The Early Writing Tag, pt. 1

by - August 15, 2017

First of all: This is a little late in coming, but Madison created this outstanding mock-up cover for my WIP, Watched. 

Isn't this AMAZING? I love it. So much. Thank you, Maddy!

Second of all: Watched is coming along great! I'm almost to 80,000 words (although I've decided to procrastinate and write this blog post instead. There's so much excellent stuff happening in it (conversions! Princess Bride references!) that I almost don't want it to end.

(That was a lie. I'm so ready for it to be over.)

Third of all: This may be the last post you see from me for a while, before I go on my hiatus, although I'd urge you to go over and check out while I'm away. My article for that is going up soon!

Fourth of all: actual post.

So Abbiee created this tag, and I'm so excited to do it today! I have some truly despicable works in my past, as well as some very amusing stories to go with them. So: let's get to it!
This has also gotten to be really long, so this will be part one of this tag, and I will proceed to do part two in September :)

1. Thank the blogger who tagged you (I'm stealing it from Abbiee. Thanks!)
2. Link to the creator of the tag.
3. Tell at least five of your early writings and something you learned from them.
4. Tag people (because this tag is awesome.)

Here we go!

Number 1: The Tunnel

Other than that infamous story about the teacher I hated that you'll hear about if you hang around on this blog for more than five minutes, this is the earliest full thing I wrote. I thought it was a novel. In reality it was about thirty pages long. 

So basically the story is that it's our protagonist, Patrica's, eighth (I think) birthday, and she has a sleepover with her best friend Marilla, sister Sophie, brother Jack (I hadn't really figured out the whole one-gender-sleepover thing yet... whoops) and said best friend's older sister Edwarda and younger sister An. Then, all of them being a bunch of troublemakers, they decide to go up and explore their attic when they're supposed to be sleeping (because that's what children in books always do, you know) and stumble across this secret tunnel that leads out of their house. They follow it. 

When they come out, they're in a magical land called Cloud World, or specifically the kingdom of Kishville. A talking dog who likes to invent things, a cat who can walk on the air, and a bunch of random horses are friendly to them--but all is not well, and they must fight against an evil army that's determined to take over Kishville for unspecified reasons--an army led by an evil man whose head is a clock. His name is Clockhead. 

Things I Learned:

-Don't rip your story off Narnia k. Just don't. 

-Don't name your characters after characters from Anne of Green Gables. Especially don't name innocent little girls after Marilla Cuthbert.

-Don't completely discount your old stuff tho. It will be helpful in future.

Turns out there was a character in this story who had about half a page of screen time. His name was King George. I liked him. I wanted to give him a backstory. And that led to....

Number Two: The Chronicles of Kishville

See? It's still happening, even now. The Narnia ripoff.
Moving on...

This was a massive, sprawling, ten book epic saga that had a different cast of characters for the first five books and then for some reason the same cast for books six-seven. These latter proceeded to have kids who were the heroes of books eight and nine, and then they had kids, who were in charge of book ten. Or maybe there were eleven. I don't remember now.

*finds notebook where kept all these notes for this series* *headdesks for an hour*

Y'all, okay. There were 21 books in this series, originally. Someone help.

Here are some gems of titles from the : Girls, Boys, and Orphans; Green-Red, Jolts of Wind; After Evil (not sure what I thought the plot of that one was going to be); The Fives and the Twos; An Odd Disturbance; and The Pentegreens. Save me. The nine-year-old me thought she was so clever. Argghhhh.

Only two of these books got written, but I'll tell you about those in a minute. For now, I'll just tell you now: once these got broken down into ten books, they were a lot easier to manage. Even I have no idea what I was planning to do with seven trilogies. :P

But once I got it narrowed down to ten books, it was a lot easier to do. So here are the titles of those:

1. Our Domineering Adversary (I was ridiculously proud of that one.)
2. The Peril of Loss
3. Heart of the Storm, which became With this Sword. You'll find more out about that on later.
4. A Reason to Live
5. Just More Time (??)
6. The Fate of the Planets (again, more about that one later) [with sequel An Odd Emotion, which will again be explained later]
7. Children of the Union
8. When Evil Ends
9. Journey of the Soul
10. A New Generation

This notebook I found is the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. I'm alternately laughing and weeping reading it. Part of me wishes you could see it, and the other part is beyond thankful that you can't.

