a school on the coast, from Houston, for instance). From there – after various misadventures – we were going to reemerge and restart humanity.
This one does not make much sense either, and I only got about 10% of it written, but I learned from it and began to think in terms of novels rather than short stories.
My first foray into fiction was a piece I wrote after asking my mom to staple some paper together. I then sat at the dining room table and proceeded to ask her how to spell every word that wasn’t “and” and “the.” After half an hour I was rewarded by being told to draw pictures instead. I refused. This is why, I’m sure, I still can’t draw a picture. What did I write? I haven’t a clue. I was five.
I was writing non-fiction long before I started writing fiction. I’d write my own encyclopedia entries on dinosaurs and countries as far back as when I was seven or eight years old. But fiction didn’t come until high school.
In English, we had a week of creative writing when we had to write a story about anything we liked. I wrote a science fiction story about a space shuttle that was hit by space debris, and had to make an emergency landing. However, they burned up in the atmosphere and died. Dark ending, but I still got a good grade from my teacher. That was my only attempt at creative writing until university, when I started to finally write some short stories that will never see the light of day. No idea where they are, nor do I want anyone to see them.
How about you?
When did you start writing? And what did you write? Share your stories with us in the comments below.
20 thoughts on “Authors Answer 63 – We All Started Somewhere”
Reblogged this on North of Andover.
My first “serious” writing happened when I was 11 years old. We had to write a story for school, and even make our own book and whatnot. I wrote sci-fi, of course. (I taught myself basic bookbinding for that project, stitched signatures and end papers and everything. I still have the book — all 30 or so handwritten pages of it — in a box somewhere.)
Wow, that’s quite the thing to have. I don’t think I have anything like that. Never did any bookbinding. However, in grade 5, we had to make a weekly newspaper in my class.
Reblogged this on Elizabeth Rhodes.
Reblogged this on On the Edge of Enlightenment and commented:
And yeah, I don’t want anyone now seeing the first stories I wrote either.
I remember writing and illustrating a children’s book about two elementary classmates when I was in early elementary school. I think I was probably eight. In those days, we did creative writing as part of our English classes all through grade school. I don’t think that is as common in the US now.
Yeah, when I was in school, we didn’t do creative writing much at all.
It’s unfortunate as most children are natural storytellers. By closing off that outlet in school, it makes it more difficult to reclaim the skill later on..
It is unfortunate. And art, as well. I think that’s been a big casualty in budget cuts.
We have been lucky here that art and music are both part of state education mandates.
That’s good. I get annoyed when people say that any kind of art is non-essential. Without it, life would be boring, stressful, and we wouldn’t be able to enjoy ourselves. It would be unhealthy.
Reblogged this on and commented:
Are you a writer? When did you start writing? This week the Authors and I are talking about our humble beginnings. 🙂
Reblogged this on All In A Dad's Work and commented:
We all began writing sometime. Some of us haven’t quit yet.
I think my first “experiments” were around age 6 or so…the penmanship was legible only to myself (and most likely the toys that were my audience as I “read” the story aloud to them). I can’t remember the content, but I can imagine, as I was obsessed with fairytales at that age.
I can say that my daughter, who will be 4 years old tomorrow, likes to make up stories. Hers often involve Disney princesses. If she could write, I bet she would.
Pokemon fanfiction, when I was 10. I still have it somewhere….
I go back and read old things occasionally and it makes me very happy to know how far I’ve come.
Fanfiction is a pretty common way to start. I’ve done a bit in the past. The first I did was Transformers, though I didn’t write much at all.