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Vincent
11-08-2006, 08:02 AM
I've had a bit of a surprise just now.

I've been down at my old home in the country to see my family the last week or so, and today I came across a drawer full of old school books and papers. In amongst it all I've found three stories, going back 16 years or more. I'm sitting here right now, reading what I forgot I ever wrote.

I have a very short illustrated story written when I was eight or nine, about a Martian explorer who visits Sydney and discovers intelligent life. The drawing is better than the story, unfortunately.

Then I have 'The Fire', about a careless motorist who starts a devastating bushfire that sweeps across the countryside, threatening a small town. I actually remember writing this one, I was 12 years old and was the first student in class allowed on one of the school's computers to type it out. I averaged about 2 words a minute, I recall.

Next up is 'Invasion of the Ants', which couldn't have been written much later. Seems to be the start of a long story about a 'hive nation' that escapes it's homeworld's nuclear war, only to get attacked as they try to land their 'flying mountain' in the Caribbean during the height of the Cuban missile crisis. Nifty. Maybe I'll finish it.

Anyway, I'm just taking a stroll down Nostalgia Lane, and wonder if anyone else has had a similar experience. Or are these clumsy first attempts the sort of thing you'd rather burn and try to forget?

SpookyWriter
11-08-2006, 08:07 AM
I know what you mean. I too have stuff (unpublished) work from my college days in the early eighties. I could probably clean them up and submit. Nah. I have dozens of completed stories on hard disk, floppy, and stashed across the internet for safe keeping.

Matter of fact, I was reading something I had written way back in 1992.

Pass them on or publish? What would you do?

Vincent
11-08-2006, 08:14 AM
Hey, would this have been better placed in the roundtable? I wasn't really thinking. Feel free to nudge it around.

SpookyWriter
11-08-2006, 08:22 AM
Hey, would this have been better placed in the roundtable? I wasn't really thinking. Feel free to nudge it around.Oh boy, I had a girl friend once who did the same thing daily. Pushy pushy little thing she was...errr..

Vincent
11-08-2006, 08:27 AM
ahuh

TsukiRyoko
11-08-2006, 08:44 AM
I do. I have stories clear back from the third grade- which are surprisingly morbid, may I add. I love reading my old stories, i can see how much I've improved

Mandy-Jane
11-08-2006, 09:49 AM
I found some of my old stuff a few weeks ago when I was cleaning out my filing cabinet. All I can say is, thank God I gave up writing short stories and took up plays instead!

PeeDee
11-08-2006, 09:57 AM
Funny you should mention this. I'm currently packing up all my stuff to move to our new digs, and one of the boxes I opened up was the one where I've kept all my old stories. I know that I have probably 95% of the stories I've ever written, all bundled away in different places.

In this box, I found the first story I ever wrote. It was a Star Wars story, it was about a hundred and twenty pages of tiny hand-writing (college ruled paper; even when I was young, I didn't think much of wide rule). It was about the Rebellion's construction of a Death Star, about why they felt they had to do this, what happened with it, and so on. I wrote two sequel stories, each one longer than the previous.

They all had beginnings, middles, and definitive endings. They had characters that were unique, some of them Star Wars characters, most of them my own. The dialogue wasn't always brilliant, but it wasn't actually TOO terrible.

The covers were done on tracing paper, using bits of different pictures which I assembled into these explosive covers.

I love it. :D

TsukiRyoko
11-08-2006, 10:11 AM
I have quite a few boxes full of stories like that. I have entire notebooks (also college ruled, coincidentally. I think wide rule just gives an excuse to write in smaller amounts with more satisfaction.) I have thick construction paper title sheets, all colored masterfully with colored pencils or Crayola markers. At least 40% of these stories are fanfiction, and the rest is either pretty untasteful poetry, short stories and prose, and I think I have about 6 or 7 "novels" (pretty lengthy, too, one of them coming in at a whopping 19 notebooks). I have at least 10 boxes piled up full of these notebooks, right next to my 4 massive bookshelves. My room and it's 10x8 feet of glory are quite proud of the literary clutter.

Rachael
11-08-2006, 11:59 AM
I still have the story that I told my mother to write down for me before I could write. I was three. It was about Kathy swinging on the big swings with the big kids and then having good food for dinner.

AnnaC
11-08-2006, 06:34 PM
I've held on to many of my earliest stories. One of them I wrote when I was nine years old, based on the Walter Farley "Black Stallion" books! As another author commented, it really is interesting to go back and re-read those older works to see how much I've grown as a writer.

