YA highway asked today on the Road Trip Wednesday:
When/why did you start writing?
Here's the long and deeply personal story of When did I start writing.
I started writing back in 7th grade. Back in middle school I discovered the wonderful world of comic books. I was a Batman girl. I liked Robin, -- Tim Drake, not Jason Todd, or even Dick Grayson. Tim Drake was my Robin. He was also one of the reasons why I started to write.
In my head I had been writing for since birth, running around, talking to myself, living in the wonderful fantasy world in my head. But in 7th grade I started to write on paper. By 8th grade I though, "yep- I'm the most amazing writer that ever was."
In 9th grade was I diagnosed with a learning disability, in language. I leave out words, I reverse letters, I don't read what's on the paper, I make up my own words that sound better. All signs were pointing to, "Erinn, you need to stop." But if Robin could put on a suit every night and fight crime and go to school the next day, surely I could write a short story.
Throughout high school I had a story I wanted to write, because EVERYONE who read comics has a story they want to see in comic form, or they want to draw it.
I wanted to write comics, I wanted an ainmated series. I wanted a live action series. I wanted my characters on the big screen.
So I took every opertunity to do it. I took an elective every year to move ahead in my writing.
But reality started to creep in, I wasn't the best writer in the class. I wasn't the worst but I wasn't as talented as others. If I couldn't win an award in my writing class, then how can I get published. <-- a thought that still lingers with me today.
I went to Salisbury University because it had a creative writing major. I lasted one week when I opted to double major in English and Education. I remember thinking that I was giving up on my dream.
Still my story haunted me.
I discovered Buffy The Vampire Slayer, the Power Puff Girls and other shows that protrayed women as strong and fighters. Plot Bunnies exploded, but they never made it on to paper.
Finally my senior year of college, I was living alone, no roommate to distract me and one of my friends had published his own book. Now was my time. I formatted it like a comic --- still holding on to that dream.
I graduated with about 17 "chapters" of the story. To this day it's still sitting on my bookshelf.
Then I started to work, with a real job. I was a teacher, I started dating my husband, I was a bride, I was a homeowner and poof 4 years had gone by and I had no writing to show it.
Then I started watching The West Wing. Josh and Donna infected my brain as much as Buffy, my own story and Robin had in the past... and I started writing Fan fiction. Some people are ashamed of their fan fiction, I know it's not something I talk about a lot. But fan fiction was the reason WHY I got back into writing.
First The West Wing then I moved on to LOST. I was a shipper. Josh and Donna, Charlie and Claire. 10/Rose. Yep that's who I was. Then I wrote a Fan Fiction taking place in an AU for charlie and Claire... when it was over I said, "Nope, it's not." I changed it from characters who were "real" to my own characters. The story was so far removed from Lost I thought it would be fine.
That's how No System At All was born... sort of. But I called it Love Wears a Sucidial Fish Hat,-- it made sense in the book, I promise.
I did some edits, added scenes and flashbacks. Wrote a query and poof. I had a few requests for partials.
Awesome. I was half way there.
Nope. As it turned out the book sucked, and I was pregnant. So I had to make a choice, give up on writing or push on.
Motherhood loomed in front of me. Life changes didn't even begin to say it. During week 22 of my pregnancy I said, "no, I'm not giving up on these characters and I want to make the book into a series." It would be story of a band's rise to fame. My frist book Love wears a Sucidial Fish Hat would be the series finale and I would just go back and write the band's orgin for the first book.
Author's Note: Yeah all those plans have been thrown out the window, Fish Hat was my "practice" novel and it will NEVER see the light of day.
I spent the next 16 weeks being pregnant, teaching, getting ready for the baby and writing. I was 20 pages away from finishing when my daughter came month early. I went the hopsital and agrued with the nurse, "No, I can't have this baby, I need to finish my novel."
The nurse didn't listen.
Neither did my daughter.
This summer marks 3 years since I started writing No System At All. Since then I have written one other complete novel- New York Karma and I'm 1 week away from my third book Penny and Hank.
20 years since I started writing and you know what, my heart still belong to Robin.
Why do I do it?--- it's the plot bunnies, they don't leave my head, the story infects EVERY aspect of my life until I get it out on paper then I can move on. Beside I owe it to my characters to try. I owe it to my beta readers to make the story better. I owe it to myself because I love it.