I started writing when I was eight years old. I was inspired by a folder. It had a unicorn prancing through water. My first short story and novel idea were about unicorns (I know it's extremely stereotypical; I was eight). I wrote the short story during dinner. We were eating hotpot. And so my writing life began. I have wanted to be an author since then. It was my first "what I want to be when I grow up" answer, until my parents shot it down, saying authors wallowed in poverty. Writing, for me, was always ingrained as a hobby, not as a career.
I began a lot of stuff that I never finished. I have notebooks upon notebooks of handwritten pages, half full and then abandoned midway. I did a lot of historical fiction (I should have figured out I loved history way before senior year of high school). I did an Oregon Trail one, Virgin Mary, Malinalli (translator for Cortez), Medea (Jason and the Argonauts), and Catherine of Aragon. Those are the ones I remember and still have record of.
Harry Potter led me to discover fanfiction, which I began writing in seventh grade. I haven't gone back and read my old stuff--it's a bit cringeworthy, but it's still posted. Fanfiction is a good learning experience. I still like it.
The problem was I only wrote one-shots and short stories. Everything lengthier I'd attempted, I abandoned. For many years, I questioned whether I could ever write a novel, because I had such a short attention span. I'd get bogged down in the middle, and I wouldn't know how to continue. I also had this problem, where I could not write short stories in intervals. When I started something, I HAD to finish it in one sitting--a lot of longer one-shots were completed in the wee hours of the morning because of this. My landmark fanfiction short story at 10,000 words, I wrote on a family vacation to Yellowstone, when obviously, I couldn't sit and write all day, so I was forced to break it into pieces.
My first novel was a fanfiction novel for Inuyasha (anime) clocking in at 79,000 words, that I finished in 2008. It is not publishable, but it will always be my masterpiece, because I learned so much while writing it. It taught me how to finish a project. I had proved to myself I could write a novel, if I wanted.
So the thing that actually got me started with my original work was the Percy Jackson series, which is why I love it so much. ATRS had been a plot idea since my sophomore year of high school, but I wasn't sold on the idea of writing mythological fiction. I guess you could say that after reading a book about Greek myths, it reignited my passion for them, I started doing loads of research again, and voila! Two and half months after finishing the fourth Percy Jackson book, I have my own novel on my hands.
I also have to thank my high school history teacher Mr. Andy Davis. He is the first adult I shared my work with, possibly because he told me he was a writer first. He showed me literary magazines, and he encouraged me to write a novel. He was the first person I told when I finished ATRS at 2 am, and he offered to read it straightaway. I doubt I would have taken my writing seriously without him. I didn't know anything about publication. He told me about Writer's Market and agents and all that wonderful stuff. He is awesome!
Now I gotta run, because I have training for my newspaper job! Wheeee!
Monday: Lin Wang - Teen Writer
Tuesday: Girl With A Notebook
Friday: Somewhere Nowhere In My Kingdom
Have a nice weekend!