Just recently, I re-found the notebook that has my first completed story in it. So I was wondering, what was everyone's first completed story? How old were you? Did you ever turn the story into anything else?
My first story was.... me and my friend as vampire slayers. I was sixteen years old, which is now quite a while ago. The writing, to be frank, is quite terrible, but in a fun way. Even though I will never publish it, it still holds a special place in my heart... and spawned one or two sequels co-written with another friend (again, just for fun).
It was important though that it was the first story I ever finished. Since I knew I did it once, I had no rationale to use the 'I never finish stories' excuse again!
Just curious--Were you watching Buffy? When I first started "writing," my stories were pretty blatant ripoffs of whatever I'd been reading/watching.
First completed story worth the effort was creatively titled Duel. It's about, see, these two characters with a vendetta and they, uh, fight a duel. Very exciting. I think it was for the Sword and Sorceress anthology a couple years back.
I used to write a lot of fanfic stuff back in the dial-up BBS daze, circa 1990-1992.
In late 1992 I actually got to work on the home-grown community radio SF serial Searcher & Stallion, which some of the Utah hatrackers might recall. That was a lot of fun. I scripted 12 episodes that made it on air, and wrote a bunch more that did not.
Working on S&S made me think I should actually start getting serious about fiction.
Buffy had just come out then, but that wasn't the inspiration. It was much more due to Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake stories (long before they turned into all smut), as well as some vampire books by L.J. Smith. I even named one of the male characters Jean-Claude to tease my friend.
But the first I made into a "book" of sorts was in first grade. My elementary school had an awesome creative writing system where the teacher's aides would type up your story into page-sized chunks and help you spiral-bind it. You drew your own pictures.
So my first story was about my brother and I going to the park and meeting some of our friends.
My first story was a Dick, Jane, and Spot superhero pastiche written in eighth grade for my first creative writing class. It was well received when the teacher read it aloud to the class on a Monday. The class found it uproariously hilarious as did the teacher who couldn't read it through without bursts of laughter. I dashed it off on the hour-long bus ride to school that previous Friday of the first week of classes. Though otherwise plotless, it served to stimuate emotion and met the expectations of the assignment.
Unfortunately, the next Monday, the school board had determined that grammar skills were in a miserable state among the freshman class of the distict and ordered all English courses, elective or curriculum, converted over to intensive, focused grammar study. Among a small group of fellow, confident freshmen, that same Monday, barely two weeks into the school year, I took the year-end grammar exam in order to opt out of the curriculum. I was the sole pre-final exam student passing it in my freshman class. Less than half passed it at the end of the year.
I spent the rest of the year in the library reading and developing literary analysis skills through writing papers on what I'd read. They weren't book reports in the usual sense of the term, more like New Criticism analysis under the mentorship of my creative writing teacher. Science fiction, fantasy, horror, mystery, thriller, classics, I read one book a week for the course, year-end grade B+. I got off to a slow start, but made up for lost time once I accommodated to what the teacher wanted.
I wrote one story in the 4th grade about dragons. I think it devolved into more of a scientific article, as I was really into biology at the time and was trying to draw up a "realistic" anatomy of a dragon.
The second story I wrote was for fifth or sixth grade, which was a mystery story about a bumbling detective. I thought it uproariously funny at the time--I could hardly write it for my laughter. Neither of these stories survives, so I have no idea how successful I was.
The one story that I still have I wrote in the 8th grade as part of my English class. It's decent. It had dragons in it too, and in a way it was the basis for my WIP. The character evolved into the person she is now.
I think the first story I ever successfully completed was for an advanced spanish class in college where we had to write a simple story with correct spelling,grammar and tense. The use of the language was no problem for me so I kind of went nuts and wrote a moralistic tale, don't remember much about it more than I really was proud of it. Everyone got their stories back except me, the teacher said he would like to keep for a while and I never got it back. errr.
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While I'm sure I wrote things in my ... er, youth, I have no record of them and no memory of them. However, from my early teens I've kept journals, and even back then carbon copies of letters I wrote to friends (we moved overseas when I was 14, back before we'd be using computers to communicate if you can remember such a time, LOL.)
But I got serious about writing just under 2 years ago. It was a new year's resolution I made - stop thinking about it and try it. I found Hatrack around then and other writing sites.
