Books I Wrote as a Kid

Did you guys write a lot as a kid? I know I did. In fact, when I was a child, the first thing I ever wanted to be when I grew up was an artist, so I could draw my own stories. (Spelling was too hard back then–I would never be able to finish a story if I had to pause and ask my mother how to spell every other word!)

But once I did start writing, I didn’t stop. In looking through my old journals and notebooks, I couldn’t help but be amused at my early attempts at fiction…

…and so decided to share them.

#1: The Island

Okay….I don’t actually know what the title of this one was, because it is the name of the story I infamously shredded and burned later, but it was basically born out of my obsession with Swiss Family Robinson and the whole idea of being stranded on a deserted island, which has been a particular favorite daydream of mine since I was a small child. Seriously, if there was any type of story about surviving alone on an island (Island of the Blue Dolphins, Flight 29 Down, etc.) I. Ate. It. Up. Which is funny, since I’m not an outdoor person…at all.

Image result for leverage quote outside

However, I love being by myself, so the whole “deserted” part of the “island” was, I guess, the attractive part, as well as the self-sufficiency. The story was basically about a group of kids my age at the time (that is, between the ages of 9 and 10) who get stranded on an island through means I cannot precisely remember, and have to work together to survive and find their way back home. I found this story again when I was 13 and was so horrified by my misspelled words, childish sentence structure, and overdramatic dialogue that I destroyed it.

I learned two things from this book:

  1. 9-year-old kids are generally not as smart as 9-year-old me thought and probably would not do very well on an island all by themselves….BUT a story about such improbably mature kids would probably be greatly enjoyed by fellow 9-year-olds. (If I was able to write about improbably mature nine-year-olds at that age…then was I an improbably mature nine-year-old? The world may never know.)
  2. I learned that I love writing about teamwork, and groups of bickering, diverse people who have to learn to work together. This hasn’t changed in the 14 years since I first wrote this story.

(also, should I watch Lost? Because I feel like I should watch Lost. I just….have heard about the ending, so ???)

#2: The Mystery of The China Shop

A mystery set in the 1940s. This one was handwritten between the pages of a tiny composition notebook heavily decorated with Lisa Frank stickers.

I also illustrated it with colored pencil drawings. This one had to be written within a year or two of The Island and was probably heavily influenced by the American Girl history mysteries.

I actually found and re-read this one because all I could remember about it was that my heroine’s older brother had a picture of Hitler on his wall that he would throw darts at. Because obviously no historical fiction book set during the 40s is complete without a little bit of obligatory Hitler-hate.

#3: Grace

I had completely forgotten about this one until I accidentally found it looking for The Mystery of the China Shop. It says “2005” at the beginning, which meant I was about 11 at the time of writing. It was about a girl named Grace (duh) who had a big family (because apparently I only know how to write about big families) and had to deal with starting school when (gasp!) her mom was going to be TEACHING AT THE SAME SCHOOL SHE ATTENDED. This is something I actually knew about (In the first grade, the only year I attended public school, my mother taught third grade across the hall from my classroom). There was also a new girl at the school, I think, and somebody had a wedding. I never got to go to any weddings as a kid, so I think I was living vicariously through the story at that point. (I just wanted to save the wedding rings like Ramona did in Ramona Forever, okay? *looks over at my newly engaged younger sister*) Overall, there was not much of a plot.

However, I still had room in my little notebook after I’d finished the story, so I used up the rest of the pages for a little picture book about my sister. Using gel pens, of course.

There was also a picture book I wrote in the back about the history of the United States of America called America the Beautiful because I am, and always have been, a history nerd.

#4: The Stevens

That isn’t actually the real title- I might have come up with this one when I was 12, but the title was actually really good and….I kind of want to save it and use it someday. I’m actually still quite fond of this one and its characters. It was set during the Civil War about this large, eccentric family living in the south who was generally so eccentric and weird (but also from old money) that they could get away with suspicious stuff…like helping runaway slaves escape to freedom. Sadly, this book didn’t have a lot of great writing in it, but there’s a part of me that doesn’t want to give up on this story completely, even though I know it’s been permanently buried in the story graveyard. Some of the scenes and plot points actually hold up after a decade’s inspection.

