There's a questions for writers meme floating around on tumblr, especially regarding what got you started and what your first story really was. This got me thinking, and another writer posted that she thought what got her started writing was really what she was reading, and that the two go hand in hand. I concur! So I then set forth to chronicle how I became addicted to the written word.
I can’t be sure of what my first story was, but I remember when I was … 8 or so, I plotted out this elaborate world for pegasi and unicorns. Of course I had a main character who was special because he was half and half, where the pegasi were carnivores living in the mountains where grazing was scarce, and the unicorns were herbivores living in the plains… I shit you not. The pegasi had proper wicked teeth, but I obviously was hazy on how exactly biology works. I was super proud of drawing them, too, in my stupid childish scrawl. And lest you be impressed, I had many perfect Sue characters before I got anywhere better.
I think I first realized that Reading was a Thing for me when I was in third grade. We had been assigned to read a sci-fi book for class, and they gave us an hour in school to work on reading it. I finished it and went “Is there more?” … My teacher was sufficiently startled that I was way ahead of the class, and it turned out, yes, yes there was more. There was a lot more. That was the Tripod Trilogy. I went from there to Anne McCaffrey, to Mercedes Lackey to Tolkien to Dragonlance and the extended Star Wars and a million other places besides. When I consider my book collection, I feel terrible for my parents, who were stuck buying this enormous quantity of books to feed my voracious appetite.
I also grew up on Star Trek: The Next Generation, and even went to cons with my family when I was wee. I saw fanvids well before I had any idea what fanvids were. And yet, I didn’t dive into the nitty-gritty fandom side of things until considerably later. … This might have something to do with my predating the common use of the internet. (Hilarious, yes.) My very first fandom was, wait for it … Invasion America. Yeah, I bet you have no fucking clue what that is, and I do not blame you. I had a fic that never got posted anywhere which would have had an OC son of a major character attempting to follow his war hero father’s footsteps. Ah, yes, I am made of quality.
That, however, was the beginning of the end. I had Found The Interwebs, and by god I was there to stay. I still read dead-tree books like there was no tomorrow, but I began to supplement the diet with heaping helpings of fanfiction. This was back in the day of The X-Files, The Sentinel, Highlander, Sailor Moon, and many more. I was shortly thereafter introduced to anime, and that stuck, too.
I got into RPing when I was twelve (in a Batman Beyond chat of all things), and when there was a major lull in my RP group, I finally got around to posting my first real fanfiction when I was fourteen. For Gundam Wing. If you feel motivated enough to look at my fanfiction.net account, IT IS STILL THERE. In all its horror. I do not recommend reading any of it, but I think it’s important to preserve my fossil record of flaws. It feels dishonest to me to pretend that I’ve always had the skills I have now, to always only present my best. I’m not that good anyways, but I assure you, I have been worse.
For every word that I’ve posted, I probably have a thousand that never were. All through high school and most of college, I had an enormous sprawling RP and later stories set in the Core universe with Flidget. Over a handful of years, I shared a productive RP, stories, and a webcomic with another friend. I co-authored hundreds upon hundreds of pages, and none of that was ever shared. It’s mostly crap, as is the nature of the beast, but it accumulates. Along the way, I’ve had individual original story ideas that won’t leave me alone, and I hope that one day I’ll be able to get them down in a complete enough format that I can share them properly.
If I ever do get a book published, I know what my dedication is going to be.
To my AP English teacher, who returned an assignment with the words emblazoned in red ink: “Please, please, please become a writer.”
I don’t know that anyone has ever said anything as important to me before or since.