Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Do you remember the first (long) story you ever wrote? What was it about?



Jill here. Happy Wednesday, everyone.

In case you missed it, this summer we're doing Q & A panels! Each day during the months of June, July, and August we'll post one question, and each of us will answer it. But that's not all. We want you to answer too! So read the question, read our answers, read the other reader's answers, then use the comments section to post your own answer.

Let's have fun learning all about each other.

Ready to play?




Do you remember the first (long) story you ever wrote? What was it about?

 


Stephanie Morrill
Oh, yes I do. I wrote it in high school, and it was about a failed long distance relationship that I kept inexplicably trying to make work. My first few long books were all quasi-autobiographical teen drama type stories. The first book I ever wrote that wasn’t ripped my own life became Me, Just Different, my debut novel.


 
Jill Williamson
Mine was for 10th grade English class, and it was supposed to be a short story. Here is what I remember:

A boy and some friends were flying a remote-controlled toy helicopter in the park, and the helicopter went down in a nearby forest. So my crew went into the woods to find it. While they were wandering around, they stumbled onto an old cabin. They went in, of course, and were looking around at the really old canned goods in there and a loaf of bread that was being eaten by maggots. And they wondered who had lived there and what ever became of that person.

I had a plan for the story, but I can't remember it now. At the point I left off above, I was at twenty-some hand-written pages. (We didn’t have computers in all the classrooms back in 1990, so we still wrote the old way.) Since the assignment had been a short story (five-ten pages in length), I was WAY over my word count. The time came to turn in the story, and I remember showing my twenty-some pages to my teacher and trying to explain that it wasn’t done yetthat I didn’t know how long it might take me to finish it. He told me to turn in what I had so far, and so I did. By the time I got it back, there was other homework to do, and my story was forgotten. I seem to have lost it, too. I’ve asked my mom to keep an eye out for it as she cleans the attic and such. Alas, there has been no sign. I'd really like to read it now.

I wouldn’t again try novel writing (which was what I’d been doing whether or not I realized it), until college. (My roommate had a computer, and I started a murder mystery on that machineone that never got very farmaybe twelve pages.) And after that, I didn’t write stories until around 2004, when I started The New Recruit, which was the first novel I completed. 



Shannon Dittemore
Now, when you say long . . . Truth? The first long story I ever wrote was Angel Eyes. It’s been on the shelf for almost five years now and I still have trouble pitching it! Angel Eyes is about a broken girl who is given the ability to see the invisible world around her. What she sees is beautiful and terrible . . . and dangerous. A battle rages in a place most human eyes cannot see and innocent lives hang in the balance. She can’t simply stand and watch. She must fight. But how do you fight the invisible?

I realize many of us will complete more than one book before we’re ever published. I know my story is a little different in that way, but the truth is that after my first three books came out, I did complete a book that is still looking for a publisher. Our journeys are all so different. Careful when you compare yours to others. We often don’t know the battles they’ve had to fight to get to where they are.


What about you guys?

Tell us about the first long story you wrote.

51 comments:

  1. Fun question! I really like seeing you guys answer this:) I honestly wouldn't know how to describe my first long story since even after hand writing several hundred pages, typing several hundred pages, and several drafts I still have no idea what my plot was. One of the settings was basically fantasy Australia with water benders. It was mostly fantasy worldbuilding and eleven-year-old wish fulfillment. The last draft I planned to do actually did have a plot, but I dumped the project. Looking back on it, I am glad I did. Some projects are just meant to be a learning curve, and it did carry me onto my next several projects where I would learn even more (like how to actually have a plot).

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    1. My first two stories, I was halfway through the story before I even knew what the characters goals were, what the plot was, where they were going, or how the story would end.

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    2. Australian water benders is a nifty concept.

      Plot still gives me trouble sometimes. Writing cool scenes is so much easier than writing cool scenes that matter.

      -Ann

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    3. Lol! I can definitely relate to that Maggie.

      And that last line of your comment is so true Ann! (And thanks for the complement my first draft was a total rip off of The Last Airbender).

