I don’t remember the first story I ever wrote. We had this assignment every year in school that required us to come up with a story and then illustrate it. We put them in fancy blank books, and worked very hard on them. From first grade to sixth grade, every year like clockwork we worked on these stories, and it was one of my favorite lessons. The stories have somewhat faded in my memory, and I remember giving the books as gifts each Christmas to some grandparent or another. I do, however, remember the first time I picked up a pen to write something that wasn’t an assignment.

It was my freshman year in high school. I was at a friend’s house and we were watching a concert on TV with her cousin. We wished so desperately that we could meet the band, that we started to spin these wild tales of what our lives would be like if we did. I remember I dreamt about it that night and when I got home the next day I grabbed a notebook and thought I’d just write a little something down. Drawing from the experience of meeting another band at the mall earlier that year, it gave me a good foundation of where to start the story. The idea was, that we managed to score meet and greet passes to meet the Backstreet Boys and it went downhill from there. I was writing fanfiction before I knew fanfiction was even a thing.

I filled three notebooks. The story itself was horrible. There was no clear plot, or anything like it. I just knew that I was writing what I wished would happen but I knew never would. It was great. I was married to AJ, we had two kids. It was dramatic as all get out. Here I was, a thirteen year old kid, writing about adult life and marriage, and real scenarios, but I had no clue how any of that actually worked. It was horrible. But I finished it, and then wrote an even more dramatic sequel. If I remember correctly, it all turns out fine, but there’s something about getting shot, cheating, gambling, scams, it was a lot. I knew nothing about any of it, and it clearly showed.

I’m not saying that someone that age cannot write good fanfiction or a good story in general, I’m just saying that what I wrote was horrendous. I was naive in the sense that I didn’t want certain things in the story, so there wasn’t any alcohol, that’s not what people drank, when upset, people drank milk. Nothing was realistic, and I remember when I moved on to a new idea, which didn’t turn out any better. It did do wonders for me though in other ways.

I learned so much about writing and editing back then. How to let the story get away from you, how to reel it back in. How to plot something and then get to that point. I learned how to shape a story, and I learned to love the sound of the pen as it scratched it’s way across the page. The Best Surprise Ever may have been a piece of garbage, but to thirteen year old me, it was the best thing that had ever happened to me. I have never looked back. So maybe in the end, the surprise wasn’t meet and greet passes to meet the Backstreet Boys, but the love that I discovered for writing. How’s that for a lesson?

Warm nostalgic regards,

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