The first time I wrote anything down in an attempt to tell a story, I was seven years old. We were asked to write a story in my second grade English class. Being a seven-year-old kid (not that I’ve changed much), I wanted to write a story about monsters and heroes and witchcraft. So I essentially copied down the plot of an episode of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and made it my own, my teacher none the wiser. But even then, it wasn’t so simple as lifting a plot in an attempt to fool a teacher. I took the monster, but I made the story my own.
I was an imaginative kid, more likely to play with Legos and action figures than a football. I would concoct grand, serialized stories on my bedroom floor and across my house, leaving characters posed for days and weeks as I played through and rearranged the dramas of my favorite movies and TV shows. Then, at ten, I wrote a screenplay.
The “screenplay” was called “Supergirl”, but it had nothing to do with Krypton or Kara Zor-El. It was, more or less, a space opera designed to be shot in my back yard with about six or seven people. I still have the script, but the movie was never made.
However, I didn’t stop thinking about the story or its natural progression. I envisioned a sprawling sequel where Calavan, the son of the antagonist of my screenplay (a galactic warlord named Gauth) came to Earth with an army of alien bounty hunters to avenge his father’s death. But as I dreamed about this play it became clearer and clearer that my mind was exceeding my abilities. I hadn’t even made the first movie, and there was no way I could make one that held a candle to what was in my head. And so I turned to writing.
I wrote prolifically in middle school and high school. The sequel to my unnamed story became a story of its own, a space opera which borrowed heavily from Star Wars and Star Trek about a dictator who was sentenced to death among the stars and then returns to his home centuries later, hungry for revenge. I wrote one and a half more stories with those characters, all before the age of fourteen. I began to read Stephen King, fell in love with his stories and his characters (particularly The Stand), and by the time I entered college I knew I wanted to write. I received a minor in Creative Writing, wrote several short stories and learned to write (and love writing) poems, and wrote to completion my first “real” story, a western called Cherub’s Song.
Then, when I graduated, I entered law school, and although I was “writing” more than ever, my mind and muscle for fiction quickly began to atrophy. Almost annually I would revise Cherub’s Song, and on occasion I would pound out a poem, but the things that I loved most about writing long works: living with a group of characters, watching them grow and change and overcome, challenging them, and triumphing with them–that was a skill that I lost almost completely.
But the thing is I didn’t want to lose it. I didn’t want to be someone who thought of writing as a childhood hobby. It was a part of me back then, and I want it to stay a part of me. So that’s where this blog, and it’s associated Twitter comes in. In 2016 I made a resolution to take Mr. King’s advice in On Writing. I would read a lot and write a lot. I’ve been working on a new story, reading more and better books, and now I plan to start a blog.
Odds are strong there will not be something original every day. But hopefully there will be something every day. And I will take a stab at something original at least once a week.
Why not? I mean, even the pyramids were built brick by brick.