I wrote a story when I was about five or six about a young witch and her cat. I drew pictures and wove ribbon to tie it all together in a book, though for some reason I did the binding on the wrong side though I couldn't figure out what was wrong. (Dyslexic much?) My mother kept the book until she died and my father threw it away. I wish I still had that one.
I probably wrote other things now and then. I always had a love affair with the written word. However, I began writing seriously when I was 12. I wrote a lot of what would later be called fanfiction at first and then created some stories with a friend. (And she still writes, too. Here's a link to her just released vampire novel, Touched: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/260314
However, I consider my first real, all-my-own novel to be Sooma, a science fiction tale I began when I was 13. The novel spanned three more novels (yes, I see the pattern formed early, didn't it?) as I told the stories of later generations. Obviously that was the Mitchner influence there!
Sooma was the story of a backward planet, a pair of immortal women who happened to crash there and left behind a couple daughters who grew to be . . . Well, trouble is a good term. And then there were their children and an empire that ruled the stars, gods and priests and . . . It was, if nothing else, ambitious.
I have lost the original hand-written stories except for part of the last one (shown in the picture), but I had typed them up and have those later versions still (though at the moment Sooma 2 is missing). I even go back and look at them once in a while and marvel that I really did have a reasonably coherent plot in there and a lot of interesting characters. My prose, even in the later (1980's) versions are awful, of course. I'm still glad I have the stories, though. They are a point along the path to being the writer I am today. They are the gateway to the worlds and stories I later created. If I had not taken that first journey, from start to finish, I would not have taken the later ones. Knowing I could write entire stories and go back to enjoy them later was addictive. The stories didn't live and die in my head now. I could keep them forever. I could even share them with others.
This was the beginning of a very long journey that is still incredibly fun. I sometimes even think I would like to pull the Sooma stories apart, rewrite them and finish off the series. I've managed not to get that crazy yet.
Sooma taught me something important. The stories showed me that I have the ability to create whole universes in my mind and translate them to the written word. It showed me the fun of writing original material not tied to anyone else's ideas. I started there and I haven't stopped. I haven't run out of ideas for new stories and I am still as much in love with writing as I was when I first started Sooma.
If you want to get to read about nearly twenty other writers, check out the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour. Be sure to read tomorrow's post by Sharon Kemmerer