I'm pleased to report that my first ever short story that I wrote in this phase of my life is now published! It's called Apples on the Moon and appears in the hot-off-the-presses Return to Luna anthology published by Hadley Rille Books. It's a thrill to be published at all, but published in a book with real pages and ink and everything is a part of the dream I never really let myself have when I started writing 2 years ago. I had a ton to learn at the time, still do for that matter. Thankfully I've had the opportunity to extensively workshop this piece (through critters here like Inarticulate Babbler and Arriki and others) and edited it again this spring to bring it up to snuff, enough up to snuff that it won a competition for the publication!
[This message has been edited by KayTi (edited December 07, 2008).]
Heh, I've got a story around here somewhere that I think I wrote in the third grade. It's hand written and hand illustrated, and bound by hand to boot. The writing stinks, by the way ;0
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I've read SF since, well, let's just say a long time, and only recently started to write.
My first story was about time travel and taught me just how much I had to learn; it's patiently awaiting my confidence to rise to the level I believe I need to do it justice, which will probably be the first quarter of next year ...
Number One on my opus list...a short story called "Biorhythms," which came out at twenty-one hundred words, and was written from June 30th to July 5th in 1975.
A little backstory on that, though...I had written a few things out before that, some by hand, and most not completed.
But in March 1975 I got a typewriter---for my birthday; my brothers got bicycles but I asked for and got a typewriter---a typewriter I still have, actually.
March I got the typewrter. Shortly after I picked up a "touch typing in ten easy lessons" booklet. Things were delayed until I got out of school---I was fourteen---but in early June I started in on the lessons. I got through five of 'em, then just started typing up stories.
I never actually submitted that story anywhere. Somewhere along the way I had picked up a copy of The Writer, which had guidlines, and word lengths. As I recall, all the major markets, four or five of 'em, in those day, listed a minimum of twenty-five hundred words, and my story fell under that.
Also...I haven't reread the story in, oh, maybe fifteen years or so. It might've been the best I could do when I was fourteen, but it isn't any good.
The first story I remember actually finishing was a school assignment when I was fifteen or so--a cheery tale about an Uncle killing his nephew.
The first story I finished off my own back was "Memories Of Ashes" last August, that one collected itself seven rejections before selling to Flashing Swords. And no, it wasn't any cheerier than my school effort, this time around a guy kills his girlfriend. Meh, cheery is overrated...
My first completed piece of fiction was in college. It was actually the catalyst to my dropping my English major and changing to sociology. I had misunderstood the assignment (there was no rubric) and my professor never stopped me during the process of writing it to tell me I was not doing what he wanted. After I had turned it in, he gave me a C+. I had never received anything less than a B on anything I had ever written. We got into a huge argument, with yelling involved. I walked out and went across campus and changed my major on the spot. It was too late to drop the class, so I simply never returned. The professor was also my advisor, and this happened during the middle of my junior year. To say that my temperment has tempered since then would be an understatement.
No one has actually done this yet, but I thought it would be neat to include the first 13 of my first attempt at fiction. I was about 13 at the time and had just recently finished reading The Hobbit and LOTR. I have edited it for punctuation only - everything else is exactly how I wrote it.
Screams were coming from every direction. Soldiers were running about, killing, and burning the village. This was the first sight as a young elf awoke to find everyone around him dead. His name was Stallis Denephorn, son of Luffis Denephorn, and for the first time in his life he found himself alone; for his mother and father were laying in the next room, burned and disfigured. Stricken with fear, he started to venture out of his burning hut, but then, suddenly he remembered something his father once showed him. There was a passage leading under the village, and he was to hide there if they were ever attacked. Then something occurred to him. “Maybe some of the others have escaped into the tunnels!”
[This message has been edited by philocinemas (edited December 07, 2008).]
I found a copy of the first story I evrer (almost) finished recently. It was well written, but totally cliche(the MC was the last man on Earth named Adam Gardner) It was deeply spiritual, but reflected the spirituality of a teenager. I was happy to find it but it saddened me that I had not believed in myself enough to continue writing at that time. The quality of the prose was good and if I had pursued writing then I would have twenty-five years of experience now.
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Fifth grade, I had recently read The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis, among other influences I don't remember. I wrote (and then had my mother type) a fantasy epic of about ten pages for a class project, complete with a map of my fantasy world (virtually identical to where I lived). It's unique, groundbreaking concepts such as children that rode on the back of flying birds or the incisive decision to name my fantasy world 'Esperanto' must surely have made my teachers quiver with delight at my untapped brilliance. I did always wondered about the giggling, though.
