This might sound like a childish question, but it’s been eating at me for a while now.
A lot of us can say that we’ve been writing ever since we could remember–that we always loved to write ever since we were little children. There are some of us that know exactly when we started writing, and why we started in the first place.
So we must’ve left behind hundreds and hundreds of first drafts, right? Somewhere in old files on our computers or in old flash drives… maybe a box of the stuff written by hand…
Ever went back to read them?
I know exactly when I first started writing. It was the summer and fall of 2008.
Earlier that summer, my parents had gotten me a computer (especially now that we were required to type up essays). I didn’t have internet, though, so the most I could do was use Paint. But it worked out because just before then, I’d made the attempt to write my first story.
It was complete crap, of course… something about four friends at the start of their sophomore year–since I was going to start my sophomore year.
I was writing it in a small notebook, with the plans to put it away for a while, and then find it to read like new. But because it took so long and my hand hurt, I stopped adding to it.
But when my parents got me the computer, it was easier to transfer everything from the page to the screen, and since I’d already taken a keyboarding class, adding to the story became easier. So easy, in fact, that I randomly threw in an alien.
These four kids now had an alien friend. I left it at that for a while because classes resumed for the fall.
My Holy Grail
Being a big of a loner, I was always checking out books from our school library, but this book… Tithe by Holly Black… it was the first book I really paid attention to. It was the first book I’d read that had anything to do with faeries (or fairies or faerys or phaeries).
And not only that, but theses were scary faeries… violent and dark, hiding in a seedy underground world that existed underneath our own. It had surprised me that such dainty creatures could be turned into… well, into badasses!
After that first book, I was hooked on the malleable concept of faeries. I looked through my school’s catalog for every book that had to do with faeries, even finding my forever favorite book Poison by Chris Wooding (one of my favorite authors). It had amazed me that anyone could just take any existing thing and change it! And that was allowed!
I went back to my story, finally starting to think ahead. When I first started, I was literally making it up as I went along. Now… with faeries on the brain, I decided my protagonist was going to end up being a faerie.
Putting that together–no matter how poorly written it was… it was so much fun. I loved putting things together, getting the characters from point A to B… all the way to X, Y, and Z… no matter how flimsy the plotting was. I was enjoying myself so much that this faerie story spawned a second and third book. It has a fourth book, but I’d moved on from then that it remains incomplete to this day.
Also, I’d gotten to a part in the story that required a war and… well, plotting became difficult.
I’ve been writing ever since–both at home as well as during class… when I probably should’ve been writing notes…. I bet many of my instructors thought I was taking very detailed notes!
I’ve written more stories, hopefully better stories. I’ve saved most of them–even a couple of notebooks full of scribbles, no matter how much they make me cringe (like looking at old photos of yourself).
The Flash Drive Debacle of 2011
There was an incident in the summer of 2011 where I was moving items from my flash drive to the computer. I had about 7 different folders that broke down into numerous documents and scenes-for-future-use, only to have most of them get permanently deleted!
I’d canceled the process just before my faerie story disappeared, but… some good stuff is gone.
And the problem with that is I’ve been unable to rewrite those stories the same way. It will just never be the same, not in a way that I would be thoroughly satisfied, so I gave up on those.
But… the whole point of this post was to ask the question: Can you read your old stuff?
I’ve seriously tried to read my faerie story. I really, really want to rewrite it and make it publishable. But every single time I start reading the old “final” draft, I laugh so much and feel like crawling away from it, and I never finish getting past the first page!
I can’t be the only one, can I? Am I just really immature? Or am I being too harsh on 14- and 15-year-old Saffron?
Just in case you got a little curious as to what my crappy faerie story, here is where you can find it. I have other, slightly older things there as well.
I’m curious to know if any of you, dear readers, have looked back at your old things… old writings and ideas. Any of you daring enough to share it?
Thank you for your time.