:)

Unique
11-08-2006, 07:54 PM
Nope. Not too many.
Cave walls are kind of hard to tote around. ;)

Carrie in PA
11-08-2006, 08:17 PM
I have most of my old stuff. It's fun to go back and read. :D

aadams73
11-08-2006, 08:37 PM
I have everything I've ever written, but I refuse to torture myself by going back and reading it. It makes my eyes bleed and my teeth hurt.

Freckles
11-08-2006, 08:59 PM
I know the feeling. A few months ago, I was cleaning out my drawer and found some stuff I'd written while on the high school newspaper. I had to chuckle... so elementary! ;)

WackAMole
11-08-2006, 09:24 PM
I hold on to mine, and when I feel like the stuff I am writing is crap, I read back through the older stuff and it becomes so clear how much my writing has grown, that I get my confidence back!

So yeah, as embarassing as it is, I just CANT throw it away.

Freckles
11-08-2006, 09:27 PM
I hold on to mine, and when I feel like the stuff I am writing is crap, I read back through the older stuff and it becomes so clear how much my writing has grown, that I get my confidence back!

So yeah, as embarassing as it is, I just CANT throw it away.

Nicely put! Seeing how far you've come makes you feel soooo much better!

awatkins
11-08-2006, 11:01 PM
Ya know, I think the Roundtable would be a great place for this. Hang on everybody...I'll port the thread over. Please remain seated and keep your arms and head inside the car until it comes to a complete stop. Thank you.

Shadow_Ferret
11-08-2006, 11:49 PM
Funny. A few months ago I found an old plastic file cabinet at my Mom's and it contained a lot of my writing from high school and a lot of my first rejection notices.

I was thinking of framing them along with my first ever check.

ChaosTitan
11-09-2006, 12:01 AM
All of my old stories are stashed beneath my bed in a plastic tub. I like to pull them out once in a while and laugh at myself. Many of them were "homage" stories, written during a current teenage obsession (usually another book or a TV show). Not fanction, but not quite original. I took the kernal of the other work and reinvented it (my versions of The Outsiders, The Young Riders, The Justice League of America, etc...).

One thing that hasn't changed over time is my tendency to beat on my characters. I just love angst.

LitFa
11-09-2006, 12:15 AM
I wrote a horror novel in two months during my college winter break. The next year when I read it, I noticed something very important about it. IT SUCKED! big time. My family was so nice to tell me that it was great, but they lied. The concept maybe was cool but the execution was terrible. Since then I have learned more about the craft of novels (hopefully). I think it is still lurking on one of my disk, all the printouts are trashed though. A short story I wrote when I was 12 on the other hand received all positive feed back from my whole college writing class. Go figure, maybe I reached my peak at 12?

Gigi Sahi
11-09-2006, 12:19 AM
I have stories over 20 years old - from my teenage years. I read them over every now and again. It's interesting to see how much I've grown as a writer and as a person. Whenever I read them, I feel like I've traveled back in time. I can usually remember what inspired the piece.

In a novel I'm working on, the MC is a teenager. I've been able to draw on my early writings to "get inside her head" and develop the character.

John61480
11-09-2006, 04:38 AM
Well, a year ago I went back and re-read my first novel—a fantasy novel—I wrote six years ago. I became so disgusted that I threw it away, along with all the drafts and even the screenplay version! See, that was my first attempt at writing something (I was attempting something along the lines of LOTR) and I couldn't let go. I re-wrote it many times in '00 and I had a two drawer file cabinet somewhat filled with many of the revisions.

But I dumped it. It was a way to come to grips with my writing self. I spent so much time on that one story rather than studying the craft or writing other stories...I don't know. Re-reading it made me sick. I wrote so horribly. Yet it made me feel better knowing I didn't have that baggage anymore. Now that it's done, I feel no regret.

Freckles
11-09-2006, 04:47 AM
I wrote a horror novel in two months during my college winter break. The next year when I read it, I noticed something very important about it. IT SUCKED! big time. My family was so nice to tell me that it was great, but they lied. The concept maybe was cool but the execution was terrible. Since then I have learned more about the craft of novels (hopefully). I think it is still lurking on one of my disk, all the printouts are trashed though. A short story I wrote when I was 12 on the other hand received all positive feed back from my whole college writing class. Go figure, maybe I reached my peak at 12?

Hey, don't sell yourself short. I'm sure you have many, many more years of writing success ahead of you. Ever thought of rewriting that horro novel?

