When we last visited the subject about what prompted our writing careers, I mentioned an assignment from the sixth grade where the teacher read the opening of a story and then told us to write what came next.
While I still consider that assignment the launching point for my love-affair with the written word, there were other influences too. I’ve always been a dreamer, letting stories play themselves out in my head, but I didn’t always love reading.
Or at least, I didn’t love finishing a book. I liked getting started, being introduced to impossible worlds with magic and mayhem, but I didn’t always connect with the characters on the page. When that happened, my happy brain took off and made the story my own, adding characters that I enjoyed better.
I suppose that could be seen as an early form of fanfiction, but I was in grammar school so I can live with that. And really, I didn’t start writing them down until that fateful assignment in the sixth grade.
I really should track that teacher down and thank her.
Throughout high school, I kept a special notebook that held all sorts of stories in it. Mostly fragments, scenes that came to me in the middle of class that entertained me. It wasn’t a full novel, not even a short story because there was no structure to the notebook.
To look at it now, it seems a testament to my own personal attention deficit disorder. A scene begun on page five was interrupted by a series of scenes about an earthquake rattling the school, forcing me to become the hero and help lead my fellows out of the rubble.
So what got me from that chaotic fictional buffet to full novel writing?
To be honest, I think it was my mother’s electronic typewriter. And I know mentioning that archaic bit of machinery is likely to date me, but I’ll own my age for the day.
One of my earliest stories was written after we visited family in Alaska. I loved the cool air and rugged mountains and vast seascapes that we saw there and, per typical youthful exuberance, commemorated the visit in fiction. As with everything back then, I focused on the people in my life, so the main characters were none other than myself, my brother, and my cousins.
But what I remember most about writing it, was sitting at the absurdly large desk in the living room and pressing the keys on that typewriter. Something about the whirring-snap sound it made every time I hit a letter filled me with absolute glee.
There was a permanence to the story I was writing. It was there in the whirr-snap of every letter, my own personal mark in the world.
This is probably why I have a very noisy keyboard. It may not have the same whirr-snap sound of the typewriter, and I can delete things almost as quickly as I write them now, but the sense of accomplishment is still there.
Check out what my fellow authors have to say about what started their writing careers in this month’s Round Robin…
Connie Vines http://mizging.blogspot.com/
Victoria Chatham http://www.victoriachatham.com
Skye Taylor http://www.skye-writer.com/blogging_by_the_sea
Judith Copek http://lynx-sis.blogspot.com/
Dr. Bob Rich https://wp.me/p3Xihq-1ke
Beverley Bateman http://beverleybateman.blogspot.ca/
A.J. Maguire https://ajmaguire.wordpress.com/ (YOU ARE HERE)
Fiona McGier http://www.fionamcgier.com/
Margaret Fieland http://margaretfieland.wordpress.com
Rhobin L Courtright http://www.rhobinleecourtright.com
12 thoughts on “August Round Robin – Creation of a Writer”
AJ, I can beat you on the age front. I started by using a manual typewriter, you know, the one with wire levers clacking up and down.
I can see why Alaska would have inspired you. I also get enthused by landscape and wildlife. We do live on a pretty little planet.
I’ve seen those old typewriters! Though I think there’s something to be said about the revision process with a typewriter versus what we do today with the computer. Everything had to be meticulously penned down and revised to perfection before you sat down with the typewriter and started hammering keys.
It’s interesting how different places and sounds seem to develop where we are most productive as writers. Good post, A.J.
Having just moved to New England, this concept of different places producing different work from a writer is very true. I can see it in my more recent stuff.
Like you, I wish I could thank the teacher that challenged me to really dig deep and find the talent I was blessed with. I had him for two years and those two years changed my life.
Sadly, I can’t even remember this teacher’s name anymore. Sixth grade was so very long ago and I moved after the school year, so a lot of my memory deals with a new home.
Like Dr. Bob, I started off operating a manual typewriter, a Remington if memory serves. I went on to a smart Olivetti but then made the huge leap to computers. I had little experience of electric typewriters per se, but do remember the noise those ball heads made.
My Dad got us one of the earlier computers with that weird dial-up router from AOL shortly after I showed an interest in writing, but I loved that typewriter so much that I asked for it after I moved. It eventually died and I moved to a laptop.
I did learn to type on an old typewriter, but I never wrote on one. I went from pen and paper to an old computer. I love the part the whirr-snap sounds played in your writing and your still noisy keyboard.
For the last couple of years I’ve been bouncing between pen and paper, or writing straight on the computer. As of last week, I’ve decided that pen and paper really have to come first. While it is faster to get things done on the computer from start to finish, the writing is richer and more focused when I’ve one it by hand first. Plus, the snap of the keyboard feels more like a reward than work, lol
Ah, don’t we all want to be heroines in our lives? I’ve had people tell me they find my books “icky” because they imagine my husband and me, during the sex scenes. Um, no? The heroine is based on me, because of course I’m the female secret agent who has changed the world many times…with no notice from the world. Or I’m the one who gets turned into a vampire by a centuries old bloodsucker who falls madly in love with me. But the males? They’re a composite of men I’ve known, men I’ve seen pictures of, and men I’ve imagined. It’s fiction, people! Not a memoir! Sheesh!
I have a tendency to warn family and friends if there’s an explicit scene in a book, and then I remind them that it is fiction. Currently I’m shopping one novel that stars a female veteran and I’ve already stressed the fact that, although I’m a veteran, this character is not me and should not be seen as such. We’ll see when the book comes out if I’ve been successful, lol