Learning Curve: Consequences of Writing at a Young Age

Yeah, I started writing before I was even in second grade, but here’s the issue with that—I wasn’t exactly familiar with proper writing etiquette.

Everyone had this delusion that just because I was writing novels and such that I was intelligent. Hell, people still seem to think and I am, but I can tell you this with 100% certainty that I’m not. All it took for me as a kid was patience, imagination, creativity, and a semblance of story structure, which I picked up from video games, ironically. By societal standards, I am not intelligent. I was almost qualified for special education in Elementary School due to a speech issue I had, I failed the majority of my classes in Middle School, I almost didn’t graduate High School (but with some help from my awesome Government teacher, one of the counselors, and my supportive parents, I made it), and I dropped out of college because nothing I was doing there felt like it was important enough for me to continue. (Aside from Theatre. That, I stuck through until the end because I love acting, which is why I’m still making YouTube videos despite how pointless it is.) I’m only twenty years old and I’ve already worked about seven jobs. Three of them were with the same company, but different positions, and I’m still with that company now, and I will say I am fond of my job now, but everything beforehand didn’t work out. I’m not intelligent, and I’m not skilled. My “talents” are all learned because of other people, but I embrace it.

My point in rambling here is that people have a lot of misconceptions about me because I’ve been writing since I was six years old, and yet, that’s still beside the point. My main point is that until I was eighteen, I had no idea what I was doing as far as my writing career goes. The first book I published had what was my most common “grammatical” error when writing, and it was paragraph indenting and where to include it. It wasn’t until seventh grade that I figured out you start a new paragraph when a different character speaks. Once I realized that sort of style flowed better visually, I never turned back, especially when having all of the quotes in a single paragraph made it look so clunky and hard to read.

Even after that, I’ve been making errors all the way until the last book I published. And I mean the first edition that was published. (There were two different editions of the same book published, but that’s a story for another time.) Throughout High School, my best friend, an awesome guy named Parker, was my self-appointed co-author, and that wasn’t exactly official until the book I wrote our Senior year—Dark Fantasy I: Endless Rain. He, as well as our friend Matthew, helped me write that, and for a while, we considered that to be our best work, especially since it was a collaborative effort.

I was the brains of the operation, coming up with the main story, who would be involved, and where it would take place. I built the world, the characters, and the sequence of events and did 97% of the main writing. Parker was our character guy, the master of creating character development scenes involving great dialogue with emotional impact. And Matthew was the king of writing detailed and engaging battle scenes. As I’ve said numerous times, I was mostly inspired by video games, so my books are almost like that in the way that battle scenes occur often, but they’re never filler scenes; they move the story forward. I learned a lot, writing with both of them, so once we parted ways, I began using those learned skills in my writing.

It wasn’t until late last year I realized that Dark Fantasy I: Endless Rain was still full of mistakes, and it was a complete accident that I learned this. I began re-writing one of my older books and sharing chapters of the story with co-workers, who fell in love with my writing style. It had almost been two years since I completed a novel at the time, and I felt compelled to write. Because of how long it had been since I wrote, my writing style changed dramatically. Part of it may have been due to the fact that I was completely obsessed with the writing style of the game Undertale at the time, but that’s simple conjecture. I started a re-write of a book I now call Dark Fantasy Legends: Rise of the Dragon, a realistic fiction/sci-fi approach to a near-apocalyptic world where the most powerful world governments form a central government and ruin everything, and it followed a group of teenagers affected by the changes.

My co-workers couldn’t get enough of the book and constantly wanted more. I was going to write it and complete it for that year’s NaNoWriMo, which I’m sure many writers are familiar with, but by September, I ran into an awful case of writer’s block and I couldn’t finish it. I wanted to participate in NaNoWriMo so badly. It had almost been two years since I did it last at the time, and I had to do something. I didn’t actually determine what I was going to write until November 3rd, three days into the event. I clearly remember how I came up with the concept—I was walking home from the store that evening and thought of writing a more traditional fantasy novel that puts a new spin on the traditions. Instead of following a knight, it would actually follow the adventures of a Princess and the orphans she meets at the beginning of her adventure, eventually leading to an unforeseen war.

The title of the book came very easily—I called it Lenora, which was the name of the Princess. I don’t know how I came up with her name as quickly as I did, but I did, and as soon as I got the idea, I got home, opened my laptop, and I started writing. I got about four chapters in before I decided it was a good place to stop for the night. I don’t know what came over me, but the writing process flowed so well! I just couldn’t stop writing it. Eventually, I started writing it for a more personal reason. It was to be a love letter in disguise to a friend of mine whom of which was the inspiration for the character Princess Lenora, though that’s an irrelevant story I have little desire to elaborate on.

My co-workers loved the story, they loved the characters, they loved the setting, and they seemed to love the writing style. Even when I didn’t have much confidence on my end, it was nice to know that I had a faithful audience who enjoyed my work.

I eventually published the book and the rest is history. (Or rather, a story that I will tell more about at a later time since I’ve recently re-published the book for the public and it is back into relevance.) Thanks to my co-workers, my amazing audience, and everyone who’s been encouraging me, I’ve realized that I’ve found my own writing voice, one that I am fully confident in. Thinking back at six year-old me with all those little writing mistakes made me realize how far I’ve come as an author, and how I can keep going, how I can constantly improve at this craft.

I hope you find yourself in these words. If you started early and stuck with it, good on you. Be proud of yourself for it. Even if your work goes unnoticed, you’re doing something awesome, so please keep going. If you know someone who wants to get started, regardless of where they stand in life, encourage them. Let them write what they know, and much like what happened to me, they’ll discover their writing voice in time and never want to stop. The world needs storytellers; be one. We can change everything.

 

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