You'll hear more about the synopses to these books before too long. For now, let's go to the

Things I Learned:

-Young Faith, you were very racist. Don't be racist in your books, peeps. It's not worth it, even if you never actually write them down.
-When it comes to characters, less is more. You do not actually need five hundred characters. Then you don't have to deal with the emotional agony of cutting 99% OF THEM. 
-Once again: do not scrap your old stuff. Let it evolve. Because one day it will be worth it.

Number three: The Fate of the Planets

Seeing as this is one of the only books in that above saga that ever actually got written, I figure it gets its own point.

Synopsis is about as follows:

Theodore Pentegreen's parents knew that they wouldn't be safe on their home planet of Cloud World. So when an immortal girl who's younger than the queen (she's like, eighteen or something) randomly shows up on their doorstep, they decide it's a good idea to let her take their five sons and one daughter to a different planet where she can be a teenager, raise six kids who aren't that much younger than her, and also be queen for a random planet that doesn't care one way or another. 

This book consists mostly of a Lord of the Rings-esque tramp through a fictional planet, complete with playground equipment turned into boats, a haunted swamp, a Fork Factory, and way too many random characters. Fifteen-year-old Theodore will meet his thirteen-year-old future wife, and most of his siblings will meet their respective future spouses. So... yeah.

Things I Learned:

-Avoid the clichés from other books. 
-Don't try to write romance when you're ten years old. Please. It just doesn't work out. 
-Read stuff with more variety. :P

Actual footage of me trying to write

Number four: With This Sword

This book is one I can actually find, because I somehow wrote it around two years ago? I don't really know how that is possible, but I guess it is. It's a little better than some of these other ones, but at the same time it's still a random string of events, most of which were borrowed from other books (largely Wingfeather Saga. Here's a synopsis:

The Wilson kids, Bernie, Esma, and Laila, are used to the monotony of life in Lugir with their grandfather and uncle. Ever since their parents died, they've had to endure occupation by the evil Manlore's army, who leave them alone for whatever reason. 
But then they find out a disturbing truth: the Wild Man named Jason who roams through the village, talking like he's out of his head and giving the enemy grief-- he's actually King Martin Pentegreen, the displaced ruler of the worlds, and he's their father. (Did NOT see that coming!)
Then a lot of different things happen, like going to the child slavery place again, discovering that their mother is also still alive, learning that their grandpa hates their dad because grandma died in a battle that was the dad's fault, getting kidnapped by a villain who was so bad and one-dimensional that even Faith cringes, and... other stuff. Like meeting this really flat guy named Rishatta. 

You may recognize some of the names in that synopsis. This book was a very early version of one of my current WIPs, The King's Daughter. Esma, Martin, the mother (queen Bernathel), the bad villain (General Burashna), and Rishatta are all prominent characters in the current Pentegreen saga. Hopefully, however, the story has gotten better. Less cliché.

Things I Learned: 

-Faith, it's time to be done with ripping off of other stories. Don't desecrate the works of other authors. Please?
-You can write decent stuff... it just needs drafts. Many, many drafts. This last has never changed. 
-Work on your love interests and villains. Don't be an average YA book.

Number five: A Reason to Live

This one is actually a really cool story, and had some great potential. I never finished it, just because it no longer fit in the universe of my series, but I'd like, someday, to go back to it and try to rework it into a chase-thriller-type story. 

