I've come a long way, baby

My Texas nieces were in town last week, and the older one (12) is crazy for Twilight--partly because that's what her peers are into, but also because her mom has only let her read the first one. That makes the other books forbidden fruit, but I happen to agree that the later books are a little too mature for her.

But I did lend her a copy of an older vampire YA book I have, The Silver Kiss by Klause, and my niece said it gave her lots of ideas for a story she's writing. She asked me about when I first started writing, and I laughed sheepishly.

My first book was written (and illustrated) for a school assignment in 5th grade and was called Camilla, the Unicorn at the End of the Rainbow. Keep in mind, I skipped a grade so I was only 8.

When I started my first novel at 11, I stuck with the unicorn theme and added in some flying horses and shapeshifters. They were battling some bad guys called the Undergods . . .need I continue?

I don't think I've featured any unicorns in my stories since about age 15, but I do continue to write a lot of fantasy. And historical fiction, which I think requires a heavy dose of fantasy since most historical conversations and events were not documented word for word.

Anyway, my early attempts at writing were overwritten, cliched, and funny only to me and a few friends. I'm a firm believer that one of the best ways to improve your writing is to write. There is a lot of bad writing that you have to get out of the way, to experiment with and then discard.

Hopefully, I'm at the point where I'm striking gold more often.


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