My first book I wrote when I was 11 (circa 2004-2005). And at the time I didn’t know someone my age could be published, so instead I posted it online for feedback to make it better for when I did publish it when I was older. But that day never came.
Back in that time there weren’t very many online blogs I was aware of that helped educate on creative writing for young kids like myself. So I just depended on yahoo chat rooms and some ‘writers cafe’ website.
What Was My First Book About?
As a child, I was obsessed with Buffy, Blade, and Queen of the Damned. Vampires. (Yes, I was a highly unsupervised child with the ability to watch and do as I please). But I had an idea to create something a little different. So I came up with a book idea called Blood on the Moon. A paranormal romance between human and vampire. But my vampires came from other worlds. The one thing I was ridiculed about is the fact, that unlike Blade and any other mainstream vamp at that time, that my vampires sparkled in the sun like diamonds and the fact that they all repeated highschool for centuries.
Now the Kicker…
I had completed it in one book. Roughly 60k words, before I knew anything about word counts and story structure. So it wasn’t very good. But I figured I’d just complete it whenever I was older and more mature. But in the book, I had 2 main characters. (Now remember, all of this I had shared online with COMPLETE strangers). All had first names, but none had last names.
The characters were Edwardian, and Isabella. Isabella, or Izzy for short, was human who dreamt of becoming immortal. But her love interest, whom she met at school, refused to turn her. Told her she’d be a demon and he wouldn’t love her as much. But she eventually caught the negative interest of some vampire overlords who did anything necessary to keep their existence discreet.
Now, Edwardian had “siblings”. They were related in the sense that they all had been turned by the same vampire who did so only to save them in their time periods. He had a brother named Jasper (named after the stone my mother always wore around her neck), and another brother named Emmett, named after a boy I read about in one of those American Journals novels. And they all had “sisters” that were essentially their “wives” or “life partners”. They always made jokes and quips about “life” and such.
The wives were named Rose, and Alista. Alista was a short-haired tomboy who adored Izzy and Rose hated Izzy for wanting to not be human. Something Rose missed dearly. Despite that, they both, including the husband’s, fought to protect Izzy from the overlords.
But at the end, Izzy and Edwardian got hitched but she agreed to remain human. But she got pregnant and the pregnancy progressed so fast, she almost died giving birth. But at the last minute, Edwardian swallowed his pride and turned her because he couldn’t go on without her. He eventually threatened to eat the baby but Rose stopped him because Rose wanted to be a mother. And that’s where it ended.
A lot to unpack in a story, in such a short time. Hence why I wanted to wait till I was older to fix it and publish it. But I got made fun of for the ideas online and this was at the time that cyber bullying was at an all time high. So I wound up trashing the book I had all neatly together in a red spiral-bound notebook and completely let it go thinking my ideas are completely stupid.
That is, Until…
In, I believe, 2005 or 2006, I went into Barnes and Noble and came across an interesting looking book called Twilight. I read the back and wished I could buy it but I was a very poor child so I couldn’t. I didn’t read the series until I was about 16. And when I did… LET ME TELL YOU WHAT!!!! MY JAW dropped to the floor. I was both ashamed and excited. I hated that MY idea made it successfully when I was told that IT WAS STUPID. And I hated that it could’ve been me that had that wild success if I had only listened to myself rather than online bully’s and the mean Librarians I met when I used the library computers.
I felt entitled, enraged, and depressed.
It did inspire me after doing some soul searching.
At first, the series was a complete success, then failed miserably. Which made me glad that I didn’t publish my story. Because then I would have been a one hit wonder, or utter failure because that was the only idea I had at the time to write. And if I had waited till I was 18, like I had planned, then my story would have been just knocked around as “fanfic”.
But also, it made me completely reevaluate my trust in online strangers, and to acknowledge that every idea has been done and done again. Something I didn’t want to accept because honestly I felt somehow plagiarized, but I knew that couldn’t have been true because I didn’t know Stephanie personally, or online (that I was aware of).
But I came to the terms that nothing is unique anymore. That came with a blow. But if everything was unique, then nothing would have a fan base or marketing capacity. So I had to learn to get over that.
The Lessons Learned
- Don’t post your work online unless you’re publishing it with a copyright notice. And make it public on Kindle, Website, anything that can be tied directly to you to prove its YOUR IDEA, not a chat room or (now obsolete) writing cafe online chat room.
- Don’t accept that your work is 100% unique. It’s not.
- Don’t let people tell you your idea is stupid. KEEP WRITING IT.
- Once it’s written, keep working on it. The faster you get it done, the faster you’ll have it published.
- Keep your unfinished works close to your chest until the world, or yourself, is ready for it. And…
- Never throw away your story because you were told it wasn’t “good enough”. You just might regret it someday…