The "book" was put in the school library, along with the rest of the students' work and then mostly forgotten. Twenty years later, my wife and I visited the school, asked and were allowed to keep it. It now sits in a folder with other examples of my writing from days gone by.
I enjoy seeing early work and remembering the journey that brought me here - I will break them out and have another look soon :)
Not including anything I might have written in my single-digit years (which I do not remember...probably for a good reason), the first 'story' I ever wrote was based on a talent show skit I did with four other teeens at a youth group trip to the ocean one summer.
We did an air band skit. The song choices were odd. Our stage presence was corney. The skit itself was even somewhat ridiculous. But, the five of us had a blast.
On the bus ride home, everyone else around me was asleep, so I started thinking about what it would be like had the five of us actually played real instruments for our youth group (none of the others played anything, and I didn't start taking piano lessons until about two years later). What if we had played real songs? What if we had been a musical hit as opposed to a comedic hit? What if we decided to see if we could extend our musical creativity and our fan support beyond just that one night show? The ideas started flooding into my mind.
For the rest of that summer, and even during most of my tenth grade year, I spent every spare moment I could expanding on my ideas. Not too long afterwards, I came up with a small collection of short stories based on a teenaged band that was attempting to break into the music world. I knew I would have to change the characters' names before I showed it to anyone, but I liked what I was coming up with.
I eventually put those stories aside to make way for homework, for marching band, for working for a living, for dating, and for playing in a real band. The stories sat on the shelf, unattended, for a year or so, then I pulled them back out, felt the original enthusiasm all over again, and expanded on what I did before.
This pattern continued---sort of---through my mid 30s. By the time I changed professions, started raising a family, and discovered the joys of science fiction writing, my band was essentially shoved to the burner behind the back burner.
About two years ago, I was driving my kids out of state to see their grandfather, so I decided to pass the time by telling them some of the things that happened in these incomplete stories. The three youngest were entertained, but my teenaged daughter asked, "Did you write that?"
"What did you do with it?"
"It's still sitting on my shelf. Somewhere. I think."
"Why don't you finish it?"
That was all the motivation I required.
At this point in time, I am currently seeking agency representation for Metagerhund Empire.
This might be longer than you intended but here goes...
My first story was written my sophomore year in high school. I wasn't worth much in school. I was one of those kids that the teachers were always so frustrated with. So much potential, and all that noise. I ended up failing Sophomore English twice and junior English once and ultimately had three English classes my senior year. That was fun.
I failed not because I couldn't handle the material but because the classes were always first or second period which I couldn't be bothered to attend most days.
But that is all back story. We'll call it the Prologue, meaning... skip it if you wanna.
All three years of high school I had Mrs. Jane Noe for one English class or another and man did I frustrate her. If I was present, I was asleep. If I wasn't asleep I was reading some pulp novel. I drove her nuts. One day she gave the class an assignment to write some short fiction. It didn't need to be a complete story but it had to be a certain length. I forget how long exactly. This would be judged and the winner from our grade would be published in the school literary magazine. (I went to the largest High School in Indiana at the time.)
For some reason I was excited at the prospect and I turned in a paper the very next day. It was a short story based in the Black Forest in Germany about some Wiccan druids who had awakened something unnatural that went about rampaging. I didn't get much further than what I would imagine would be chapter one of a novel but it was fun. But it won and was published.
But it didn't take. I didn't write again for fifteen years. Which brings us forward to this past summer when I started writing again.
I made a couple posts on my website about catching up with Mrs. Noe a few months ago. She had the original story archived and sent it to me. How exciting! It's published, with all it's original flaws, in the second post listed below.
I don't think I wrote any stories as a kid, but my best friend Josh and I had a whole imaginary world, called the Neaterworld, a parallel universe with it's own cast of characters. It's map was suspiciously similar to the layout of the playground, with the jungle gym being a lava dome, the willow tree being a rocket tree, etc... The two main protagonists were Puffball and Scalehead, (Scalehead was my creation, puffball his). The ruler was Double Dragon (his creation), and King Kangaroo was always trying to usurp the throne. We filled whole notebooks with character profiles, with pictures, stats, etc... I still have those notebooks in a storage room. They're still fun to look at, all in colored pencils.
