Friday, April 24, 2009

What Made You Start Writing? When?

Rebecca started this week's blog chain.  Read her post here.

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!

Next week:

Wednesday: Moi

Have a nice weekend!


  1. I wrote fan-fiction for Naruto...haha.
    I never actually finished anything. A novel, I mean. Sometimes I'll begin writing, and then half-way through it I'll think whatever I've written isn't good enough.
    I'm always struggling with myself...sometimes I'm proud of myself, but most of the time I'm trapped in this abyss of despair and worries that I'll never be able to be good enough...for the publishing industry and for myself.
    I don't know. I guess it's because I take writing very seriously, so I have high standards for myself...I want my writing to be perfect, but there is no such thing as perfection...
    Yeah, I wish I can finish something. A long piece, for once.

    P.S. I think I'm supposed to go on Tuesday? Since I went on Wednesday this week. I'm always after Lin.

  2. I wrote fanfiction for manga before (Fruit Basket, LOL).

    Eating hotpot... I write at the kitchen table too. And same with the parents' insistence that writers starve in poverty. I still think I'd like to study journalism in university, *sigh*

    Never knew that you have a newspaper job. What do you do exactly? Are you an intern or journalist or what? So cool!

    A side message to Kim: the order can be randomly mixed up, depending on the mood of the friday person. Since you haven't blogged on fridays yet, it's your turn next week.

  3. I don't even remember when I started writing. I do know that when I was a very young child, I wrote "plays" for the neighborhood kids to perform. As our group got older, everyone got hooked on my stories, which of course made me feel like a million bucks. I know that, in some strange way, the kids I grew up with will always be my first audience as a writer.

  4. Really? I thought we have to rotate in a specific order...oh well, I guess that's OK.
    By the way, I LOVE HOT POT.
    Sometimes I write in the bathroom LOL

  5. It amazes me how influential the Harry Potter series is not only for readers but for writers. *sigh* JK's story gets more inspiring everyday!

    I love that you wrote about unicorns! What 8 yr old doesn't like unicorns? LOL

  6. I'm working as a copy-editor. Basically I read articles and correct grammar, for clarity and accuracy. Check to make sure facts are right, all the jazz. It's a job during the school year, so I'm still jobless over the summer. My mother is formally making my summer months my LSAT studying time. But I am hoping to finish my second novel. :-)

  7. PS Unicorns are fabulous and hotpot is too. Potatoes and beef tripe. The best. Sorry if I'm grossing anyone out.