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  2. Like Mrs. Dittemore, the first long story I ever wrote was the first story I wrote. I was in fourth grade and started it on index cards. I have since put it into a word document, figured out the plot, and finished the first draft (after many revisions to the original story on index cards). I have since learned to do at least a little more planning than just starting the story the minute I have an idea.

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    1. I still haven't learned to plot before just writing down the first idea that comes to mind. I seem to work better coming up with a first draft, then outlining. I have to make the skeleton of the story, then I can piece some things together. I just can't make an outline before I get the story out.

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    2. Neat that you stuck with your story! And yeah, planning a bit was a lesson I learned the hard way too, but I still find it such fun to run with an idea. :)

      -Ann

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    3. It is fun to find out where the story is going as you are writing it. :)

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  4. Oh, gracious - I wrote my first long(ish) story when I was ten, about a mage and magic world where horses could talk, but it didn't get finished (it was the first story I had ever written). The first long story that I actually FINISHED got written when I was a few years older (it was 80k words), and I actually wrote it as a serial story on a private blog I used to have - and it was still a fantasy story, because I love all speculative fiction xD.

    ~ Savannah @ Scattered Scribblings

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    1. The only thing better than horses is talking horses. :) Fantasy is such a fun genre.

      -Ann

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    2. Me, too. I did wind up finishing it, but it will need a lot of help in edits since I had no clue where it was going until halfway through.

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  5. A young girl finds her dead mother's diary, which might contain the only clues to a murder committed 24 years ago. She searches for answers about this dark mystery and soon learns that truth can become distorted, even by those you love.

    I wrote it by hand one summer, and boy, did I have the writer's callus to prove it. That bump hurt. :p

    -Ann


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    1. I used to write everything by hand XD I totally get it!

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    2. I tried writing by hand for a week before I went back to typing it up. I realized that writing by hand wasn't for me. But that story sounds amazing. I'm defiantly interested now. That's awesome you wrote it over the course of one summer.

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  6. My first long story was a series of short stories I wrote for a website that had a story telling area. I wrote nine short stories all tied to the same plot. My problem was I didn't like outlining and I didn't plan well. While I had a good plot and good character goals, I would forget names for characters and make up new ones on the spot.

    It was about a princess who's kingdom was taken over by an evil witch and she went to gather mages of the other elements (on the website, you could only write about characters on the site and there were fairies of different elements, so I used those elements.) and they defeated the witch.

    Yeah, it wasn't my best work, but it still gave me practice.

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    1. It was probably your best work at the time. Which shows by looking back, how much you've grown as a writer. :)

      -Ann

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    2. Great point, Ann. Thank you for your sweet comment. I think I've definitely grown as a writer. That old work is slightly cringe worthy, but I don't regret it. It got me to this point now.

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  7. My first longish one was somewhere between 15 and 20 thousand words, and it was supposed to be historical fiction with time-travel, involving the conversion of England. It didn't. I didn't do any research for it, so of course there's all kind of historical inaccuracies, for one thing.
    Quite a bit later, I found myself writing two other stories: one set at the time of England's conversion (with proper research this time), and another involving time-travel. I guess the ideas I tried to cram together in the first story needed more time to mature. I cringe every time I try to re-read that one, but it's nice to think it has the seeds of two of my biggest projects yet.

    https://ofdreamsandswords.wordpress.com

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    1. I think looking back at old work might be harder, but at least you can see how much you've grown as a writer.

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  8. My first long story was the long-ago precursor to the fantasy series that I'm always working on, on and off. It was about these kids who go into their attack and discover that there's a tunnel leading to a magic world of talking cats, weird inventions, and an evil dictator with a clock for a head. I illustrated it myself, back when I thought I was an amazing artist, and was proud enough of it to say that I thought it was as good as the Magic Tree House. When my mom typed it up, it was around thirty pages long? I think I was eight when I completed it, and I was so proud of it that I sent it in to a novel-writing contest for kids.
    I lost, but that little story laid the groundwork for the series that I'm working on now - a series that I hope will, one day, be publishable...
    thefloridsword.blogspot.com

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  9. My first story to finish witch is my longest. I wrote by hand. I started it about five years ago and finished it this year. I have now put it on the computer and it has about 23000 words. It is like a Hardy boys book in a way.I am now writing the second book for the series.
    Rakayle

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  10. Oh gosh. I wrote my first long story at ten or eleven. It was the story of two sisters who lost trust and their quest to find each other again. It was about forty five written pages of regret. I read it a few months ago and I was struck with memories of writing it as well as how far I've come since then.

