I’ve got three words for you—writing sucks. (Disney/Kingdom Hearts fans should get it.) It consumes your life, writer’s block curses you the second you attempt to put a pen to paper or fingertips to keyboard, and you’ll be criticized when you go public with your work. So why in the hell should you become an author? Why in the hell did I become an author? Simple—I’m beyond passionate when it comes to this shit.
As of the time I’m writing this blog entry, I am 20 years old, meaning I started writing 14 years ago at the age of six. Well, I suppose it was drawing initially, but then I started putting story to my drawings, and they quickly evolved into graphic novellas. By the time I was seven years old, I had an entire fantasy graphic novel series drawn out, and they were actually pretty in-depth. Eventually, I gained more of an interest into the written form of the story rather than the visual side and began writing the graphic novel series in the form of a novel in an old journal I had.
That was my start. It sparked my imagination like no other, and writing about such adventurous journeys through a fantastical world I had never seen in person but imagined quickly became second nature. I had such a wide (and sometimes dark) imagination as a kid. That made for some interesting material for novels.
Once I got around 100 pages or so, however, that was my introduction to writer’s block. I didn’t know where to take the story any longer. It was so demotivating, I threw the book away and gave up on writing for a couple of weeks. However, my parents found the book in the garbage and read it, telling me that with a bit more development, it would make an incredible story. That motivated me enough to start over. They got me a new journal, and in that, I began writing the book all over again. It didn’t lose its magic at all. I wrote it the entire time with great passion and enthusiasm, and I didn’t stop. Because of this, when I was in trouble, my parents would ground me from writing my book, but I always found a way to do it.
One rather funny story comes to mind when thinking about that. I was eight years old one night when I was writing. It must have been at around 3:00am when I was doing so, and typically, children of my age at the time shouldn’t be awake that early, but I just to write. My dad came in because he noticed my light was on and asked, “What are you doing up so early?” My only response was to look up at him like a deer in headlights then drop my head on my desk and pretend to sleep, while my pen was still in my hand, while my dad was watching, as if I thought that would fool him. Needless to say, it didn’t.
You get the idea by now. I had a very strong passion for writing when I was younger. Once I finished using my first journal, I scavenged any piece of paper I could find to continue writing the story in the form of a sequel, which was even better than the first book! Thinking back on it, that sequel was where I got a lot of the ideas I use for my novels these days. It was longer, had more variety, and had an even larger cast of characters. That was when I decided to try writing it all into one book.
There was an odd technique I used as a kid to make a loose-leaf paper with a bunch of writing on it feel more like a novel when you hold it. I had no way of binding it, but I would ask for reams of paper for Christmas and for my birthday then cut them all in half down the middle horizontally so they were all about the height and width of an actual novel. I wrote about three novels like this, but I’ll never forget my first one. It was a combination between the first two I ever wrote, and it was actually pretty awesome.
I had gotten used to character development, world-building, and character-driven plot by this point, and that made this re-write even better. It was so adventurous and in-depth… I actually still have that old loose-leaf book hidden away in a shoe box of mine with personal treasures from my past.
For about three years, that was how I wrote novels, but when I was twelve years old, I discovered the NaNoWriMo Young Writer’s Program where you could write a book in a month and get it published. Did I join? You bet your ass I did. I joined in October of 2009 and tried my best to write my book using a word processor, but I started losing faith when I realized that I wasn’t writing fast enough to finish the whole book within the time allotted. I gave up only three weeks in, but once again, my parents motivated me by saying that if things don’t go to plan, it’s okay, and that I just need to find a way to keep going.
Needless to say, I was able to finish the book. It wasn’t nearly as long as the handwritten version, but I finished it and published it, and I was beyond happy to have a fully printed and published version of the story I’d been writing for all those years. My Choir Director at the time, Mrs. Monterossi, caught word of the fact that I wrote a book, along with a couple other of the teachers I had in Middle School, and they started spreading the word. All of a sudden, the fact that I published a novel became the talk of the school, and that’s how it was until I moved. I managed to write a sequel to that book, but it was much longer (and heavily inspired by Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, my favorite game at the time).
