*Please don't forget! If you liked my second Campaign piece, I need your votes. Head on over and "Like" my entry (#51 on the list)!*
For the next two weeks, something awesome is happening. Writers around the blogosphere will be discussing their early work, all thanks to this post over at Julie's rosewood pencil box. It's a blogfest/contest, and you're all welcome to enter, so...you should! Because I love reading about other people's beginnings. :)
Anyway, my storytelling days began with lots of tales about my imaginary friend, Fern. I don't really remember all that much about her, but my mom has told me about her several times. Fern was my constant companion before I acquired every little girl's favorite possession: a baby brother.
Once my brother was born, my imaginary friend took a hike, but the storytelling remained. I read books to him and made up my own stories while we played. My parents were big on imagination, so pretend play and original stories were encouraged.
I started writing my own picture books and short stories once I got to school. I don't remember all of them, but I'm sure my parents saved most of them...somewhere. There was one about Santa's elves and a fiasco in the North Pole, and one about a little girl who immigrated to the United States and didn't know anything about Thanksgiving (which was horrible to my 9-year-old self). But the one story that really stood out in my early years was about a worm who wanted to be a butterfly.
It was an assignment for my 6th-grade French class, so it was written in French, naturally. It was a picture book, written and illustrated (I'll take this time to tell you all that I'm no C when it comes to art :P) by me. I made it into a pop-up book, complete with pull-tabs and pop-ups and moving parts. I put a lot of effort into the story, telling the tale of a worm who desperately wanted to fly. He had seen his friend Caterpillar change into a butterfly, and couldn't understand why that metamorphosis wasn't happening to him. He talked to three different flying insects, trying to discover if he'd transform into one of them, before realizing he was great the way he was. And the illustrations weren't half bad, I guess. Lots of flowers and anatomically incorrect bumblebees. :P
That book taught me the value of hard work with regards to writing. I'm not claiming that it was a brilliant work of fiction, by any means, because it wasn't. It was cute, and written by an 11-year-old. But I did get an A, and I learned that you can't turn out a great product without putting a lot of time and effort into it. The same goes for the manuscript I'm working on now. It won't be good if I don't work hard to make it so.
What about you? What started your writing career, and what have you learned?
PS I have a feature! Christine at The Writer Coaster is discussing a critique the two of us did a while back, and it's a week-long series. :) Check it out, if you want. Also, if you read that feature, you'll learn my real name! But I'm still going by J over here. :P