Sunday, November 28, 2010

Natural storyteller, I was not

One of the most asked questions of a writer is "When did you first know you wanted to be a one?" For the longest time, my answer made me feel a little embarrassed. I didn't know I wanted to write until a few years ago. I didn't write as a child...at least not anything anyone thought was good. I wrote the typical short story project in high school and it was easy to write, but somehow didn't measure up to my standards. I got good grades, but my friends' stories were so much stronger. I wrote many things for my English classes in college...but my stories were often dry and flat.

So when a story struck me two years ago, I seriously thought I'd be crazy to write it down. Now that I've written four books in those two years, and have managed to pump up the story lines while finding my voice, I realized I've been a storyteller all along.

No, I've never published in journals or anthologies or have stacks of childhood journals stocked away.


I played Barbies. And I played hardcore; all hours of the night, long after my friends were tired of the same ole story lines. Barbie play always started the same--at least in my world. Barbie had an awesome life with an awesome two-story house and an awesome pink convertible (who could ask for more???)...but something was missing. Her other-half (whom was never named Ken, fyi) would come around either as a gardener, new neighbor, cabin checker on the Barbie Cruise, etc, etc, corny etc.



They'd fall in love at first sight. They'd be swept away into dances, dates, dinners, first handholds, first kisses, marriage and children. I'd create their happily ever after, just to sit back and smile...then do it all over again the next night.

I was seriously addicted to Barbies until an embarrassing age. Ask my friends. Okay don't.


Looking back at those stories I created, I don't think it's such a stretch that I've become a writer. I simply didn't have the tools at the time (or the confidence) to put the words to paper.

And now as I sit back and watch my daughter LOVE Barbies, I can't help but smile.


Not all story tellers start the same. Not everyone's journey leads them from logical point A to logical point B. Sometimes the greatest stories are developed between two friends dressing up Barbie for the ball well past midnight.

Tuns out I was a story teller all along...just not the "typical". What about you? When did you first know you wanted to be a writer? Was it something you always knew? Or was it something you recently discovered?

5 comments:

Elizabeth McKenzie said...

Let's see. I was in grade school. Our assignment was to write a story. I wrote mine in first person pov. The teacher was very impressed. She told me I should be an author. I remember going through a lot of years telling people that's what I wanted to be when I grew up. Of course they all nodded and smiled and said, "That's nice."

Fifty years later, I wrote my first book. It's the one I'm working on, I should say, rewriting, now. I've since written another. Waiting for a beta edit, and that one will soon be published. I've got three more in the works, but I'm spending most of my time on my very first novel. You are welcome to visit my blog to find out the rest of the story.

So, thanks for asking. I love your blog.

Angi Morgan said...

Hi. Enjoyed your post. Saw it on Twitter.

I'm actually a natural story-teller who finds the writing to be the hard part. LOL but I've always wanted to be a writer, and I've almost always written in some form since I could hold a crayon.

Best of luck,
~~Angi

Jamie Gibbs (Mithril Wisdom) said...

That's a damn good story in itself :)

I've always enjoyed writing, but they were always stories that I made for personal entertainment. I started wanting to become a writer when I noticed the success of Paolini's Eragon at the age of 15. I was about 12 at the time and I thought "Hell, if he can do it, why not give it a shot?!" That little jab of envy spurred me on :P

KarenG said...

I played Monopoly like you played Barbies. So I guess that's why I'm attracted to real life stories of how people struggle through economic hardships. Both my books have that as themes. Crazy huh?

Kristin Miller said...

Elizabeth--That's awesome! And congrats on the upcoming publication. I'll have to check out your blog for sure! :)

Angi--Thank you so much for following the digital bread crumb trail to my blog and for taking the time to comment! Always great to meet another writer...natural storyteller or not. ;)

Jamie--I'll have to check out Paolini's Eragon...and that same envy that made you write to begin with with spurn book after book, after published book. I'm sure of it. :)

Karen--That is pretty crazy! I was just talking with someone yesterday who said there should be a "Economic Hardship Monopoly".
Instead of going to jail you'd go to the bank to fill out Foreclosure paperwork. Instead of a Get Out of Jail Free pass you'd get to skip paying property taxes one round. Oh, the jokes could go on and on and they aren't funny AT ALL...but it is comical that your game play has transfered over to your writing. :)