#5: Finding Adelaide

Oh man, here’s where I really decided to get serious and write a Grown Up Novel. This one was started when I was 13, around the time I started reading Christian Historical Fiction. It’s fairly obvious in that I was way too influenced by that genre, but I did have some good ideas of my own. The plot also grew out of my slight annoyance that such fiction has where ALL arranged marriages are always horrible and must be avoided at all costs–like, didn’t they work out sometimes? Why are all the guys girls get betrothed to old and gross? So this one was about a likable betrothed couple who didn’t know each other but there was a heavy dosage of evil uncles and mustache-twirling villains and disguises and passionate piano-playing with tears and joy and rage AND YES I AM A LITTLE MELODRAMATIC I GET IT.

Also, I’m only now realizing that the core idea of this one–girl runs away to hide from danger and start a new life elsewhere, boy tries to find her in a race against time before the bad guy does–actually got recycled in January Snow. huh. Maybe my writing hasn’t changed as much as I thought it has…

And there we have it.

Around this time is when I began coming up with ideas for Hidden Pearls. In a lot of ways, Hidden Pearls is a good example of my older writing. (I was still not a very good researcher and sometimes I lie awake at night dreading that a British person is going to read the novel and be horrified by its absolute American-ness)

But overall, each one of these stories had something that helped me on my writing journey in showing me what “clicks” for me and what doesn’t. The Island taught me that I love writing teamwork/friendship stories. The Mystery of the China Shop cemented my love of writing historical fiction and mysteries. Grace taught me that, while contemporaries aren’t really my thing, I do like writing about big families. Working on the The Stevens let me know that 1) I like to mix comedy and tragedy in one story and 2) eccentric and unusual characters are my favorites. And finally, Finding Adelaide was a lesson that, while romance is all very well and good, for me personally, writing it is also going to entail adding a lot of danger, swashbuckling action, and plot twists.

What are some of the stories, however regrettable, that you wrote as a kid?

12 thoughts on “Books I Wrote as a Kid

  1. The Stevens actually sounds quite cool.

    I don’t think I’d ever have the courage to go through my old stories. XD I love them, but I prefer to love them from a distance so I don’t have to deal with that melodramatic sentence structure. One time I did open a story I wrote when I was thirteen, though, and I found the sentence, “My aggravated feeling ceased abruptly.” Like…that’s probably NOT the worst sentence I’ve ever written, but I don’t really want to find a worse sentence than that. 🤣

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awww, thanks! I’m still pretty fond of that one myself, although for some reason I thought that I, at the ripe old age of thirteen, could handle writing about some very serious and adult topics in that one! (I was legit writing about marriage problems at one point 🤣)

      But YES. I prefer to love mine at a distance as well…it would take a LOT of overhauling to make any of them actually readable!

      Annnnd your sentence made me laugh 🤣

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I want to read Finding Adelaide now … but might have to have January Snow instead 🙂 Once this book buying ban is over!

    I once wrote a story called ‘Mountain Air’ which held a thinly veiled stand-in for myself. I wrote a romantic lead too.

    His name was Obadiah.

    Yeah.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. 🤣
      Oh, I had many stand-ins, too. Never named my love interest Obadiah though….🤣

      Also I want you to read January Snow but I am going to be a SUPPORTIVE FRIEND and say NOT UNTIL YOU FINISH YOUR BOOK BAN

      Like

  3. OH MY GOODNESS. It’s like we had the same childhood! I LOVED island survival stories toooo! In fact, to this day I’m still a sucker for a good survival story. But I was alllll about Island of the Blue Dolphin, and Flight 29 Down was a total guilty pleasure. (I honestly thought I was the only person in the world who remembers that show! :O) But ALSO. I am not an outdoors person either. We are so similar there, it’s great! XD AND mixing comedy and tragedy and having eccentric characters is my FAVE. I’m not sure I have a single novel without those things. YES!

    I couldn’t help but laugh at your Lisa Frank stickers, because the first story I ever wrote was in a Lisa Frank notebook. XDD All the COOL kids had Lisa Frank gear, am I right?

