What was the First Thing you Wrote?
There are many answers to that question, depending on how it is looked at.
In 2010, I self-published my first book. I had never finished a novel before then and considered it to be a tremendous accomplishment. I still do. It was also the first time that my work was available to virtually the entire world. And even though I had done it on my own, I felt like an accomplished writer.
I completed my first lengthy project in college. It wasn’t a novel, but it was my first work longer than a short story. It was a screen play. I remember it quite well. Mikeangelo was a script about a small town artist suddenly thrust into a big city world of art shows and galleries. It probably wasn’t very good, but it was over 100 pages and by far the longest piece of writing I had ever produced.
I spent a lot of my college years writing screenplays. I fell in love with the genre and even made attempts to query agents and production companies. The only attention I received was a request from a small production company in Quebec to read one of my screenplays, though nothing came from the interest. Even so, I was walking the path that most professional writers had to walk to become successful.
In my senior year of high school, I took a creative writing course where I wrote many poems and short stories. It was the first time I can recall my work being read by others that weren’t family members or friends. My writing was critiqued by the class, graded by a teacher and I began to identify writing as a process and put that process into effect. My classmates often seemed impressed with what I produced and it made me consider that I might have had some real talent with writing.
The year before, I was placed at our local newspaper for a work program called co-op. Local businesses were provided a small amount of free labour in exchange for a little glimpse of what the working life was like in a chosen industry. I did a lot of gopher work, which I didn’t mind. Eventually, I was assigned a news story. It was an odd experience. The creative things I had been teaching myself for years all needed to be discarded. The editor explained to me that journalistic writing was about facts, not flowery prose. I didn’t like that side of the writing, but I enjoyed seeing my name and my writing in print.
I was still in grade school when I started my first novel. I had had a dream that a kid’s mom re-married an evil warlock. The kid lived like a prisoner, and through the dream I even lived a short while as a fellow captive. The dream stayed with me for weeks. I had to write it, if only to get it out of my head. Though I never finished that novel, I turned the idea into a screenplay in my college years.
The earliest thing I can remember writing was for my sister. I would have been eight or nine at the time and we were on summer vacation from school. During the summers our parents let us stay up a little later at night. One night, she attempted to write something, though I can’t remember what. As if common with younger siblings, I wanted to do what my big sister was doing. She had been complaining about a friend of hers who had been bullying her earlier in the day. I took the details from her encounter and wrote a little story in the style of an America’s Most Wanted monologue.
I remember finishing it and handing it to my sister to read. I was so proud of it. She read it and handed it back saying, “Hm. It’s good.” Thinking back on it now, it was probably awful, but my sister didn’t want to discourage her little brother and gave me the compliment. At the time it was enough to make me feel like a literary genius.
These were all firsts for me, all in different ways. I suppose they all exist as building blocks toward the writer that I have become, just as future projects will hopefully help me to grow even more.
What was the first thing you wrote?