Friday, 12 January 2018

My Writing History

Like most writers, I can say that I have always had an interest in writing in some capacity. As far back as I can remember I have been drawn to creating stories. Lainey Kress put up THIS BLOGPOST a while ago talking all about herself as a teenage writer, and her origins with writing as a hobby and possible career path. The post made me want to look back on my own journey as a writer. I wanted to take a little trip down my literary memory lane, and I wanted to bring you along with me. 

And so....

Lauren Carroll....

Childhood Plagiarism

My writing journey started out much like any other...

by completely copying other stories that I liked and passing them off as my own.

Sometimes I copied them word-for-word, sometimes I took bits and pieces, entire characters and scenes from books and inserted them into my own work...and all the stories usually starred a girl who was eerily similar to myself
I was the KWEEN of self-insert fan-fiction lemme tell ya 

This was back before computers were really a thing, and I wasn't cool enough to have a typewriter, so everything was handwritten and that held a lot of the appeal for me. There was something therapeutic about writing things down. It calmed my manic little soul. After a while I moved on to twisting existing stories - lets call it retelling for the sake of my dignity. I would change little things about them and then again...pass them off as my own. I kid you not! I re-wrote half of the first Harry Potter book with gender-bent characters, headed up by poor orphan girl Ruth Weaver!! I obviously enjoyed writing, but had zero faith in my own creative ability. 

Early Stories
I eventually moved on from my blatant plagiarism and ventured into new territory...actually writing my own original stories. There were so many, and I'm so surprised that I can actually remember some of them....but I can: 

The One With Planet-Based Gods Who Tried To Control Everyone's Lives
This story was basically the Weasley family mixed with Percy Jackson mixed with Narnia. It had it all, my friends!! It was also terrible But I remember being so into this and wanting to work on it every day. It was back when we got our first family the days when everything was saved to floppy discs!

The One With The Girl Who Ends Up Coincidentally Related To Everyone Else In The Entire Book Somehow
A young girl, a seaside town, a group of boys, and plenty of secrets. I was actually mega-proud of this one and it was the first complete story I ever came up with. I remember writing what I now know was an outline in a complete frenzy as the ideas came to me. I started writing this but didn't get far and I don't know what became of it. 

Role-Playing Fiction Games
As time went on, teenage-Lauren discovered the internet...and at the same time discovered that there were other people out there who enjoyed writing as much as she did. The world opened up to Lauren!

I'll stop talking about myself in third-person now, shall I?

I was a huge movie-buff back then, and also found IMDB. They don't have them any more, but IMDB used to have comment boards for each movie, and one day I was casually browsing the Battle Royale board like you do. If you don't know what Battle Royale is...think The Hunger Games...but Japanese and way more Battle Royale did it first!

Anyway, I digress....

So I was trawling through the Battle Royale board and I came across a group of kids who were running their own text-based Battle Royale RPG. This is basically like a group-written story, where everyone has characters that they write scenes for. You all progress the story and work together in collaboration. Of course I was all over THAT, and decided to run my own RPG. It was such an amazing experience. There were so many of us joining in at one point and I met so many great people online as we created our twisted little violent story. Eventually though, the RPG just dropped off into nothing, life happened, and it ended. It was a long time ago, but I still remember it so fondly. I wish I could re-read all of the work we did but the demons at IMDB did away with message boards!! 

Somewhere along the way, I stopped writing stories. I know...the tragedy!! I don't even know why. I think I just got caught up in all the growing up and learning I was doing....that I didn't make time to write. I DID however, start blogging for a few years. I dabbled all over the place, running a lifestyle blog for three years, then after my daughter was born I really started reading again, and decided to start a book blog. Through that, I re-discovered my love of books and literature and in turn - writing.

I've mentioned this before on my blog (mainly in THIS post), 
but before I started drafting 'Prince of Blades', I was working on a young adult psychological thriller called 'Joel'. That book was (still is) my baby. I still want to write it one day, just not right now....anyway - Joel was the first story that I really decided to work on seriously. I sat down and dedicated so much time to it. Through working on 'Joel' I discovered AuthorTube, outlines, the 3 act structure, and Scrivener. I started thinking of writing as a career, something I could pursue. Then, while working on 'Joel'...I got the idea for Prince of Blades...and the rest is history. I put Joel to one side and started working on the novel that has now been my whole life for the past two years. 

Creative Writing Course
As you know, I'm currently in my second year of an English and Creative Writing degree - a decision spurred on by the fact that I had been working so hard on my writing and wanted to take it a step further. The course is soooooo different from what I expected -  that is a story for a whole other day - and much more difficult than I thought it would be. When you choose to study creative writing at degree level, you delve into theories and techniques while developing your own.

I love it, I hate it, and I love it again. 
the conflict is real

Even though the course is challenging and so frustrating at times, I definitely feel like I'm a better writer now and I have met so many fantastically talented people. I do plan on posting some of the things that I have worked on for the course, but I need to polish them first and get them ready for all your delicate eyes. 

And that's me so far. 
So what's next?

* Prince of Blades - Of course this is next. I want to get this book finished. I want to start querying agents. I know I want to write for the rest of my life and right now I'm writing this. I want to make this novel the best that I can make it and see where it takes me. 

* Joel - I would love to work on Joel again, and get the book written after all these years. It holds a piece of my heart (all be it a twisted piece) and it deserves to be written. 

*Wattpad - I would love to post some Prince of Blades chapters to Wattpad, but I'm also mega-scared to put myself and my book baby out there like that. I'm still warring with myself over it, but watch this space...

* AuthorTube - I want to make my own writing channel. I really really really REALLY do!! But again...I'm all kinds of scared to put my face on the Tube for all to see 

Tell me about your writing journeys.
How did you get where you are today?
What good, bad and ugly stuff did you write in between?
Tell me...I'm all the ears

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