A Little Backstory

The learning curve of writing began with the adoration I held for books. When I was little, finding my Mum’s typewriter and giving that a whirl was very pleasing; I felt so grown-up pressing the stiff keys and watching ink being stamped grudgingly onto the paper. Even when I was not trying to write funny little stories on it, there would appear a bored paragraph of the alphabet repeated over and over. This is what writers’ block looked like for me the first time it happened.

Not too many years afterwards we got our first family computer, and the amazing invention of Microsoft Word – the same program I use to write today. I remember sitting at the computer, meeting the paperclip guy for the first time, and coming up with my first nameless story.

It is very odd now, thinking about what interests us when we are younger. Looking up what came out around that time and before, it seems my twelve-year-old self may have been influenced by certain films within the vampire genre. My humble opinion remains that good vampire films were the ones where immortals were dark and gothic, wielding deadly swords, becoming rebel rock stars and fighting wars with other beastly races. These ideas still intrigue me to no end.

My undead Main Character (MC), Leona was very beautiful – something I did not realise I cared about back then – and her personality was quiet, calm and cool. She had unlimited resources, so-to-speak; Leona lived in a mansion and never had to pay for anything, but wore expensive clothes made mostly out of silk (since I was not aware of much else at the time). So, in a way, Leona was my Mary-Sue, the person I wished I could be, allowing me to live vicariously through her.

The second story I tried to write (and pretty much finished, I am proud to note) was called The Keeper’s Eyes, or Eyes of The Keeper (EOTK); I never could decide. After reading Shade’s Children by Garth Nix for the first time, possibly my first taste of the Young Adult genre, EOTK came to me so naturally, more so than any story ever would again. The problem here was, although I loved writing it, it read like a very badly funded movie; with some characters dressed in red leather, others based on Xmen characters like Toad, typical evil twin scenarios and the MC, who was a mute, (spoiler alert) could somehow fly in the end. Not to mention the fact that, the main monsters of the story were giant mosquitoes, which lived in the “Vampire Stake Building”. So the enchantments of Queen of the Damned and Underworld had clearly not left me by that point either.

Being a writer-wanabe-bookworm took up a lot of my time as a teenager, leaving little for the stuff girls usually do in the first months of High School, like working to fit in. Whenever something was not going so great, I wrote it down later, along with a solution I could try out. Not every solution was the best, or the most diplomatic, but it was my way of letting things out. The only problem with this being a method of release is that, if you forget to write, everything could come pouring out of your ears at any time instead, having been bottled up for too long.

Kept as regular as possible though, I found a diary helpful for ‘shouting’ at people who picked on me, so it meant less conflict at school when I otherwise did not react to them. Today it still serves the same purpose, but I am learning more than ever how to use my words. For especially angry tirades, it seems best to write it down first until I am not angry anymore, then talk about it if still needed.

Truthfully, these last few years, writing has been thin on the ground if it has not been for university, but thanks to a Creative Writing course in second year, it has not been all bad. For my dissertation, I studied the gender roles present in the works of Tamora Pierce and the late Diana Wynne Jones, two writers that inspired most of my childhood with the magic, swordplay, and general breaking of boundaries that seem to be commonplace in their work. To do the comparisons, I had to read them again, which was like stepping into the past. I was a little girl again, reading Alanna, or The Chrestomanci Series sneakily under the table, after Ms H. has already told me to put it away. Within hours of picking the books up, I was inspired to write-up plenty of ideas to follow-up on. I cannot recommend these writers enough.

Story notes are something I am very good at writing down. I literally have whole A4-sized books covered in scribbles, complete with character drawings, bios and doodles. It is just getting back to the notes, and making something more of them that I have trouble with.

Perhaps I will look again, try to make sense of some of it and post at a later date, in the meantime, it would be cool to know what you thought of this, whether there are any first attempts at writing you are willing to share, any favourite reads. Also criticism is more than welcome.

Do not be afraid to post a comment and let me know!


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