8.11.2017

Early Writings Tag

Tagged by Lisa

Good morning!

I have a question for you: How do you feel when reading your past works?

Doesn't matter if you consider yourself a writer or not, you've written something, be it an academic essay or a dozen novels. So, as you distance yourself from those things via the passage of time, how does your view of them change? Does it become embarrassing to go through them, and you'd rather rip the page out or delete the file than let it continue to exist?

Maybe you get this gut-wrenching feeling whenever someone goes to read them...

Writers have a tendency to hate their old works, and some prefer to pretend that such works never reached paper (or screen, in many of our cases). Thing is, though, that we all have those crappy first stories, and as time passes and our skills improve, it doesn't even have to be an "early" writing to suck. It just has to be old.

That's a good thing, though! Means you've gotten better, and now you can recognize what you did wrong before. Or at least that it wasn't as perfect as it felt when you first wrote it.

(But don't be like me and actually delete them all. You'll almost certainly regret it, I promise.)

Just thought I'd throw that out there, 'cause I've got a fun little tag to go through and it's on this very subject.

A big thank you to Lisa at Inkwell for tagging me for the Early Writings Tag, started by Abbiee!

-------------------------------------------------------------


Rules

  • Thank the person who tagged you.
  • Copy/paste and answer the following questions:
    • 1) What horrendous book did you write as a child?
    • 2) What did you learn from it?
  • Talk about as many books/writing projects as you like!
  • Tag 5 other bloggers.


A Few Things to Note

Like Lisa herself (except worse, IMHO!)*, I never wrote much of anything substantial when I was a kid. In fact, I never finished most of it (and that's saying something, because everything was pretty short). I didn't understand plot, and I hardly understood structure, so what you will find below is a bunch of random, unfinished (for the most part) pieces of crap that young me penned during the years before this here blog. Let me know if you can't relate to one or two of these!

*IMHO = in my humble opinion.


What Horrendous Book Did You Write As a Child?

Let's see... Only one would even begin to qualify as a book, and I don't even have it to check the word count, so that may also be a lie. The tag says "...as many books/writing projects as you like," and so here we begin with...


Terrible Project #1: "Unicorn Island"

I don't remember exactly what age I was when I wrote this.. But I believe I was around 7 (mm, you don't say!). Actually, I was always fond of this project, because it was one of the few rare instances where I actually finished writing something. Also I had a blast doing so.

"Unicorn Island" was one of my first real writing projects. Each page had only a few sentences on it, though, usually accompanied by a picture I stole off the Internet (obviously I didn't understand the concept of copyright yet, whoops). I don't remember how the whole thing went down, but there's one scene I do remember:

- - Some guy, no idea what his name or profession was, was in a tent on a sandy island.

- - I mention not knowing his profession because he was there doing some kind of work, likely scientific. Something along the lines of archaeology, but it wasn't that (I don't think).

- - He had been on the island for a while, having heard the myths and legends about a wonderful winged unicorn.

- - And then one night, he leaves his tent, and he witnesses (out of the corner of his eye, of course!) the retreating form of the winged unicorn. Magical glitter rains down upon him, and only footprints are left in the sand.


That was such a fun little scene to write that it always stuck with me. I even remember the image I picked out for it, a shore with sandy footprints. It's possible that this scene was the entire book.. But after I finished writing it, I sent the file to my dad, who was happy to proofread and edit it for me. After that, however... I never stored it properly, and I'm pretty sure every computer that once had it is long gone. #RIPUnicornIsland


What I Learned From This...

  • It was my first real introduction to the concept of "editing." Not that the editing job was anything serious, but I realized then that it wasn't just write it and be done. Bit more to it than that.
  • It was my first taste of authorhood! It may have been childish scrap destined to be lost, but it was a finished, edited book nonetheless. I actually did have brief plans to put it up on Lulu or somewhere like it, but thank god that never happened.
  • Finishing something is wonderful, and it leaves you with a sense of accomplishment.
  • Try your best not to lose old works, and don't purposefully delete them. This one can be attached to nearly all of these projects, but seriously... I wish I still had a copy of Unicorn Island to look back on.
  • I should try writing a children's book in this format sometime. That's what many are like, anyway -- minimal sentences on each page, accompanied by pictures. But it's a doable project, and it's a fun way to tell a story!



Terrible Project #2: "The Russet Stone"

Sadly left unfinished, "The Russet Stone" was a story that I actually think had a neat idea going for it. It wasn't particularly original, but it might be something I experiment with again one day, just for the fun of it. The general idea (this was back when I was 100% a pantser, so there was no actual plot in mind) was:

- - The main character, Abby, is born to parents Rose (mother) and Joe (father). They have a dog named Jack (aren't the dogs always named that?!).

