One Writer’s Evolution

A thought struck me as I was rereading passages from some of my older, unfinished works:  “Wow.  I’ve certainly changed in the last decade.”

Rereading old works can be both cringe-worthy and heart-warming.  Cringe-worthy because, hopefully, if you’ve been working to improve yourself, you’ll be thinking, “Good grief, I had NO grasp of pacing,” or “My magic system in this story made NO logical sense,” or “AHHH!  SO MUCH FORCED CHARACTER DESCRIPTION!”  (I’ve always been über-descriptive in my writing, so that’s always been a problem of mine.)  But the cringing will hopefully be followed by the realization that, “Hey, I’ve come a long way since then.  All those problems seem so obvious to me now and I know how to avoid them.”

I don’t know about you, but I also always get a warm, slightly nostalgic feeling when I reread my old stories.  I’m like a parent amused and indulgent with her children’s finger painting and story-telling antics.  They might not make sense in the adult world I now inhabit, but there’s a great deal of old-fashioned charm in the nonsensical-ness.  Horses used doors and buckets, magic was thrown in willy-nilly to make up for a lack of opposable thumbs and tornadoes were a perfectly acceptable method of transportation.

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Why Write? Why Not?

It’s ironic that, fifteen years ago, the last thing I wanted to be was a writer.

During my elementary years as a homeschooled student, composition class was my least favorite subject.  I suppose regular schools lump reading and writing under the heading “English,” but for me they were two separate things.  Reading was fun and fast.  Writing was a torture that dragged on for what felt like hours.  I remember my father tell me that I would probably grow up and become a great writer.  I looked up from grinding out another line of loopy, childishly careful cursive and declared that I would never, ever EVER become a writer.  Not in a million years!

Look who had the last laugh on that one.  As it turns out, Dad knew where my talents lay better than I did.  It’s interesting how it took me so long to come around to writing, considering how much I loved to read.  Plus, I always enjoyed crafting stories of my own, which I would reenact with my long-suffering toy horses, Barbie dolls, dinosaurs, and Hot Wheels cars.  (I believe we still have one of my stories involving My Little Ponies floating around on videotape somewhere…)  In any case, while I loved “playing” stories, it took me years before it occurred to me to write them down, or that my world- and character-creation was essentially the same thing real writers did.  I had other careers in mind.

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