My writing journey, as far as I can remember, started when I was nine years old. I probably dabbled in writing before then, but there is a particular time that I really remember properly getting into it. For my grandparent’s 50th wedding anniversary all of their closest family met up during the Easter holidays in 2006, including me and my parents. To keep me entertained, I had a little green notepad, which I started writing short stories in. I still have this notepad! At the time I was very interested in Ancient Greece as we had been studying it at school, particularly myths. So I wrote my own myths and even drew little drawings to go with them.
The next thing I remember working on was a series of stories probably inspired by Tomb Raider: Legend, which was the first proper single-player action game I played. I wrote two ‘books’ in the series (they were very, very short, only a few pages).
Only a year later in 2008, I advanced to planning an epic fantasy series. Probably as a result of reading The Lord of the Rings. I spent ages drawing maps and characters. I wrote 23,000 words of the first book, which is a pretty substantial amount compared to my previous efforts. I dabbled in the other books in the series (they were connected but separate ‘parts’ of an overall series), and wrote around 42,000 words of the series in total over the course of about three years.
Over that period I also had many other ideas. Writing occupied much of my spare time, and I wrote notes for and started writing many other projects. The next ‘big’ one that I worked on for a substantial amount of time was called The Story with no Name Yet, which I started in 2009. It was called that for so long, because I never came up with a proper name for it! I wrote 52,000 words of the first book in the series (and was only a third through what I had planned, so it was going to be pretty long if I’d ever finished it!), which is the most I’d written for one book up to that point. Obviously the writing is what you’d expect from a 13-15 year old, but there are some elements of the plot which I might borrow at some point…
I also spent quite a while working on a paranormal romance story, as that was all the rage in the YA genre when I was in high school. I spent a substantial amount of time planning it, but only wrote about 30,000 words, which was only part way through the first book in the six book series I had planned.
Despite spending so much time writing, I hadn’t finished a book. It started getting me down that I kept starting, but never finishing anything. There are so many other ideas I haven’t mentioned. I never deleted anything, so I have folders full of ideas and part-written books saved on my computer.
So in 2012 I decided I needed to finish something. I set myself a more easily attainable goal – writing a novella. Still in the paranormal romance phase, I planned a story about an angel who falls from Heaven and is found by a human. Finished, it came to about 38,000 words. At the age of 16, I’d finally done it; I’d written a whole complete story with a beginning, middle and end. It was also the best piece I’d written. It still probably read like something a teenage would write, but it was much better than what I had written previously. Most importantly it gave me the confidence to believe I could finish a full-length novel.
Look out for part 2 of my writing journey blog post, which will take me from finishing my first novel to what I’m working on now.