I’ve been a storyteller since I could talk. I’ve been a writer since Mid-December 2007.
I’ve asked my Mom if I talked a lot as a toddler/kid, and she said yes. (I wanted to know if I’ve always been this talkative.) And looking back on my life (all 15 years and 8 months of it) I realized, a few months or weeks ago, that I have always been telling stories in one form or another.
By stories, I don’t mean lies, I mean real stories or fictional ones, but never lies. (I have a weird inability to lie.) And my imagination has always been very, very active. This shows in the games I invented and, um, “forced” my siblings to play. (That’s the word they might choose, I only “included” them in my games.) A few of the games I invented:
- The Real Life Game, the one we played the most. Basically, we pretended to be adults living in an appartment (the whole second floor of our house back in The Netherlands — we’re now in France) with jobs and kids and bills to pay and stuff to buy. We used monopoly money more for this game than for the actual game of monopoly. We used Baby Born dolls and Chou Chou as our children. We had old keys I’d collected for the keys of the appartment, and old credit cards and fake credit cars from games as– Well, you get the point. We also had an extensive collection of old hangbags.
- The Harry Potter Game. Here, we pretended to be witches in Hogwarts, going to classes and writing essays. We had a cloak, wands and the two books J.K. Rowling wrote for charity as our props. In a way this was just “Pretend to be teenagers in high school” and “Harry Potter” mashed together. I even made up homework. (Hence the essays we “wrote”.)
- The Camping Game. Camping out in the lounge with sleeping bags and backpacks full of food and bottled water and flashlights. Curtains closed, pretending it’s night time… Hiking up the “mountain”, i.e. the stairs.
- And countless others.
One other thing I loved was building things. Namely a “houses” out of the two couches. (Needless to say, my mother HATED this. She wishes she didn’t have couches with cushions that came off.) These houses were more like huts.
Tiny, little huts.
One time, I made an EPIC hut/house, complete with front door, hallways and levels. I never managed to recreate it…
On the side, I had a pen/paper/notebook addiction. And yet, I never wrote. Although, a few times, between the ages of 10 and 12, I wrote a few little things. First time I was 10, wrote in French, gave up after half a page. Second time I was 11, wrote in English, gave up after a few pages. (It was a Trolls rip-off.) I think I attempted one or two other stories after or before that. I’m not sure. [Just remembered: I completed a short story. It was a horror story and absolute CRAP.]
What I do know is this: when I started writing a fan fiction during the Christmas holidays of the year 2007, I realized I loved writing.
I was writing the fan fic for my best friend, and one day, over the phone, she told me about this fantastic series of books: Twilight. She told me about Edward not letting Bella see Jacob. Now, when you’ve never read it, you tend to interpret it your own way. Which is exactly what I did.
I decided to write a novel about a girl going to see a guy she knew she shouldn’t. (There was no third guy involved telling her this.) The next month, I read the books and realized that it was nothing like I’d imagined it.
I never finished the novel, and I now hate Twilight (as does my best friend), but one thing has never changed: my love for writing. (And telling stories.)
Since that Christmas, I have started many many many many novels, finished two of them, written half a dozen, or maybe more, short stories, written 40+ poems, tried my hand at songwriting (NEVER AGAIN!) and learned a lot.
Oh, another important aspect of how I started writing: books. I have loved reading since the age of 8/9. In fact, the school librarian let me borrow 2 of the books from A Series of Unfortunate Events once. At the same time! Back then, everybody wanted them, so when you borrowed a book of that series, it was one and one only. Knowing that I read fast, she let me borrow two. I gave one back the next day.
I will always remember that. 🙂
My favorite book as a child is “The Diamond Girls” by Jacqueline Wilson. Huh. Just realized… In that book, the family is pretty messed up. Knocked up teen, fighting teen, drama, etc. And I write pretty messed up novels. Interesting.
Some of my favorite authors/authors I like are: Jacqueline Wilson, J.K. Rowling, Eoin Colfer, Louise Rennison, Ellen Hopkins, Rachel Vincent, Richelle Mead, Melissa Marr, Laurie Halse Anderson, Annette Curtis Klause, Libba Bray, Scott Westerfeld, Lemony Snicket, Angie Sage, Catherine Webb, Anne Frank, Diane Duane, Roald Dahl–
Let’s just say I love reading and leave it at that.
Another factor in my love of writing could be that growing up surrounded by 3 languages: French, English and Dutch. Oh, and some South African words like “naartjie” (mandarine, pronounced “nah-tchy”) and “stompie” (“Are you picking up stompies?” — google it) and “biltong” (jerky). (My Mom’s South African/Dutch.)
Anyway, growing up with so many languages, with South African slang (my Mom), some Dutch slang (the street), British and American slang (TV), French slang (school), means that I love words and languages. (My favorite language has been (since the age of 11) and always will be English.)
I know this has been a very long blog post, but I hope you found it interesting. (I, for one, love to hear about writers and writing.)
(Almost a thousand words, wow.)