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  11. I loved reading all your answers! Hmmm. I guess my answer to this depends on your definition of "long". I wrote several novellas (around 30,000 words each) about a group of detectives solving mysteries in a fantasy city, but my first novel-length work was a dystopian/fantasy genre mashup about the fighters in a rebellion.

    Ellie | On the Other Side of Reality

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  12. My first long story was one that I wrote for my brother, for a Christmas present. It was about a group of cousins who discover a letter written by Queen Elizabeth 1 while at an island for a family reunion. The letter details that Christopher Columbus did, in fact, discover treasure upon his first visit to America, but the ship containing it sank off the coast of the island. The letter explains that there are a series of clues, written in riddle form by dozens of famous historical figures, hidden all around the island.
    I actually wrote it as a full book and wrote two sequels. :)

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  13. I wrote my first long story when I was six. It was about a family of robins (whose names all naturally began with R), who went swimming with their friends the Duck Family (whose names all began with D) and had to save their tree from being chopped down by bad people whose initials... Wait for it... Spelt BAD (my first attempt at foreshadowing).

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    1. Sounds a bit like something I used to do around age 5-7, I liked to write little stories about different animal families. I always drew pictures for them too.

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    2. Clever, clever. XD Name games can be so fun.

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  14. I think my definition of "long" has changed over the years. I guess my first long story was a part of my first novel. The novel started as a short story, but then for some reason I decided it needed to end in a cliffhanger (who knows why I do that ever single time). So naturally I decided to write a sequel to it and that was my first long story (it was way too long to be called a short story but it was way to short to be called a novel.) Eventually I combined the two stories into a novel, but I still had to add another several thousand words before it technically reached novel-length.
    It was about a couple of time-traveling kids who went on all sorts of adventures. It had lots of characters and a very complicated plot which I'm not even going to try to explain or it would take me all day... in the end it turns out to be a picture of the Gospel. Basically, a bunch of characters get trapped in an alternate dimension and the two kids have to figure out how to save them, but the villains are trying to kill them all or something.
    That story was in fact the beginning of a saga I'm currently trying to write. For some reason all of my stories end up being connected to one another. :)

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  15. I wrote several short stories and partial stories before I got serious enough to write a long, full one. When I was eleven, I started the story that became my first novel. I finished the only draft of the first version (I changed too much to recycle very much) at about 53,000 words, as I recall. I lost the first few chapters, but I have everything else in completion. It's kind of cool to see where I started. :) I am now rewriting what will be the second book of the series this story birthed. The second version of my first novel still needs a lot of structural work, but I hope to polish it enough to publish someday.

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  16. I suppose my first "long" story ever was the first book I wrote (and the only book I've ever finished), weighing in at just over 48,000 words. It was about a bunch of fish endeavoring to save their besieged undersea kingdom from a tyrant eel. Three of them went off on a quest (which constituted the main storyline) for a trio of semi-magical artifacts. I still have the draft of it and a host of other documents related to it on my computer.

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  17. Heh. Both my first two long stories were rip-offs of my favorite stories. One involved elves and a quest (and was five thousand words long and written when I was eleven) and the other involved a winged teenager and a slayer... Yeah. Terrible, but it got me started. 😛

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  18. My first long story was a "trilogy" that clocked in at 40k words and no more, about a girl named Paradise and her sister Forget-Me-Not who disobey all the conventions of a manor servant. I had a thing for weird or difficult character stories even back then.