It was a day like any other when the Pentegreens returned. Until it wasn't. 
Now Marna Lors and her friends are on the run with a boy who claims to be the rightful king. Pursued by the armies of darkness, they're haunted at every turn by Marna's darkest secrets: she was cursed as an infant, which led to her father giving her up and her subsequent adoption by her "true" family. The effects of the curse have yet to be fully revealed, but the biggest is that she can hear Manlore, the dictator of Sildalone, thinking without even having to be in the same room as him. 
Things take a drastic turn as the party is split up. Marna, who's beginning to develop feelings for King Porshenter, is forced to protect him- but at what cost? And why in the first place? 

I look at this original draft and wonder if I should have kept going with it.
But in the end, I'm glad I'm not.

Things I learned:

-Mostly, that just because a story is halfway decent, doesn't mean it's the right thing to write at the time. You'll get back to it eventually, perhaps, but don't sweat it.

I'm so sorry that this post was so long, everyone! But I hope you enjoyed it, and that it was a fun look at my past writings. I love writing about my writing. 

Oh, wait- now I have to tag people.

While I can think of quite a few people I'd like to see do this, I don't know who has and has not done it. So I'd point to a few people, but if you're interested, by all means, steal it. Go crazy. 

Also: I will be doing a Q&A post at some point in the future, so be thinking about what questions you'd like me to answer! 

Which of these made you cringe the hardest? Are you interested in reading any of these? (I hope the answer is no.) What's your favorite early work? Have you done this tag? If so, link to it. Chat with me in the comments!

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  1. This tag is always so much fun to read xD
    Loved reading it Faith <3 :)

  2. I've done the tag, but only had two works to talk about. I like the gifs you put in here. That was funny. None of your works made me cringe. You have to remember you got your start from those. :)

  3. It's so fascinating (read here as "horrifying") to go back and look at old work. I love (read here as "making myself feel better" ) seeing other's processes. To be honest, I think all those titles and the fact that you wrote two books is all pretty impressive for a nine year old. See? You were already on your way to being a genius writer!

    1. I know! I have to do it, too. Hey, thanks! I am honestly kind of amazed at how much I wrote when I was a kid.

  4. I love these posts, they're so funny! XD

    Hey, at least you can look back and realize how much you've grown in your writing!

    1. Lol, thanks! It's definitely nice to have the opportunity to do that, and I'm so glad I decided to save the notebooks for these!

  5. I have a couple horrifying first drafts, that I am still planning on writing. I stole a lot from J. R Tolkien in the beginning. These honestly weren't bad,I think your nine year old self was fairly clever. At least more clever than me.

    1. If I were to tell you the plot for the original Saga, though, you would cry. It was Lord of the Rings, okay? It was lord of the Rings with a few more female characters. It was SO BAD. Thanks!

  6. Lol, I used to write terrible stories when I was younger too XD The worst bit is that I honestly thought they were brilliant at the time! I SO ripped off books I'd read, too, it makes me cringe so bad XD I guess all writers start like that?
    Enjoyed this!


    1. I KNOW! I remember once telling my mom, "I think this story I'm writing is as good as the Magic Tree House!" That was my favorite series at the time. XD It was SO BAD.

  7. These are very interesting. It does sound like Narnia (The Magician's Nephew) when they were crawling through the tunnels like naughty children. Then they find the uncle who shows them the world (though, yours didn't have an uncle...)!!! This was funny. I mean, I think all writers start off like this. They rip off other author's work. But, hey, I guess that's how we begin our journey and learn. They didn't make em cringe. ;) I look at my first book I ever tried to write and I was cringing. Oh, dear, i was cringing. I meant well, I wanted to share God, but I did it in such a cheesy way. Eek. I had a violent imagination....xD
    God Bless and thanks for the post! <3

    1. Omgoodness, you're right! It DOES sound like TMN! O_O That was definitely not my intent. I cringe so bad reading about these, and... yeah.

      Violent imaginations are the best!

    2. Lol, the Magicians's Nephew is a really good story. *winks* Your summaries weren't bad, they just weren't expected. lol That cat interests me. It reminds me of a character I read about once. ;)
      They are, aren't they?!

