First things first...I'm just going to get it out of the way and say that every writer has a den, or cave, or mountain stronghold of old first-time-for-that type work that's probably best left unearthed. But here I am, taking the alarm coded-locks off of that dusty bin o' old first-times. Seriously, my old grade school/junior high/high school writing folder-of-doom literally has dust and a dead spider on it.
My first story writing venture was a grade school collaboration with my co-author (and younger sister) about a pack of wolves...er, doing kick-ass things. What those things were I don't remember. Or maybe it was dogs. Hey, so my narrative and plot was lacking, okay? In fact, at this point I'm not even sure if the story was really mine, or my mostly my sister's brainchild. Whatev. Point is: I had a hand in it. I think.
After that, in the sixth grade I decided, dagnabbit, I'ma write me a book. A whole book. Like one of them big ones. Okay, not that big (19 single spaced pages). What followed was my first novel masterpiece diligently typed out on an ancient Apple II E computer, and only half finished. It involved a little brother and sister duo named Joe and Sarah Shmoe (yeah, I thought I was hilarious and punny then too) trying to find out their father's Top Seekret job—obviously creating time travel. The kids get rocketed in time into the super-duper distant future and another planet that was inhabited by a cast of mythological creatures all looking for the Chosen Ones. Guess who those were. It also involved a roc-bird guide, a family of four-fingered centaurs, an Eeevil queen dragon and her reptilian henchmen, and some weird explanation as to why having five-fingers was going to fulfill some mystical prophesy involving five powers.
Yeah, even then I was genre-hopping like a game of Frogger. (Or Joust. Remember Joust? Atari 4 Eva'!)
My first finished draft of a novel actually didn't happen until college. I have a lot of half-assed, confusing novel starts until then. But college is where I got serious about this writing dealio. So in the midst of reading 300 page treatises on blah blah blah Hemingway blah blah blah math and stuff, I found time to devote a 500 word-per-day goal to my novel. Somehow I didn't go insane. It starred a prejudiced-against-magic young knight forced to work with a dark power-hungry sorcerer and a desert nomad warrior/lurv interest in order to stop body-stealing demons from taking over humanity. Oh, and the title was Relics of Blood. Cliché? Maaaaybe a little. Still, there are some non-cliché bits to it that I'm still quite proud of and will likely recycle in the future.
My first ever (and currently only) short story that was submitted to mags, also garnered me my first (and only) rejections. It was also my first attempt at writing a humor bit. So all around my story To Reign in Purgatory was a fist-bump of awesome firstness. I received a lot of good feedback from the places I submitted to, so it reminds me that getting any feedback at all is a good thing. Plus, one editor comment I received pretty much sums up what my friends tell me about my humor to my face*, "This is funny, and sharp, but it overplays the pop-culture angle."**
For funzies, here is the first paragraph to my first ever novel attempt by little sixth-grade me:
Sarah Shmoe was packing her backpack, and getting ready for the last day of seventh grade, when she heard a guitar playing a soft melody coming from her little brother's room. Then unexpectedly the music slowly started to crescendo into a heavy metal crash.
Yes, I still have it...
*actually all of my friends are imaginary
**I guess I should take out that previous Atari reference...because then that leads in a downward spiral toward the unasked for Street Fighter II reference, and before we know it there is pop-culture chaos and not-so-subtle bomb dropping mentions as bad as Princess Peach throwing a turnip.
This topic brought to you by the 1st Time Winner of the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress, the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour. This wonderful starlet hosts a bevy of talented writers, from published authors to newbies and everything in between. Up next on the tour is Best Animated Feature winner Gillroy Cullens over at Swords vs. Pens.