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  19. The first chapter book I actually finished drafting was a 10,000-word story about a boy and his horse...basically an eight-year-old's duplicate of "My Friend Flicka." Despite the obvious plagiarism and lack of plot, I'm still rather fond of it. :)

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  20. My first long story was also an assignment for an English class. It was supposed to be about five pages, a back story of Piggy from Lord of the Flies, but ended up being twenty and my teacher refused to read it until I cut it to ten.

    The first long story I started though was before that assignment. It was my first novel, which took all of high school to finish, about what it would be like if Christianity were illegal in America. That was four full and two half novels ago.

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  21. The first long story I ever wrote was started back years ago when I was eleven. It was a crazy mess, way too many characters, POV changes that made no sense, a plot that went nowhere, and loads of pointless comedy. It took place in a small town and revolved around the lives of the townsfolk.

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  22. Ergh... First long work I ever did was a Narnia/Star Wars crossover when I was like ten... I'm still sort of embarrassed just thinking about it.
    However, my first more original work was about a girl going out to sea to fetch a magical stone and save her brother from an evil swashbuckling king/prince dude (Sorta just a remix of Pirates of the Caribbean). Or something along those lines; I don't remember it too well. I had a terrible habit of throwing away my writing so nobody would read it. Of course, I only wrote like three chapters (maybe less) before I yanked out the editor within... and then got the so-called "writer's block." I think I was like thirteen when I daydreamed that thing up.
    I didn't write my first (almost) full length novel I wrote when I was 16. Heh... that's a story for another time.

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    1. Narnia/Star Wars crossover? That sounds AWESOME. The music alone... It would have to have an awesome soundtrack.

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  23. The first long story I ever wrote, I wrote when I was twelve. My names were very unique and completely original--Sally Johnson and her best friend, Ann Summers. Ha.

    Anyways, the plot went that Sally and Ann entered to represent their school through a one on one basketball contest. There is a three-way tie as to who should represent their school, and Ann and Sally find out that they have to go up against the mean girl, Sue. In the end, Sally represents the school, and she wins, despite spraining her wrist after running into the wall...

    I haven't read that story in a long time but I read through some of it just now for fun. And I'm like, man! I used to think that what I'd written then was GOLD, and now I want to laugh!

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    1. That sounds like an interesting book. At least yours had a simple plot. My first couple books didn't have any plot until at least halfway through :)
      The first one I wrote was on index cards in fourth grade. I look back on it now and it's very 'so and so said this, so and so said that'. It's cool to see how far I've come.

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  24. I think my first story I wrote was.... A horror to behold. I had a prologue. And a first chapter. I even had a plot. (sorta) And it all amounted to 4-ish? pages. I planned to write some more, but I didn't get to doing it. :/
    It started with a family trying to sneak out of a city, going through the gate (which wasn't guarded at all) and then escaping into the night. Then the first chapter was about a 12?-ish year old girl asking her mom why they didn't go into the city and her mom replying that it was because the "great-great-great-great-great-great grandmother" escaped and they didn't want to go back.
    That's really all I remember. I think it's somewhere in my garage.... I should probably dig it out.

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  25. Since we're talking long stories, I'll discuss two. The first was based on a coloring book with a church mouse on the cover. xD So it was about the adventures of a mouse who didn't like a mean mouse but then ended up on an adventure to get medicine for the mouse in the big city. Oh, and there was a part where the mice got new clothes. *Sigh.*