And MAN was I pissed on days when he played four-square instead of going to the Neaterworld with me!
The first story I wrote (without it being assigned) was in sixth grade. It was a children's picture book featuring a caterpillar who didn't know how to become a butterfly. I showed it to my teacher who loved it. He got one of the artsy students to illustrate it on large paper and then had it read to the first graders.
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Fifth Grade. I wrote a "serial" called simply "The Mad Scientist" - each chapter ended with a cliffhanger, which was resolved in the next chapter.
I used every cliche' from the old serials of the 1930s and 1940s -- cars over cliffs, exploding buildings -- always the hero in peril... I kept that thing until 8th Grade and revised it for entry into a writing tournament. I placed Third.
So, here I am 30 years later trying to write my first real story.
my first story was a sci fi about how humans travel from earth to another planet that they call Deltron, but earth gets destroyed by a meteor and the tech on Deltron slowly degrades to midieval levels, and there are these aliens that want to destroy the human race...
after that, I shifted into Fantasy where I wrote a book about a warrior who was split in two, one half good the other evil... still not the best. dracula was the villain, thought that was a nice twist...
At this moment, I remember my first completed story as a modern retelling of "Cinderella" written for an English assignment when I was seventeen. The story exists on a floppy disk somewhere...
When I was maybe six years old, I attempted a story about a cheerful family sharing love and gifts on Christmas day. I stopped after the first paragraph. I wasn't sure whether the family woke, awakened, awaked, or stopped sleeping with another word, so I decided to quit instead of write a story that would prove I was stupid.
Later in elementary school I started various short fiction including "Queenie" (a rewrite of someone else's story about a princess with a coat of different animal furs) and an untitled story about two fairies named Ashleaf and Twinkle, as well as my unfinished Coloret books about magical color-ordered monarchies under threat by the evil Black queen.
An English language tutor in my twelfth year stated readers might consider my Coloret stories racist, so I abandoned them soon after. Also during middle school, I attempted to write a comedic puppet play called "Piganna" and a traditional play about people in a small-town restaurant. Maybe when I'm a mother I'll uncover the Piganna puppets and complete that play, because I still laugh when I recall its scenes.
The next few years were full of confusion, as my need to write, for class assignments and personal fulfillment, conflicted with a certainty that I did not deserve to write. As a consequence, I wrote poorly-planned scenes for multiple stories, mainly literary fiction and fantasy.
When I was seventeen, I swallowed pride long enough to modify a scene intended for a novel into a submission for a school district art show. I won first place, and the sub would have gone to the state-level competition, except I moved out-of-state before the next round of judging. As my earliest notebooks are buried in a storage closet, I'm providing the first 13 lines of that 2001 art show sub, titled "Strange Tools".
quote:Her skin was the color of kherhal bark—slightly darker than the rest of the people around her. The hair that had fallen loose from her leather string rested on her shoulders, shifting as she moved her head like waves of a dark ocean. Her eyes screamed for attention—there was anger in those dual dusky orbs but no fear. She stood as if ready to pounce.
Keflin pointed, then leaned into his father to say quietly, "That one."
"No," Master Turniv responded sternly. "You've never handled a slave like that one before. It will take too much from you to break her." He paused, then added quietly to himself, "Nice to have her in the group, though."
"Father, you told me to choose any woman from the incoming
There are 27 words ending in "ly" in the 1,750-word sub. Ouch. I plan to rewrite or revise "Strange Tools" and similar pieces to complete the related novel.
*Edited to correct a spelling error.*
[This message has been edited by aspirit (edited December 23, 2008).]
Ha! Great question. My first finished piece was an attempt at a novel that takes place in 17th Century England. Like I knew *anything* about either England or the 17th Century (my first ambition was to write historical adventure). I thought I was prepared for the story b/c I had studied Romeo and Juliet in the 10th grade and learned words like "certes" and "methinks" and just knew I could use them affectively. teehee. The story is awful, but I learned more about writing in the two years it took me to finish it than in any class I took in high school. Gag me. (I can't believe I just admitted all this. How embarrassing. )
Posts: 226 | Registered: May 2008
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The first I can remember writing was in a class in about the eighth grade. It probably wasn't horrible--for the eighth grade.
The first novel length work was in college and it is truly dreadful. Linear. Characters have no depth and apparently no lives because nothing happens to divert them from their "quest".