    3. It is! I loved writing those summaries, it was SO MUCH FUN. The cat is kind of awesome.

    4. I'm glad it was fun for you! Are you going to do it again? It sounds awesome. lol
      Is it kind of like the Cheshire Cat?

    5. This is part one of the tag, so there will be another one, yes! It is, sort of, but what it does is called "space walking" (I think) and not disappearing. Lol.

    6. I can't wait! ;)
      Oh! A space walking cat. Interesting. lol I'm so intrigued to see what this story was like—apart from the summary, that is.

  8. Heehee, these old works of yours made me laugh, Faith! Can't wait for part 2!


    1. Great! That one will be even better! (read: worse)

  9. This is one of the only posts that has ever made me laugh out loud! :D

  10. OOOH. I love that you did this tag! It's SUCH a fun one. I love seeing everyone's early works. (One day I'm gonna do this tag... I keep meaning to!)

    Okay, first off, I have to say that the mock-cover for Watched is SO COOL. I love it! And I'm so glad Watched is going well for you! :D

    I'm actually impressed how complex and interwoven all your early stories were! Mine we're VERY straightforward. Haha. But I definitely get copying other people's stories! GUILTY. I think that's how we learned though. Before we found our own voices and discovered how to come up with our own plots, we basically rode the backs of our favorite authors. And that's okay! It's all a learning process.

    But anyways, this was soooo fun seeing all your first works and how you progressed through the years. I laughed out loud at your characters' names being rip-offs of Anne of Green Gables names. XDD Sounds like something I probably did myself!

    1. You must do it Christine! I want to see that SO BADLY!

      Thank you! Isn't it BEAUTIFUL? It's not actually behaving itself (it's a naughty little child, but then, aren't all WIPs?) So... yeah.

      Haha, they weren't all that complex... but they existed only in my brain, and being an INFJ the complexity there is terrifying, so that's probably part of it.

      And it's so great to have amazing authors to go off of. I mean, what would we do without them?

      I just now realized that that was true and it made me simultaneously facepalm, headdesk, laugh, cry, and scream. So... yeah. XD

  11. Whoa, that cover is cool!! Now I wanna know what the book is about! (Have you talked about it before? I'm new here...)

    And I love how you can sort of trace similarities from one book to the next. Old WIPs are the best (even if they're not really...). :)

    1. Yeah, actually! If you go to the archive label and click on "watched trilogy" you'll find all kinds of stuff about it. Thanks for checking me out! You can also look at my "writings" page at the top of the blog. There's a bad synopsis over there XD

      They were all building blocks on top of one another, which is awesome. They really are, aren't they? :P

  12. The part about writing romance at ten years old honestly cracked me up, because I did the exact same thing! xD I'm loving the cover for Watched, by the way!!!

    xoxo Abigail Lennah | ups & downs

    1. Honestly? It's kind of ridiculous. XD I don't know what makes us think we're skilled enough in the ways of the world to do that, but whatever.

      Isn't it BEAUTIFUL? I love it so much!

  13. Oh my gosh, these are awesome! XD You're actually really good at coming up with titles...My story titles were always really stupid-sounding. XD
    21 BOOKS IN THE SERIES?! Okay, I will admit, I would probably read a 21-book series if I really loved it, but...COMMITMENT MUCH. XD

    1. Thanks! Lol, they're kind of hilarious, though, so... not proud of that.


  14. LOL, this was so fun, and I think your titles are really good! Honestly, The Tunnel sounds quite interesting to me. Maybe a bit of a Narnia ripoff, but it could be developed.


    1. Haha! Thanks, Alexa! That one... would need so much work, and I'm too embarrassed by it to ever let it see the light of day again. But.... yeah, I guess It could work. XD

  15. AHH sorry it took me so long to see this - I'm glad you liked the cover! I didn't give you very good options sorry :/


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