Today is a noteworthy day: the one and only Abbie (waffle queen, blogging queen, life queen) made up her OWN tag, and I’m doing it!!! The idea of the tag is simple yet genius: to make fun of the horrible “books” we writerly types wrote when we were little (because, let’s be real, we all have some truly awful ones–especially me), but also to appreciate them. Those stories, no matter how cringe-worthy they seem now, served as the springboard to launch us into the illustrious writing careers that we all lead today. Right? Right. Except most of the time, I still feel like the little nine-year-old pounding away on her old Dell laptop who basically was like #WUT R WORDS 24/7. Anyway. It’s all good. Let’s dive in!
1. 15 Kids… And Another on the Way!
I don’t even know where to start here. Okay. First of all, this whole book was basically an exact copy of 19 Kids and Counting–ninety pages of the Duggars, pretty much, except none of the names started with J because COME ON, then it would be WAY too obvious that I was copying. I think this was the first novel I ever finished, and I know for sure it was the most boring one I’ve ever written. Probably the biggest thing I learned from this book is that you have to have a plot and a conflict, or no one is going to read your book. (At some point during the writing of this book, when I was 11-ish, a girl my age who lived in my town had a book published and it was being sold in Barnes and Noble. I can distinctly remember jumping up and down, screaming, and telling my mom, “’15 Kids… And Another on the Way!’ is going to be in Barnes and Noble!'” Um, no. No, it’s not.) Also, don’t have fifteen main characters in one story. Just don’t. If the author herself can’t even keep track of all fifteen characters’ names and ages and preferences, how is the reader supposed to do it? Yeah. Enough said. In all seriousness, though, since this was the first full-length book I ever finished, it was kind of the bug that bit me to keep doing more.
2. Children of the Elements
This was basically a Percy Jackson fanfic, except I tried to tell myself it was a completely separate thing. C’mon, though: it’s a group of teenagers who live at this camp in the woods, they’re all cousins, and they each have a power related to the elements (some can control water, some can control air, some can control fire). If that’s not a blatant parallel of Percy Jackson, I don’t know what is. Something good did come out of this book, however: I learned how to let my favorite books and concepts inspire me and fire up my imagination instead of just completely copying them.
3. Eight Friends
This series was basically my life when I was nine, ten, and eleven. I think I ended up writing thirteen of these “books” (each one was about ten pages). The series was about a group of girls (I bet you can’t guess how many) who were friends, and it focused on their various adventures and misadventures at school (interspersed with plenty of long descriptions of their food and their clothes). I learned two big things from this series: one, how much fun it is to live in the world of your characters and to know each of them (even if there are eight of them) so intimately. And two: long descriptions of food are always acceptable. ALWAYS.
Sadly, all of my old stories are saved in a weird file type that I can’t open on this computer. I’ve tried and tried and tried, and it just won’t happen. I can see the titles of more stories, but I’m left to the little that I can remember about them off the top of my head. These stories include The Journey (basically a Narnia copy, lol), Trochenbrod (a weird but fun story about these people under siege in a walled city?), and many more stories about big families. Then we get into the books I wrote when I was a little older–twelve, thirteen, fourteen–which I remember as being much more sophisticated (?). Miracle on Avonshire Lane, Miriam of the Mountain, The Last of the Indians–stuff like that. As much as I want to reread these, on second thought, it might be better that they’re all locked on my external hard drive. One day when my really sophisticated novels are published (such as my current NaNo novel, that I’m supposed to be writing right now instead of blogging?) and people write biographies of me, I don’t want the whole world reading samples of my early writings. HA! Let’s be real, though: like that would ever actually happen…
Hannah @The Relentless Daydreamer
Katie Grace @A Writer’s Faith
Megan @Pen and Ink
Audrey Caylin @Audrey Caylin
If you’ve already been tagged or NaNo is absolutely killing you (bc same) or something, feel free to disregard this!
Which of my early stories would you most want to read–or, most NOT want to read?! Fellow writers, what are some of your craziest early stories?