Tag Archives: first time

Authors Answer 76 – Authors Reflecting on Their Earliest Writing

All authors started somewhere. We’ve discussed this before. However, when authors look back at their earliest writing, there may be a mix of reactions. Childhood writing would be simple, but how about teenage writing?

320px-Modern-ftn-pen-cursiveQuestion 76 – When you look at your oldest writing, what surprises or embarrasses you?

S. R. Carrillo

It was so boring! I had a tendency to wax poetic about the oddest things, and it would make scenes drag on and on and on forever. I also hated to kill my darlings, so I would get chapters and chapters full of beautiful prose… with little to no plot progression or serious relevance.

Also, I used to headhop. Like a madman. I don’t know what was wrong with me haha.

Elizabeth Rhodes

Years back I was editing a crime novel based on the story of Persephone. That book’s tucked away, but I surprised myself with how much detail I pulled from original myths to create these characters, from Demeter’s failing nursery to Hades’ favorite nymphs. I did cringe when I made (but didn’t catch) several references to my protagonist’s bad teeth (based on a bad toothache I had while writing the story) and a placeholder name I used for a minor character made it into the “final” draft. Who knows what I’ll find if I opened it today.

H. Anthe Davis

My oldest surviving writing is from when I was about twelve, and was edited when I was about fifteen, so I’m surprised to see that even then I had an attachment to certain concepts and character-types, even if almost none of the specifics of those characters have survived.  I wouldn’t really say I’m embarrassed, because my prose wasn’t too bad then, for what I was writing — Dungeons & Dragons-style adventures.  I’m much more embarrassed of the literary short stories I slapped together during college, since I wasn’t allowed to write genre fiction in my short-story classes; the disinterest really shows.

Eric Wood

When I look at some of my earliest writing I cringe. I was a monotonous writer. My descriptions were bland and my word choices were the epitome of  boring. At least in fiction works. Some of poetry that I’d reread years afterward I’d have to ask myself, “I wrote this?” Perhaps because I was reading with fresh eyes, perhaps because I could connect to it so personally, I really liked them. My poetry most always used vivid imagery. But it never carried over to my fiction writing until much later.

Tracey Lynn Tobin

The most embarrassing thing to look back at and see for me is that I was one of the worst offenders I know for creating “Mary Sue” characters (long before I ever know what the term meant). When I first started writing way back in the third grade, I would write stories featuring myself and my friends, or I’d make up female characters who looked and acted suspiciously similar to myself. Wish fulfillment was definitely the name of the game. I didn’t worry so much about silly things like a good plot…I wrote things the way I saw them in my fantasies, with myself as the do-no-wrong heroine whom everybody loved. This was all fairly understandable since I was, like, eight when I first started writing, but the theme did actually persist for quite a while, so I do still have random stuff in my house right at this moment that makes me shudder just to look at it.

Jean Davis

Because my early writing happened during my teenage years, it falls in the embarrassing category. The cheesy characters, dialogue, wandering plot, ugh, it’s all so bad. I did have more description back then, but yeah, still not in a good way.

D. T. Nova

Looking at some of the first stories that I wrote after I started seriously considering writing for publication, there’s one where I’m kind of embarrassed to have held back as much as I did. There is such a thing as too subtle.

And another one literally has more exposition than action, despite allegedly being an adventure story.

Linda G. Hill

What surprises me the most, is that I know at the time I thought my writing of ten years ago was good. What I fear the most is, in ten years’ time I’ll be surprised that my current writing is so much worse than I imagine it is. Did that make sense? …maybe it won’t be that much of a surprise…

Allen Tiffany

Two  reactions: First, it was really bad. Really bad. Adverbs, cliches, stories without any coherent plot, etc. But on the other hand, there was still enough goodness there that I continue to find the stories engaging, and I can still drop into the fantasy.

Gregory S. Close

I am always surprised how simultaneously good and awful my old writing is.  Sometimes I come across a cool line and I think “Did I write that?”  Then, usually immediately after that, I come across a line that makes me groan, “Did I write THAT?”

Paul B. Spence

Nothing about it surprises or embarrasses me. I know where I’ve come from, how far I’ve progressed. I’m not ashamed that I write better now, three decades later than some of it. I’m not surprised to see themes and even the beginnings of stories that I am now writing in some of the older stuff. Some of the ideas in my first novel, Cedeforthy, I developed as a small child. Some of the hardest things to cut are those that you’ve held onto for years.

Jay Dee Archer

When I wrote a short story in high school, I was proud of it. I don’t have access to it anymore, but I think I’d probably cringe at the dialogue and narration. In university, I wrote a bit, as well. I clearly remember how corny it sounded. But then, I didn’t go beyond a rough draft at that time. I should also mention that I wrote in present tense. I’m not very fond of present tense in fiction now.

How about you?

If you write, what do you think of your first attempts at writing? Let us know in the comments below.

Authors Answer 63 – We All Started Somewhere

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.

320px-Modern-ftn-pen-cursiveQuestion 63 – When did you start writing fiction, and what did you write?

S. R. Carrillo

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!

Gregory S. Close

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.

Jean Davis

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.

Elizabeth Rhodes

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.

Eric Wood

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.

H. Anthe Davis

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.

Paul B. Spence

I’ve always been a storyteller. I wrote sci-fi as far back as junior high.

Tracey Lynn Tobin

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!

D. T. Nova

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.

Allen Tiffany

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.

Linda G. Hill

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.

Jay Dee Archer

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.