I never set out to be an author. The whole thing happened quite by accident.
In fact, if you had asked me what I wanted to be as a child, an author would have been the last thing on my mind. Don’t get me wrong I loved stories, at least in the form of dramatic play with my dolls, Barbie’s, stuffed animals or anything that was cute and needed a story. However, books were quite a mystery. Why anyone bothered to read those boring words was beyond me. I much preferred movies and my own made-up stories. Reading was much too hard.
It wasn’t until I was a teenager that I developed a love of reading (mainly due to my mother and sister, but that is another story). As my sister began reading to me, I suddenly realized that those words unfolded a whole new world of adventure, magic and fun. I simply couldn’t get enough of it.
Then in middle school the writing bug started to infect all my friends, especially as they discovered Harry Potter fan fiction. It seemed that all anyone could talk about was writing and Harry Potter. Several of my friends had decided that writing fan fiction was just the thing. We all had to do it! I quietly protested that writing our own stories was much better than using someone else’s ideas, but they couldn’t be swayed. We must get started right away and we could do it together.
Thus, the Harry Potter fanfic notebook was born. One day I was handed a blue notebook and told it was my turn to write the next part of the story. Four of us would be contributing to this tale. Nothing much was discussed other than we each had our own characters and would write the next part of the story when our turn came. Needless to say, we didn’t get very far. We passed the notebook around for a few weeks before things started to taper off. Two of the girls may have continued on, but I was much too concerned with having some kind of cohesive plot, so I didn’t mind when my next turn never came.
However, it did encourage many of us to start writing our own stories. I decided to start my own unique adventure. There was no need to copy some story that had already been told. My story was about a young girl (much like me) who was kidnapped by the evil villain, who had been following her and her friends (uncannily similar to my own friends) all around town. I wrote and wrote until nearly half the notebook was filled, except then I couldn’t figure out what to do once she had been kidnapped and was being transported to another world. I couldn’t wait to get to the other world but what to do while in the middle of space with only her kidnapper for company. Just how did one fill in all the middle bits?
In a fit of irritation and disillusionment, I tore the notebook into pieces. Whatever was happening was so bad that I didn’t think it was even worth saving. There were a few other weak attempts to rewrite the story, all met with failure.
Then one unsuspecting day in twelfth grade Humanities, my dabble with writing long forgotten, we were given an assignment to write our own creation myth. Excited, I started in on a story about the creation of fairies. I had this whole plan with how I was going to incorporate all of the elements that were needed.
Then I put fingers to the keyboard and… nothing.
I was stumped. How does one begin such a thing? Then pulling upon years of English class and the five-paragraph essay, I began. Except, unfortunately it sounded exactly like an English essay and nothing like a story, myth or otherwise.
Discouraged, I deleted the page I had managed to type and sighed. Writing a myth was turning out to be much more complicated than I had expected. Finally, after seeking help from several friends, I closed my eyes, pictured a scene, and began to write.
Thus, the dock scene was born. I imagined a girl sitting upon a dock watching the sunset. A name even popped into my head, Nyah. Footsteps echoed against the wood of the dock as they did in my mind and the scene continued to flow. Before I knew it, I had written several pages and class was over.
Except, as the days passed and I continued to think about my myth and slowly add to it, I began to worry. This whole thing felt much too large. How would I ever finish it on time? Besides, I felt like the story was straining to be more than a just creation myth.
Then one unsuspecting afternoon, my Humanities teacher announced that we didn’t have time to finish our myths, and after much deliberation, she had decided to cancel the assignment. However, if anyone wished to finish on their own time, then it would be extra credit.
I rejoiced. This was too good to be true. My myth had been set free! I no longer needed to force it into specific parameters. I could make it into the novel it had been yearning to become. Eagerly I typed out several more pages. Until I realized that I needed a new plot and more information to continue. Besides, I was getting ready to graduate, there simply wasn’t time to worry about writing a myth. So, there it sat for several months, waiting, but not quite forgotten.
I graduated and headed to college excited to start this new chapter of my life, writing a novel was far from my thoughts. Then during a fateful four hour bus ride home for the holidays, I had nothing to do but think, and nothing better to think about then the myth turned novel that had been stewing in the back of my mind for the better part of a year. Over the course of that bus ride, an exciting and complex plot began unfolding: Complete with magic, romance, plot twists, and a truly evil villain. Gone were the fairies (but maybe not completely) and a new story began to emerge.
I kept writing, slowly but surely, determined to finish this story that seemed to keep materializing. I wasn’t very far into it when I realized that several elements of this story were similar to many of the stories I had previously attempted to write, something about this tale was longing to be written.
About a year and a half later, I took a creative writing class and suddenly my myth turned novel began to take off. Thirty pages turned to sixty and sixty pages turned to ninety while the story continued to grow. Although this particular story (now a three-book series) still isn’t entirely finished, through writing this book, I discovered a joy of writing that I never thought possible and a barrage of story ideas just waiting to be written.
I will forever be grateful for that twelfth grade Humanities teacher who unknowingly provided me with an outlet to discover a talent I never knew I had. Without her, I never would have accidentally started a novel and discovered a love of writing that has prompted me to write several more stories and truly become an author.