But I was quite proud of finishing a novel-length work. It was typed on an IBM selectric. (That will give you an idea how long ago this was.) I actually learned how to do book-binding so I could bind it. It's still on my bookshelf. Will I take it down and read it. Not on your life!
But, it wasn't a total loss. My current work is a distant descendant of that one.
The first story I remember writing was done to get out of a DAR essay contest in about the 4th grade. They gave us the option to do a short story about life in a pioneer family rather than the essay. Wasn't much as a story goes, but I got out of the essay with a decent grade. Used that same trick multiple times, the last being my senior year in college where an anthropology prof gave us the option of a historical fiction piece instead of a term paper.
Posts: 612 | Registered: Jul 2005
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My first story was pretty much a rip-off of this old, not very well done, tv show. I think it was called land of the lost. I wrote a long story for a 5th grader about a family rafting and getting sucked down a whirlpool into this land where things like ewoks were the predominate people and dinosaurs roamed the Earth.
I wrote some bad poetry and started a bunch of short stories for the next 20 years but didn't devote myself to writing until just the past year or so.
Well, I wrote a 6 page short story in fifth grade. Does that count? It was about a couple of kids going into a haunted house on a dare. They see all of these scary things, but discover they're not what they seem (ie: scary shadow is actually a weird looking tree). The story ended like all great stories should: the kids drinking a root beer float. :-P
Funny enough, looking back, I could see my tendency to shoehorn more sophisticated sounding language into my writing even then. I used words like "shan't" and "indubitably." It's interesting to see how similar yet different a person's writing is over time.
I'm working on my first story right now, about 20 years after deciding I wanted to write. Fear of being terrible finally stopped being enough to hold me back from getting started.
Posts: 46 | Registered: Aug 2007
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I wrote my first short story for a kindergarten class assignment. It was called "The One-Eyed Monster" and it started out on the proverbial "dark and stormy night". Three pages later, the one-eyed monster managed to get his grubby little paws on a very large sack of money, and ran off into the night screaming "I'm rich, I'm rich."
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I can't remember the title of my first finished story, though I believe it's still kicking around somewhere. It was a short, written when I was in 6th grade, about a girl and her little brother who built a spaceship in their back garden, flew to an unknown planet called Juno far beyond Pluto populated by people with blue skin, rescued the rightful king from his evil aunt and made it home in time for tea.
Apparently I didn't dig the whole 'plausibility' thing when I was ten.
I really had to give this topic some serious thought. I'm not really sure what my first story may have been. I do remember we had to write a one page story for English class in junior high (back then that's what they called Middle School, and it was only 7th & 8th grade) each week. I wasn't much into science fiction / fantasy back then and was a horse crazy girl. Everything I read was about horses, and nothing else existed as far as I was concerned.
Then I discovered my step-dad's old manual type writer collecting dust at home and started tinkering around on it. Naturally, my first story was about horses, and my MC's name was-- are you ready for this?--Crystal Stevens. So, now you know where my user name came from. Every time I played with my brothers and one cousin of ours I used that name and we would all have a make-believe horse of one kind or another.
It was somewhere along in here that I discovered super-hero comic books and couldn't believe how women were treated in them. Even those with phenomal powers were held back by their feminine ways. It about drove me crazy. This was about the time the original Star Trek TV series made its debute. I was in my freshman year of high school at the time when I decided that I could write something better than what was on TV or in books (I guess I should add that I was reading SciFi/Fantasy by then along with the horse related books), and started a story about a strong willed-take charge type young woman who ended up on another planet. That book has now developed into a trilogy that I call Julie's Quest for lack of something better. Of course now since I've started it all kinds of macho women types abound. Xena readily comes to mind among others.
I gave up on writing horse stories because my horses always ended up thinking like humans instead of horses. Bigger than life, if you know what I mean, and there are just too many stories of that type out there. So, that's when I left the horse stories behind and concentrated on SciFi/Fantasy.
So that's my background as a writer, and I've started several other stories since. And, yes, I know my novella is about horses that I wrote just this past year, but its focus is on my MC, Wyatt, and not aimed at any particular horse... though there are a few in the story. It also keeps horses exactly how they are in real life with the exception of Wyatt's Indian Spirit Guide, Black Rain, but she's much more than just a horse.
[This message has been edited by Crystal Stevens (edited January 02, 2009).]