- - Jack digs up a reddish-brownish (russet, to be exact), round, hand-sized stone that is engraved with words in an unknown script.

- - Over time, it becomes evident that Abby, despite being so young, is able to read the words inscribed on the stone. No one else can decipher it. The stone occasionally changes; the words glow gold, and a new message appears.

- - Eventually, Abby discovers that she is a werewolf. A big, white, full-on wolf (think the wolves in Twilight, specifically Leah, and you're pretty close). She has the ability to shapeshift at will, and she discovers others like her.

- - The messages written on the stone are essentially clues. Not riddles, but they're key to Abby and her new-found pack figuring out the solution to their problem (what that problem was supposed to be, I have no idea).

I think I was about 10 or 11 or possibly 12 when I was writing this, and I do actually still have it. I went looking for it while writing this post, and it survives on the remains of my first cellphone. It's much shorter than I remembered. I thought I got pretty far into it, at least halfway, but no. I wrote a single paragraph.


What I Learned From This...

  • I realized how great it is to let your imagination run when it comes to writing. I was always playing imaginary games with my friends -- I knew, and know, the wonders of it. But I feel like "The Russet Stone" helped me to step up my creativity game in the writing world. I was reaching at more complex, imaginative ideas (even if I still had a long way to go), and I was getting them written down.
  • Things were much less stressful when I let myself pick names just because I liked 'em. These days it's hard for me to do that for some reason. I want them to add to the story, but I make it an impossible mission.
  • With that said, your taste in names changes frequently. We're always finding new names that pique our interest, right? And while I still like the names "Rose," "Joe," "Abby," and "Jack," I most likely wouldn't have used those today. At least not here.
  • Pantsing doesn't get me as far as it used to. I guess you could argue that it never got me very far in the first place, considering I only wrote one measly paragraph -- but this method of no planning ahead, no organization, just writing, used to be the only way I did things. These days, I try to have some kind of general direction to go in, or at the very least a couple of guiding sentences or bullet points.



Terrible Project #3: "The Lost World"

Draaaagons! This is another one that I somehow still have, and I did make it surprisingly far. There are at least 3 or 4 fairly lengthy chapters, though the writing is, as expected, crap. Because I don't feel like reading through all that at the moment, I'm not able to give many details about the plot (and of course I didn't provide myself a summary). But...

- - The story starts out on prehistoric Earth, during the time of the dinosaurs.

- - There's a certain dinosaur (pterodactyl, I believe, but not completely sure on that) nest that mysteriously contains one odd egg -- that of a dragon. The egg, which is gray, hatches into a little black dragon.

- - Over time, that black dragon is introduced to the "Age of Humans." After some conflict and trust issues, the dragon befriends a particular human.

- - The black dragon takes the human to the dragon home world, Nebulon. The creatures are endangered. There are only about 30 (how'd I settle on that number, I wonder?) dragons left on the entire planet.

-  - We meet a few other dragons such as Zelt, a white dragon; Tetriallus (Tetrial for short), a red dragon; and Xonna (Xie), another black dragon (possibly the same one that began the story).

This was written around the same time as "The Russet Stone," so I was about 11 or 12. And can I just say that it is extremely fun to write nonhuman characters? I mean, you can't go wrong with the relatable human, but writing about a giant, winged, fire-breathing beast is something else.


What I Learned From This...

  • As I started saying above, writing about dragons is very, very enjoyable. Or unicorns. Or wolves. You get to play with their different sets of abilities, their different physical builds and structures. If you're trying to be realistic, then you can even try to write from the creature's unique perspective, to show the reader the world through their eyes. Or you can just have fun with it. Either works.
  • I've gotten better at writing "in the moment" rather than recounting a summarized tale. I've got a lot to improve upon when it comes to my prose, but one area I've thankfully noticed a lot of progress on is being able to put the reader in the moment, in the story, as if they were there living it. Most of my old stories, including "The Lost World," were written more like summarized events that happened to include dialogue.
-------------------------------------------------------------



What about any early poetry?

Considering these days I post more poetry than I do prose, it would probably be expected that I'd have a poem or two listed in here. But if you happen to remember my responses to earlier tags I've done, I never wrote much poetry before starting this blog. Like, I remember messing with one or two, and I never even saved them. Just wrote 'em, tossed 'em.

I'm sure I played with poetry occasionally. But never very seriously, and usually only simple, silly, and short pieces. Things you'd come up with for a friend on their birthday and write on a card.

With that said, we move on to...


Tags

Katie Grace @ A Writer's Faith


Ashley G. @ [oddly novel title]

Faith P. @ Stories by Firefly

Kathie K. @ Half A World Away

PoiSonPaiNter @ Random Poison

Allie Taylor @ The Depth of My Faith


(You didn't see me add two extra people to that list that was supposed to be five. Nope. What are you talking about?)

