Welcome to my blog series, “My First Story” where my author friends and I talk about how we started writing, what we wrote first, and how it relates to our careers today.
Recently in a post called “It’s MY Northanger Abbey, not yours!” I talked about the first novel I ever wrote and how it was similar to Jane Austen’s first work Northanger Abbey.
…Northanger read surprisingly like something I had written myself. The first novel I ever wrote when I was ten. I wasn’t going to be a novelist—my dream was to be a singer—but I had this fabulous idea that everyone would want to read my work too. Fifty-six pages of big, bubbly, pencil writing later, I had my masterpiece. A tale about a teen actress who lives her life in a fantasy world where she is the star of every situation. She encounters horrors (her plane to Paris being hijacked by a terrorist group) and deals with them as if she is an action star despite her being young and having never handled a gun before. But it isn’t that I feel I am so great having written something very like Jane. It’s more, because I had penned something similar, it made me feel closer to the writer herself. She was once like me. We both lived in minister households and had to find some way to escape the restricted and unvarying life we had. Mine was not a piece of art like Jane’s is. In fact, I’ve been repeatedly made fun of from a certain quote, “They went to the most expensive stores like K-mart and Target.” However, I found a connection to Jane through it. Not because we’re both writers, but because we were both young women with overactive imaginations and through the story, are almost chastising ourselves for our wild ideas. If you study both of our first novels—and no, mine will never be in print lol—you’ll find our fears when growing up. We lived in novels most of the time and our imaginations were always getting us in trouble. We were disinterested in the real world and by writing this storyline, we were advising ourselves (although I didn’t realize it then and she probably didn’t either) that we couldn’t always live in fictional worlds, while at the same time enjoying every minute of it.
Since writing this post, I started wondering what other author’s first novels are like. Did they have the same silly plot lines? Did they start young or in adulthood? Are writers always writers? Or is it something you can grow into? I started writing at ten, but it took me 15 years to realize that is what I wanted to do with my life.
Join me and my author friends as we take a journey of self-discovery, sharing our first works and the sometimes embarrassing stories behind them.
Next time, you’ll hear from author H.R. Boldwood.