Simon Woodhouse
11-09-2006, 07:13 AM
I didn't start writing until five years ago. However, I did dabble in poetry and song writing from my late teens all the way through my twenties. But luckily none of this stuff has survived. Sometimes novel writing can be difficult, but I tip my cap to anyone who can pen a decent poem – I certainly couldn't.

kbax
11-09-2006, 07:23 AM
Just a few months ago I discovered a notebook from high school--okay, fine, TWO notebooks--full of my angst-ridden poetry. Oh, the angst! Oh, the inability to understand and utilize meter! Oh, the horrible turns of phrase! Oh, the ex-boyfriend who inspired so many of them!

It was quite a trip down memory lane.

Just a few days later, I called the ex-boyfriend (we're best friends now). He's kept every piece of writing I ever gave him, and, out of the blue, he asked permission to read an old poem of mine to a poetry group at the high school where he works. I have no idea which poem it was, and I'm sure it was horrid--and I'm very proud of myself for saying "Yes" without asking to edit it first. :D

ChaosTitan
11-09-2006, 07:24 AM
This thread inspired me to go digging under my bed. I unearthed an old marbled notebook, with the beginnings of a handwritten YA novel. Amazed that I could read my once-neat printing, I sat down to read it. I had forgotten the story completely (six children on some non-Earth colony realize they possess hidden powers, and that there are people trying to neutralize them).

When I reached a certain point, and the next page was blank, I said, "THAT'S IT???"

So many unfinished stories in that storage bin....

John61480
11-09-2006, 08:40 AM
You're fotunate to have read something you can't remember about. Now that's perspective. I wish I could have done that with something more recent. I would be so way ahead on realizing my style of writing. It would make it easy to adjust to something better. Oh well. Live and learn they say.

ChaosTitan
11-09-2006, 06:54 PM
The funny thing is that while my vocabulary has increased in the last ten years, my style is very much the same. I could look at a piece and think, Yep, I wrote that.

LitFa
11-09-2006, 08:27 PM
Hey Freckles, thanks for the encouragment. I thought about redoing the horror story but then dismissed it. Maybe one day I will get back into it, for now I am working on some less gruesome writing.

Freckles
11-09-2006, 11:23 PM
Good luck, Lit! :D

SeanDSchaffer
11-10-2006, 01:14 AM
I have a copy of a humor piece I did back in, oh, 1984 or so, entitled The Firestone Firefighters. It was a 12-yeard-old's take on the Keystone Kops. The entire manuscript is maybe three or four handwritten pages long, with a couple illustrations.

I also have the earliest version of what eventually became my PA book, Wyverinia Chronicle, which I typed out as I was still learning the typewriter, right around 1989. Also, I'm not sure where it is, but a work from my Freshman High School Year is somewhere around here, which deals with probably one of my first Wyverinia stories. It was later incorporated into the same book as my other manuscript mentioned in this paragraph.

So yeah, I do hold on to old manuscripts from long ago. They're a reminder of where I started out, and how far I've come since then.

Nickie
11-10-2006, 01:53 AM
Some time ago, while cleaning up in the attic, I found a booklet full of fairy tales I wrote when I was just 6-7. My own special version of Snowwhite or Sleeping Beauty... with drawings!!!

When I was around 14 I used to write longer stories of princesses etc. And guess what? I used one of these old stories to actually write a new novel. The old story is now the first part of the novel. So you see, you can still use your old tales!


Nickie

Vincent
11-10-2006, 05:07 AM
Turns out I'm not the only creatively minded one in the family. Turned up an old notebook of my sister's, dating back to the early `90s. It's full of "I love Michael Jackson", line after line, page after page, with a few little hearts and flowers thrown in for effect.

seun
11-10-2006, 01:01 PM
I've got an old folder full of utter crap from my embarrasing teenage years. I haven't looked at it in a while and don't have any urge to do so but it is nice to know it's there if I ever want to laugh at myself.

Saying that, there are a couple of pretty bad stories that launched a series of books I'm very happy with so I must have done something right while squeezing my spots, trying to grow sideburns and spending too much time...alone :D

D.Hall
11-12-2006, 04:05 AM
I can't through them without laughing. :)

Lady Cat
11-12-2006, 08:23 PM
I think I was a pack rat in a former life - I keep EVERYTHING. I still have a box full of all the notes and various versions of the first novel I ever attempted to write (25 years ago).

Just last week I was going through my filing cabinet and found a story I'd written more than ten years ago. I remember writing down the idea for it, but I totally don't remember writing the story itself! It was pretty good, too. Don't know why I never submitted it anywhere.
:Shrug: