This is a blogging prompt from Duolit, a two-person writing team who provide information about self-publishing, although a lot of their information is helpful for writers of all stripes.
I wrote a little as a kid but didn’t read a lot. Teachers just couldn’t get a handle on my tastes, which leaned more towards fantasy than the ridiculous “realistic” stories they tried to shove down my throat. I was more interested in magic and unicorns and princesses than about little boys who went on a journey to find their missing bikes. Reading and writing, while they interested me, were more of a curiosity than a real hobby. I still preferred to play elaborate make-believe games with friends rather than write the stories in my head.
And then, Harry Potter happened. The first movie came out when I was eight and I immediately turned my attention to the books. At this time, only the first four were out, but they sparked an insatiable thirst for the written word that to this day has not ceased. My mother dutifully lined up for hours on the release day of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, which was quite possibly my favourite of the books released up to that point. Harry’s struggles with a hostile learning environment, a government and media determined to discredit him, and his own psyche working against him made for a compelling story when Rowling wove in the magic.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix was the book that really inspired me to write. My first lengthy works were terrible fanfictions that I wrote a few chapters in before abandoning. Keeping with the pattern of earlier years, the best parts of the story remained in my head. I just couldn’t force them onto the page. When I was about twelve, I started writing a particular fic with an original character stepping in as Harry’s love interest. I never completed the story, but I did come away from it with new knowledge and a lively character I couldn’t stop thinking about.
My brush with the Harry Potter fanfic community taught me some important aspects of writing, like how to correctly write dialogue and the importance of smooth transitioning as to not give the reader whiplash. Writing fanfiction, with the aid of a few moderators on the fanfic website I had chosen specifically for its guidelines, in essence, taught me how to write.
Later, when I was fifteen, I took that original character from my abandoned fanfiction and began to write my own story. Although I’m still working on it now (it’s the one I just had to start over), this book has me in a vice-like grip. I have to finish it, and I will. I’ve come too far to give up now.
So, that’s my story. What about yours?