Friday, August 28, 2009

The Little Writer

Once upon a time, there was a little girl. That’s how every epic story begins.

This little girl was born with a love of reading. She learned early, around the age of four, using tiny hardback books with golden spines and great big pictures. The stories were all about talking dinosaurs, seals that broke out of zoos to go to schools and nasty little girls who had no manners. She loved books and entered summer reading contests where she would sit at the library for hours upon end, devouring everything she could pull off the shelves. Most of her allowance went to buying books, and she nagged her family to take her to the mall every chance she got so she could browse the children’s section. She was particularly captivated, for a while at least, by the Choose Your Own Adventure books. She loved them, ridiculous second person viewpoint and all.

As she got older, the little girl realized she wanted to tell her own stories. At first, these were rambling messes, tales of young girls magically transported to strange worlds through portals conveniently appearing in houses or children chased endlessly by unknown monsters. They had weak beginnings and literally no ends, because the little girl had no idea how to write a story. But they were her treasures, these stories written in illegible pen on wide-ruled school notebooks, and nobody could take them away from her.

The little girl realized, by showing the stories to her friends, that other people would sometimes enjoy what she wrote, flaws and all.

And so this little girl grew up, nose shoved in books, fingers reaching out endlessly for pen or keyboard. One time, while delivering newspapers, she ran face first into a telephone pole while simultaneously reading Dracula and listening to her headphones. Half the neighborhood saw, and none ever forgot.

She started writing stories that were more coherent, stories that had real plot and structure, and she sold a few of them while in her late teens. For a few years she gave it all up, due to a number of reasons, none of which were particularly legitimate, but as time passed she felt a pain building up inside of her that she could no longer ignore.

She came back to writing, and after a short time it felt like she’d never been gone.

She published short stories here and there before deciding to try her hand at something longer. Novels had always captivated her, and they seemed like something far too wide and encompassing for her to ever be able to create. They were too large, covered too much ground, were full of people she couldn’t imagine ever creating herself. It seemed like so much work and organization. She didn’t think she was capable of something that impressive, and novelists themselves seemed to her to almost be of another species.

She was determined to try, and her first effort was pleasurable but short-lived. Her second attempt was a bit more successful, yielding an entire first draft comprised of ten key plot points. It was good, but it was all bone and no meat. She wondered if she could ever learn all there was to novel writing, if she’d ever get the knack of all the different points to the craft. It seemed exhausting, but she wanted to give it another try.

And so she did, and the story of Rain began to form.


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