Haaah.. Anyway, I'd love to see all of your early writings. As always, however, don't worry if you'd prefer not to do this tag! And if you weren't tagged but would like to give it a go, I'm sure Lisa/Abbiee wouldn't mind.

Thank you again to these girls for creating this and tagging me!

So, what's your answer to my beginning question? Do you like reading your old works, or do you avoid them? Have you managed to save your earliest writings after all these years?

12 comments:

  1. Just wanted to comment with my thoughts on my stories when I got curious whom you tagged and noticed that you actually tagged me on this. :D We'll see if I get around to it as I partly answered it already during the #LoveWritingChallenge. But do feel free to remind me about it. ;)

    Anyway, I like your ideas, they're weird, but the good weird. :D (The only unicorn I so far incorporated into a story was black and killed someone. ;) ) Though there definitely are some very significant plot holes (is it a Werwolf-only language, how can she be the only Werwolf in her family? Are dragon's like cuckoo's - no wonder they're endangered without Pterodactyls?)...you should work on those. ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I sure will! :D Yeah, I wasn't sure if you'd be up for it or not since you've answered similar questions recently, but I figured I'd tag you anyway, why not. Speaking of reminders, I haven't forgotten about that Liebster you tagged me for -- still planning to get it out. Someday. :D

      Ahaha, sounds like some pretty good nightmare fuel, that unicorn! Looks like we both need to work more with them. I always loved unicorns and horses as a kid (and still do!), I don't know why I rarely include them in stories.

      Oh my god, I can only imagine how bad the plot holes would be if I had managed to finish those stories lol. I do believe, however, that it was a werewolf-only language, and that the random dragon egg made it into the dinosaur nest by mistake (though how it even got to Earth, that's another question). I should... Maybe I will work on 'em eventually. :D

      Delete
  2. Haha this was interesting to read! I might try this on my blog as well. I always cringe so hard at my old writing. In fact, lately I've been spending time reading my old blog posts. Except this time, I'm seeing how much I've grown and how far God has brought me from the cringey dark depths of my early teen-hood to now.

    Thanks for sharing! ^_^

    O | Life as a Young Lady

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah, you totally should! :D It's a fun one. Oh boy, me too... I force myself to go back occasionally and reread my old stuff, so that I can see what's changed, and I just cringe repeatedly while reading them and feel like hiding lol. It's important to look back, though! I bet you're finding some interesting things in your old posts. XD Definitely you see a lot of growth in yourself.

      Of course. Thank you for reading, O, and thanks so much for the follow! I'll be around to return the favor when I'm able. :)

      Delete
  3. This was very interesting to read! Even though you do probably cringe at the posts you first started out with, it always brings a huge smile on your face because it shows you how far you've come from when you first started off!

    And I did the tag but forgot to tell you that I did it! Thank you so much, it was fun taking a trip down memory lane :D

    -Kathie K
    Half A World Away

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exactly, Kathie. :) I'm pretty sure we all think our old stuff is cringeworthy, but it does make you smile, and it opens your eyes to all the changes you've gone through since then. Sometimes it's embarrassing, but it's almost always a fun trip!

      Oh! That was fast. Yay, I'll come check it out ASAP. You're so welcome; thank you for participating! Glad you had fun. :)

      Delete
  4. Wow, this tag sounds like a fun one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I thought it was! :) Feel free to do it if you'd like to, Raney!

      Delete
  5. Thank you so much for tagging me, Eve! :) I'm planning to do a tag collab on my blog next week, and I'll be sure to do this one. :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're welcome, Faith! :) Awesome, looking forward to reading it!

      Delete
  6. The very first proper lengthy piece I wrote was a terrible fanfic. And this was roughly when I was twenty. Yup, sort of got into the writing(and reading too) game kinda late. I still keep all my old stuff around though, unedited, as to remind myself how far I've progressed.

    This was a fun read. xD

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ahh fanfics.. XD They're a good place to start, honestly. You can get a really good idea of how to work with plot and develop characters, since the characters, setting, etc., are typically already there for you to mess with. I got into fanfics the last couple of years as well -- nothing major, but just fun little writes when I wasn't ready to leave the universe I was absorbed in lol.

      It's better to get into the game late than never, right? Some folks don't catch the writing bug until their 50s, or later! I wouldn't call 20 that late lol. You should consider posting some of your old writings if you feel up to it! It'd be interesting to see your progression from fanfics to writing a novel. :)

      Thanks for commenting, Christian! Hope you and Phoebe are doing well!

      Delete

Your comments make my day, and I appreciate every single of them. Let me know what's on your mind, and don't hesitate if you have any questions or suggestions. I'll do my best to get back to you!

Make sure to tick the little "Notify me" box if you would like to be notified of any replies and further comments.