    I love that you found your favorite things to write via your early works. I’m a firm believer in that NO writing is wasted writing. How else do we learn and find our groove and discover what we like and don’t like? My first story was a contemporary with like…no plot. Then I started a fairy tale-style story, and later a high fantasy book, and I found my love. It’s all trial and error and LEARNING. We wouldn’t be where we are without those early works, right? However much we want to forget their existence sometimes. XDD

    Liked by 3 people

    1. aldhafjdfghjfk WE’RE TWINS

      Also, I cannot believe someone else remembers Flight 29 Down!!! My siblings used to watch it on Saturday mornings 😀

      ummm YES I was *so* cool with my Lisa Frank folders and stickers, yes I was. (Actually I could never decide where to put my stickers so I still have them around, never used. 🤣 Ah, indecisive even then)

      YAS! Honestly, I learned so much from writing even those terrible stories back then. None of it was wasted…although I’m very glad no one will be seeing those manuscripts but myself 🤣

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This was delightful to read! I admit, it made me chuckle, and reminded me a lot of my own childhood writing! And I love your point that even those first attempts taught you what you loved reading and writing about—a good consideration for writers who are tempted to bury their old work forever!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. That’s really fun that you still have those old stories to look back on! Even though I had a loosely held dream of being a writer from the time I was 5, unless you count two creative writing assignments in school (one about a guy who lost his dog, and one historical from the perspective of a reporter in the audience during the Gettysburg Address) plus a story I got one sentence into, and a story I got a page and a half into, I didn’t start writing in earnest until I was 22 years old. Pretty sure I erased those two story openings that never went anywhere, but I wish I could find the two school assignments. The one with the dog might be around here somewhere (or possibly in Abeka Academy’s archives in Florida since I was homeschooled through them and had to send assignments to them. I think the Gettysburg one got lost several dead computers ago.

    Oh, re Lost: I don’t know your TV tastes that well, but I wouldn’t personally recommend it. I watched up until the end of season 3 during the original run and then quit because it was getting too dark, weird, and violent for me. (You can only kill off so many of my favorite characters before I end up being done.) Having looked up the ending since then, I’m glad I quit because it really was odd what happened and I wouldn’t have been into the murky spiritual overtones. Also, I’ve since become unhappy with the production as a whole because Evangeline Lily said her role as Kate almost made her quit acting with the way her character was objectified constantly. (And she really was.) I actually remember one episode she mentioned where they made her get partially naked with her back to the camera and she said she was basically having a panic attack because she was so uncomfortable doing that but the people in charge didn’t care. I actually remember thinking there was a panicked look in her eye during that scene but didn’t know at the time it was real. 😦

    Flight 29 Down was much more my speed. 😀 I’m glad to learn other people remember and enjoyed it because it was good!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh man, I remember Abeka, haha! (We didn’t homeschool through them, but we did use some of their curriculum, especially when it came to language and English) I always had a such a harder time writing for assignments than for fun!

      Alright, I stick with Flight 29 Down, lol! But that does sound terrible about Lost. :/
      I never really thought I’d like the show, but then I’ve also heard some people really rave about it, so I didn’t know if it was worth it or not. I guess it’ll be “not” in my case!

      Like

  6. Well, let’s see…I also have a Civil War story, and…the first snippet I wrote for it is DREADFUL. ABSOLUTELY DREADFUL.

    AND I STILL HAVE IT. I even shared it on my blog last year. Or was it the year before?

    It was really just one big sappy love triangle and- *shudder* I was 13, okay??

    There’s also the story I started where my Webkinz were live animals and they had owners who were like 11-12 years old.

    …I’m not sure what the hay was going on with that one.

    Oh, and there was also a horse story. Because almost every girl goes through a horse phase, right?

    I had a Lisa Frank clipboard that I could store stuff in, and I used it for storing my writing. Because why not? There was also a bucket of Lisa Frank beads and string and stuff that I split with one of my sisters. I got all the pink/orange/yellow, she got all the green/blue/purple.

    …should I be sheepish to admit I would like a Lisa Frank notebook now? (They still make those, right??)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You know what, I DID have a short-lived horse phase! I got this book on how to draw horses and I was obsessed with it for a couple of months.

      haha! Oh, LOVE TRIANGLES. You know…I don’t know that I ever wrote any of those? Now that I think about it, there was sort of a love triangle in the Civil War one I was writing, but it was between secondary characters.

      Hey, if *I* found a Lisa Frank notebook now, I can’t say I wouldn’t buy it either! I don’t know if they still make a lot of that stuff, but I think I DID see something Lisa Frank at Walmart a couple months ago? It might have been stickers or something.

      Liked by 1 person

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