Tuesday, July 11, 2017
Early Writing Tag
We all have those "stories" that we wrote as kids, whether we wrote them in the solitude of our rooms or with a group of friends. Some make us laugh and some make us cringe and wish they had stayed in our brains. But it's still fun to look over them again, isn't it?
Pip @ Pip and Lolly tagged me a while back for this really fun tag. I've been working on it in bits and pieces in between Life and Camp NaNoWriMo.
Here are the rules of the tag:
1. Thank the person that tagged you (Thank you Pip!!!).
2. Answer these two questions: what horrendous book(s) did you write as a child? What did you learn from it? The amount of "books" is up to your discretion!
3. Tag 5 other bloggers.
On to the questions!
1. Baby story.
This one was probably the first story that I ever wrote. The ones before were oral stories or fake diaries.
I had a title, cover and everything. Do I remember said title? Nope.
And the "book" is probably buried somewhere in a box. Where it belongs.
Anyways, it was book telling about how I and my Girl Scout friends found a baby girl (I think I named her Liza) in our cabin at this camp and proceeded to somehow take care of her. I remember there being a football player involved, but I don't remember why (boyfriend idea??? I had to be about 12 when I wrote this....). The biggest thing that I remember is that I used a pager (yeah, tells you how old I am, doesn't it) to find out what the baby's name was and how old she was. I had to have thought that a pager was a secret knowledge decoder or something....
What I learned:
For pity sakes, look up what the heck the device is and what it's used for before putting it into your story!
2. A Heart of Gold
So...my best friend in middle school/early high school started writing a story called Double Helix. It was a contemporary story but she never got further than the first couple of chapters. I was the alpha reader for it while she was writing it, and it inspired me to write my own contemporary story - one a little different from hers.
It basically followed the story of a girl in French American family (the characters of which were originally stolen from a French immersion course I was taking) that adopted a golden retriever and some of the shenanigans that followed.
I will say that being an alpha reader and writing at the same time was extremely detrimental to the quality of my writing. I made the mistake of plagarizing my friend's manuscript (thinking that it was a good joke/imitation is the sincerest form of flattery). Needless to say, she was not happy with me.
Even though I actually never finished the story, I did attempt a re-write.
Here is the outline/synopsis of that re-write:
Celine Taylor is forced to photograph some animals from the animal shelter for an awareness fair sponsored by her school. Celine is afraid of dogs and doesn’t like going near them. But a Golden Retriever puppy at the animal shelter captures Celine’s heart. While the puppy’s ownership is being questioned, Rae the puppy leads Celine some wild adventures, including looking for a job, finding Celine’s missing boyfriend, and capturing a band of kidnappers.
Now as I look at the story again, there are still some good parts. It's definitely a clichish high school write still, but....
What I learned:
Never directly steal stuff from a work in progress or from anything else, for that matter.
Never copy off your writer BFF.
Never agree to be an alpha reader to an incomplete draft while working on of your own in the same genre.
If it needs a re-write, don't hesitate. Just do it. But save the previous drafts, so you can see your progression.
3. Diary Buck
This one was written in my early teens, but honestly, I still hadn't learned anything about being realistic yet.
I was inspired to start writing this one after going to a parade with my best friend, her brother and some of his friends. Some of the shenanigans of what happened afterwards, as well as stuff that happened to me in real life in the following months wound up in my story, but a lot of it was still a product of my imagination.
Basically, it was a take on the Swiss Family Robinson and Gilligan's Island (except at the time, I hadn't heard of Gilligan's Island). It was me, my best friend and two of the guy friends I mentioned, (one guy was actually written out and replaced with another guy later on in order to fit the circumstances of the time). We went hiking, supposedly for an afternoon, proceeded to get lost, and we had to survive somehow.
I had the craziest stuff lurking in everyone's backpacks. How-to books (I mean everything from farming to foraging, guys), cooking utensils, paper products, and then some. I also remember that we found all sorts of stray animals (dairy cow was the one I remember the most) as well as all sorts of abandoned houses and fields that we "gathered" from. We apparently were able to hunt deer and fish from the first couple of days, though I don't remember there being any guns or bows being carried. Apparently we were rescued over a year later by rangers who came upon us accidentally, and we had a double wedding afterwards with plans to go back to the site during the summers.
This was another one that I started editing before I finished it. It still exists in a notebook. Once in a while when my fingers itch to type, I pull it out and start transcribing it into a Word document (the pencil is fading and I want to save it).
What I learned:
Using reality as a base for a story really works!
Pencil doesn't last very well in notebooks. Computer is definitely better for keeping stuff.
4. My Carla Rosa series
This series of short stories was the perfect bridge from my immature high school writing into my current style of writing. A knock-off of Nancy Drew, this series featured an 18 year old detective/informant girl working with the Santa Barbara police force in the drugs department. In the series, there was a subplot featuring a romance between her and a police sergeant she worked a lot with, right on up to their marriage and birth of their first child. They were created in my high school creative writing class.
I loved the first story of this series so much that I used an edited version of it as my first "story" of my college creative writing class. My second favorite was the third one, with the second one being the really hated one of the bunch.
What I learned:
It was during the college class peer editing of the first CR story that I finally discovered one of my biggest faults in writing - my imagination was bending reality too far. I was unrealistic. The story wasn't believable. People are also apparently turned off by unrealistic stories.
That changed my writing forever. Since then, research has been an integral part of my writing. Whether it's studying the original instance or inspiration, or real places and events. And honestly, while my muse may still like to roam wild, I look back at my old style of writing and grimace a bit. I'll leave the unrealistic stuff to my daydreams.
Now....I'm bending the rules again.
It says in the rules that I need to tag 5 bloggers. Honestly, the bloggers that I want to give it to either have been given 30 other tags to do or are really busy with Camp NaNo.
So...the first five bloggers that comment on this post, consider yourselves tagged.
P.S. For making it through this post, I'll give you another snippet of "The Apple in the Snow". Bonus points if you remember where this line came from!!!