Today is the Origins BlogFest day. I happened to stumble across this in KT Hanna's blog post. The blog event is co-hosted by DL Hammons, Katie Mills, Alex J. Cavanaugh, and Andrew MacNish.
Participants are supposed to have blogs posted today telling about where they started and where their unique beginning in writing started. I found this particular "fest" interesting for many reasons, so here I go. :)
Before I get started. A big HELLO! to all the new followers. Thank you all to those who have stopped by to leave a comment. It's nice to see regular traffic in the refurnished blog. I look forward to reading all y'all's blogs. :D
I didn't grow up reading a lot. In fact, reading was something that had to be forced upon me (at least to a certain extent). I loved to be read to however. My mother always read me Dr. Seuss (Oh the Places You'll Go, Green Eggs and Ham, The Cat in the Hat), a lot of little critter, Stellaluna, and several dinosaur books. The dinosaur books were short stories with illustrations about the lives of different types of dinosaurs. Those captured my wild imagination by force.
However, when it came to reading on my own, that was another story. My influences as a child were movies, and lots of them. The ones that made the biggest impact were the original Star Wars trilogy, The NeverEnding Story, a plethora of Godzilla flicks, and pretty much all the old classics from Disney (Fantasia, Fox and the Hound, Bambi, 101 Dalmatians, Pinocchio, The Jungle Book, The Rescuers, The Rescuers Down Under, Oliver and Company, and a little later, The Santa Clause. As an outside influence (of Disney that is) was All Dogs go to Heaven, Jurassic Park and The Lost World. Last but certainly not least, all the Earnest movies, especially Earnest Scared Stupid. My head was always in the clouds.
I didn't write when I was little. I drew. Much like an old style animator would draw out a scene frame by frame, I filled out notebooks of stick figure dinosaurs going through a day which told a story. I even drew a Velociraptor on the inside of my Mom's grey van with a marker (she was livid!). If you could've seen how many 70 page notebooks I filled out by my pictorial narratives, you could tell I had a knack for story telling. I used to go outside, pretending to be a dinosaur while narrating a story aloud as I acted like a T-Rex stalking its prey. There was a period where I got into Arthur, you know, the aardvark that wore the big black round glasses? I used to draw him and write story underneath the pictures. So you could say I was on my way. After I got tired of Arthur, I moved back to dinosaurs, but instead put them in clothes and had them act like school kids (I wanted to be a paleontologist when I kid in case you were curious).
When I was in middle school (12-14) I wrote a couple short stories. The first one I wrote, which had a laminated cover and back, was called Rocko's Halloween which was basically a fan fiction of the characters from Rocko's Modern Life. I was one of the few kids in my class to have actually written a story and was kind of a big deal at the time. After that I wrote a story that was kind of a spin off from Jaws, and was called Unseen. The story revolved around a mysterious entity in the shores of Hawaii making people disappear. I never described the thing attacking the residents (rather than a large black mass in the water), and the story was completely bloodless. Prior to writing, I had this vision of people swimming, surfing, playing in the water and just getting sucked under and vanishing. The deception of the story was that all the authorities of the small island thought it was a Great White Shark. The ending was very much like the movie that inspired me until the shark itself, which was charging the boat with its huge mouth open to take a monster bite out of the boat, was pulled under much like the victims had been. The MCs then realized that what had been around the shores wasn't a shark. The entity left the shores of Hawaii in the end, still unknown...
I think I wrote a couple other short stories around that time, but I don't remember them. Remember, even though I was writing, I still wasn't reading. The last story I think I had read was in elementary school before I moved to Indiana, and it was called A House with a Clock in its Walls. A wonderfully creepy kids book if I do say so myself. I read that aloud to my mom.
High school was a dead period. I didn't read, I didn't write. At least until my senior year, when I wasn't getting harassed as much. I wrote several horror-ish short stories. Lochness monster, Nosferatu, and then a Paranormal thriller loosely inspired from the movie The Boogey Man I called The Night. I thought this was where my calling would be. I had the most fun with horror, and enjoyed trying to scare people. I think it was because I was easily scared but was also fascinated by horror at the same time.
All my stories were seriously flawed and weak in the end (but I made progress with The Night, I read it during this past summer and really enjoyed certain elements). It wasn't until I was out of high school that I wrote my first story with a more focused mindset. The story, Reunion, was about four high school buddies getting back together after twenty or so years and one of them was a hit man. It was supposed to be thriller and I spent a month writing the story which reached fifty pages single spaced.
I hit a dead spot where I didn't write for three years. Then I decided to start writing a story I got from listening to an artist I enjoyed. The story was called Crystal Depths, a futuristic sci-fi about ancient machines being discovered at the deepest part of the ocean (Mariana Trench). I think I got ten pages written before I realized I needed to read to get the story the way I wanted. So I picked up a book by Peter Benchley called White Shark and just devoured it. The story was so tightly written and simple, that even a guy who hadn't read anything in fours years could get a quick grasp of the story and enjoy it.
I kept writing my novel (gradually gaining length), and then picked up a book I tried reading in high school but quit. I had loved the movie and figured it couldn't hurt to try reading it again. Want to know what it was?
Reading this book changed everything. It was like taking the next step in not only reading, but my writing as well. Between this book and White Shark I had read a non-fiction and a couple The X-Files books, but this was the novel that made me love Stephen King and get a taste in the true depth of writing.
Of course, with a slight understanding of a deeper concept in story telling, my writing stagnated and sometimes couldn't get anymore than one or two pages written a day. I even contemplated giving up, but I never did. I got the story finished at well over 100,000 words, taking about six months to complete.
After that, I realized writing was something I wanted to pursue as a career. And here am I now. Typing away on a laptop and thinking about my current novel. I'll wrap this up, I really need to get some homework done.
What's your origin? When did you realize you loved writing and wanted to pursue the pipe dream?