    My next story, written between 11-13 was called Perish Island. It was much longer and more detailed, but I rushed the ending because I wanted to finish it. Basically, there's an island with an evil giant snake that likes snacking on people. Anyway, then there is a cruise ship where several characters are introduced and a cowboy named Willy tells a scary story. Anyway, the giant snake monster attacks the ship and everyone on board end up on various lifeboats, families separated, etc and when a boat is capsized, one of the passengers "goes missing." Anyway, they end up on this island where they collect supplies and build shelters while an exploration party checks out the island. When the explorers return, they have the separated survivors with them. A girl disappears. The people decide to move deeper into the woods for better protection from the weather. Anyway, they build places to live, I suppose... and one day some of the main characters step in a trap, which was set by a native boy who had actually saved a missing child. He tells the children the story of his people being stolen by "Traders" (set up for a sequel I was going to write) and the rest of his people end up killed by the snake. Anyway, the people start building a town... and later, Tom, the native boy, tells the children about two other white men who came to the island who were searching for a box that Tom stole from them. (We met these two in the prologue, one of whom was eaten.) The box contained papers (record of the ship's men), toys, drawings of the island, clothes, etc, and a map (and a treasure map) as well as samples of the island vegetation and life. Lastly, there was a photograph of a man, woman, and child as well as a journal containing the story of the man in the photo and his daughter, written to his wife. Anyway, I'm going into too much detail... The kids try to find the treasure and they witness the girl from the photo (now older) being mistreated and being forced to search for the treasure she hid as a child. Two of the girls are later seen by the villain, who pursues when he realizes they are in possession of the map and one of them is captured while the other runs for help. Susie (the captured girl) meets the girl from the photograph and the boy she's with. I then rushed the ending with them being rescued, all the bad guys getting eaten, the treasure being discovered and being worth nothing since they were still on the island. My end end was a tad sweet, though. "Susie and Howie discovered many things together. But that's another story." Haha. Anyway, I wrote this book around 11-13, so it wasn't too terrible, but I wish the ending was better... Also, I had planned for it to be a trilogy when I was young but that did not happen. Alas.

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    1. It sounds like an interesting story, though :)

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    2. I'd say it wasn't horrible for my age, but the ending was. xD

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  26. I have two different ones: one, I finished, the other, I did not. I'll have to talk about the unfinished one when I can get the OLD computer it's on to stop being finicky. :S I might just need to have a row with it later tonight.

    The finished one was for school. I'm homeschooled, and my mom gave me a storystarter and told me to write a short story. It ended up being WAAAY too long to be short. :P
    It was written in first-person, from the perspective of one Sam Ryder, and was about Sherlock Holmes. Holmes had to solve a mystery brought to him by one Tedrick Percival (of Goldwood Estate--his family was quite famous) to find his father's will. His father hid it somewhere, and was too sick to say where it was. The mystery involved his cousins and very odd Uncle James, along with a hidden treasure and an unexpected...well, let's call it a guest star.
    It wasn't horrible, and it did take awhile to figure out the Holmes' Client Deduction Scene, but it was a complete ripoff of the audio-mystery "Where the Heart Is". Even some of the dialogue, and the conclusion, were ripped off. But I didn't care about that back then! :P

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  27. There's a difference between your first long story and your first GOOD long story. XD My first long story was a fantasy series that I was inspired to write after my older sister started writing. Trouble is, mine was about adult soldiers, and I was, like, twelve or thirteen at the time. So let's just say it was really cringy, and pretty violent... I'll be rebooting it in the future. XD

    My first GOOD long story (not perfect, but good) was a fanfiction called The Attack on Gotham, where I threw Marvel and DC superheroes and villains together. I wrote it on the LEGO Message Boards for people to read, and they really enjoyed it. I've definitely improved since then, but I think it wasn't too bad for me at the time.

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  28. I haven't written a first "long story" yet-but I'm only 13, so I don't worry about it that much. :) I mostly focus on writing short stories, and I did write some oh so cringey fan fiction that in the middle of the night on neon bound index cards. I was so proud to have a story "collection"

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  29. My first long story defined how? 13,000 words felt a lot...at the time... it was a retelling of Beauty and the Beast. But then I wrote a sci-fi novella about a couple planets that all the people (except the politically/ educated) Had lost the ability to speak due to the fact they communicated telepathically. And then I recently finished my first novel.. about a group of friends and not so friends in a small town learning how to cope with a drastic tragedy and each responding vastly differently. Some relying on God...other's not.

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  30. The first long story I wrote this year at age 15 and it's at 100,000 words. I probably wouldn't ever publish it but hey, it was good practice

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  31. I've never finished a long one, ha. I'm about 2000 words in my newest one, In The Tempest.

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