I published the sequel shortly before I ended up moving to another town, where I resorted to being all quiet and reserved again, though people always seemed to think I was approachable in my new Middle School. There were always people around me wanting to know about my books. As a kid, I hated opening up to people, and I was rather hesitant to even talk to anyone. (Though a few of those people are people I actually still talk to these days. Not as often since we’ve all parted ways after graduation, but still.) Regardless of my insecurity, people still seemed to love my work and wanted more, so it was a pretty decent self esteem boost.
I had moved to that town right at the end of Middle School and right before I would begin High School. It felt so intimidating. The High School looked so large to me, especially since there were multiple buildings to navigate. That was where my writing career both peaked and plateaued at the same time. I wrote and published my third novel, a story I had never written as a kid, but it was a sequel to the last book, taking place 100 years later within that world.
Again, it took heavy inspiration from video games I was into at the time, this one taking the most inspiration from Final Fantasy IX, Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII, and one of my favorite games of all time now as an adult, Final Fantasy VI. It was still awesome, and that book, which was titled A Thief’s Journey, was the starting point for the rest of the series as far as lore is concerned. Everything in the books following it was based after the lore, the characters, and the universe of A Thief’s Journey, which is ironic, since it’s literally just a bridge between the old part of the series and the new part, which took place in our modern world, but the main characters would travel to the worlds from the previous books and the worlds were all connected.
When I was 16 going-on 17 (I hope you get that joke as well), I began writing a book called Dark Fantasy: Rise of the Dragon, and this is a novel I still struggle with to this day. This was the first novel I’d written in a very long time that took place outside the world of the previous books, and instead of being fantasy, it was actually realistic fiction/sci-fi. It followed a group of teenagers and young adults when they woke up one day and found that the majority of the state of Oregon was entirely abandoned and they were left behind by their families. The story was a suspense action/adventure story taking place in a dystopian society with a single government reigning the world controlled by a single man who only went by The Dragon, hence the title, and the kids in the story were in an independent army fighting against the martial law and crushing the corrupt capitalist society. This story became very popular in my High School among the Choir and Theatre students, and people always wanted more. I even managed to get a short story spinoff series written for everyone, and that’s where its popularity kicked off.
I lost motivation for the story about 210 pages in, and stopped writing it, but that wasn’t the end. For my Senior year in High School, I decided I’d write a novel keeping the title Dark Fantasy, but it became known as Dark Fantasy I: Endless Rain, and this was a fantasy novel with some of the same characters from Rise of the Dragon, but it also took place in the same universe as the previous novels. My co-author helped me write that one, and it was actually pretty good. That book was another jump-off point as far as lore goes. Though I have yet to finish another book in that series, my co-author started his own series based after that book, and it was awesome.
I stopped writing as much after graduating High School when I needed to worry about college and working a stable job. I went through quite an existential crisis for a while after that because I had such an issue figuring out what to do with my life. Once I stopped attending college because it wasn’t helping me and I found a job I actually felt good about, I started writing again. I fell in love with a close friend of mine and ended up deciding writing a book that would be dedicated to her. It was some of the best work I’d ever done, and it even gained quite a following at work. A few people I know who I don’t work with anymore but I’m still friends with are still obsessed with my writing, so I always update them on my writing.
December of 2016 was when I finished Lenora, the book I would give to the friend I was in love with. She read the book and got back to me, saying that she admired my courage for doing such a thing, but that she didn’t feel the same way, and honestly, I wasn’t as heartbroken as I thought I’d be. I accepted it. She was (and still is) one of my closest friends, and the fact that we’re still friends makes me happy. I started working on its sequel (which I’m still working on) and changed the title from Lenora to Black Crystal: The Origin.
And that brings us to where I’m at now, trying to write multiple books at a time since I’m stuck with all of them. Why did I become an author and spend so long writing? At first, it was because I loved expressing myself through the fictional worlds and characters in my books, but now, I feel motivated to move people with my writing. I want to make a difference in the world with my work. Even if you don’t have a “save-the-world-with-writing” complex like I do, just write. If you’ve ever had the desire to write anything but claim you “don’t have the time” or “don’t know if it will be good”, just write. Write like your life depended upon it, and keep writing.