Thursday, May 12, 2016

Writing Through My Years: A Walk Down Memory Lane

My writing has lately been, at best, sparse. I’ve had to set it aside in favor of slightly more important things. But I miss it. And a break is far different than giving up. Anyway, I’ve been thinking recently about the writing that I have done. The more I thought about it, the more I decided to share it with you. Thus, I present a walk down memory lane.

Writing Through My Years

  • Pre-2009 – First Writing Projects: I’ve always liked writing; when I was young, it was my best subject in school. I remember going way too in-depth on a school project where I was supposed to write a story with my vocabulary words. What could have been one or two pages densely incorporating my vocab turned into a full-on short story where I was lucky if one of my words appeared per page. Though I took more time on that than I was supposed to, I really enjoyed it. Eventually, I moved on to non-school projects. Some of the timeline gets a little mixed up in my head, but I believe the first book I attempted was my detective story. I can only wince now when I think about it or read anything from it. Emma Starr, Girl Detective. Gag. This story was a full-on Nancy Drew copycat, right down to the convertible my heroine drove and her two girl best friends. I only got a couple chapters into that one, but I was quite enthused, even designing some kind of cover art. I also wrote several short stories for school; I called them my Sylvia Stamherst stories, in which the narrator, Sylvia, would introduce whatever topic I was covering, whether that be Cowboys and Indians or a Twenty-First Century Family.
  • 2009 – First Major Project: The project that stands out the most in my mind from my early attempts at writing is my Civil War book. When I began Caught in the Middle of a Conflict, I also apparently had a thing for alliteration. This was the first project where I actually did some backstory work, creating character profiles. The story suffered from too many unimportant characters, an extreme dose of historical inaccuracy, and entirely too much exposition. I literally spent hours researching colors and furniture so that I could give painfully detailed descriptions of three different bedrooms. Though I got quite far into this one, most of what I wrote was set-up, and I didn’t finish it. This is the first project that I actually do want to go back to sometime and redo.
  • 2011 – First Completed Draft: During high school, I did the One Year Adventure Novel Program (OYAN). Over the course of that school year, I was guided step-by-step in creating my novel’s characters, themes, and plot; then I wrote the entire story. I got as far as the second draft, which was a huge accomplishment for me. A Title Taken told the story of a young French girl taken from her home by an evil count who eventually ends up fighting for justice. The cliches make my head hurt – I mean, just read that description! In addition, I had a love triangle (of course) and a heroine who managed to beat full knights in battle with swords. Oi… Part of OYAN is the novel contest for its students, so I was able to send my novel off to that, as well. I didn’t get anywhere close to winning, but I believe I placed as a semi-finalist, which was great.
  • 2012 – First Blog Post: In September of 2012, I began The Ink Loft. You can find the first post here. It’s funny to look back at those posts and see 1) what I began with, 2) how far I’ve come, and 3) how horridly tiny that print was. Though I’ve gone through some rough patches here and there, this blog has been a huge blessing to me, and each of you readers mean more than you probably know!
  • 2013 – First Contest Entry (non-OYAN): My first non-OYAN contest entry was the Gemini Flash Fiction contest, in which I submitted two stories, “Sensations of Music” and “Well Worth the Wait.” I’ve posted the former on my blog, and you can find it here. Neither of them placed, and, frankly, I was disappointed with the stories that did. This contest confronted me with the fact that secular fiction is depressing and definitely not my sphere.

    Courtesy of Pixabay

  • 2013 – First Blog Story: Ah, the “Pinata Birthday Party.” This was an… interesting… project, part of a writing challenge that I set for myself. Which, honestly, didn’t last long. It was a good experience, though.
  • 2014 – Second Completed Draft: Raiders’ Rise is my biggest project to date. It is also one of my favorites. Topping out at 30 chapters and 132,264 words, this project, which I’ve so far only finished the first draft on, took me about two years to complete. the idea first came to me in 2012, and I worked on it from then on, gradually picking up speed for the project. The editing is an ongoing top-of-the-to-do-list item for me. Though it needs a lot of work, I’m still really happy with what I was able to accomplish on it, and I’m excited to rework it and make it better.
  • 2014 – First Flash Fiction Challenge: In April-May of 2014, I hosted my very first Flash Fiction Challenge, which was an absolute blast. Though I was late, I came up with this story, and I was fairly pleased with it. The challenges have only grown from then, and they seem to be one of the most popular things on this blog.
  • 2014 – First Novella: Every year, Rooglewood Press holds a contest for fairytale retellings. In 2014, the theme was Beauty and the Beast. Over the course of about four months, I created a novella involving a young man with cyborg implants, a young woman from eighteenth-century France, and a frantic race to cure his disease. Through Time was an exhausting project for me, but it was a really good project for me, too. It didn’t end up getting accepted, but it was my first completed novella, topping out at just under 20K words (I had to cut so much!). I first used Scrivener for this project. And it was really my first major editing effort. I’m really excited to work on this story more in the future.
  • 2015 – First Serial Story: After finishing the draft of Through Time, I took about a week and a half break before edits (I was kind of crunched for time). In that break, I wrote a short story set in space and based on a prompt from a really neat book I have. The result was Truth in Space, a journal-style story that, while technically a 2014 project, wasn’t posted to The Ink Loft until April 2015. You can find all the installments here.

Originally, I was going to include my favorite blog post of all time, but then I couldn’t decide which one was my favorite, so my favorite posts (plural) will appear in a future post. Clearly, I haven’t written a lot since last year. Technically, I have written a few pieces; after all, we just had another Flash Fiction Challenge a couple months ago. But it’s been a rough patch for me. I want to get back into writing this summer – I need to edit Raiders’ Rise and expand Through Time. I’m starting to feel the spark of blogging again.

This post turned out to be a lot more emotional for me than I expected it to be. It started out as just a fun review of what I’ve done, but, as I looked up dates and got distracted going through stories, emails, and blog posts, I found myself getting a bit choked up. As that first blog post (which I linked to) says, this has been a journey. I can feel the weight of each step. And I’m so excited to see where God’s leading next.


  1. It's kind of fun to look back on old work. I do that now and again, sometimes I cringe, sometimes I see the growth, and sometimes I like the idea...and perhaps it can be renewed.
    (wasn't OYAN such a great resource? One of the best courses that my school offered!)

    1. So very true.

      You did OYAN? Very cool! Did you use the forum at all?

    2. Yes, OYAN was one of the last (and, as I said, best) courses I took in High School. But it was only long after that when I found out that there were contests and forums.
      Did you use the forums? Did you find them very helpful?

    3. Oh, that's too bad. I started OYAN earlier in my high school years. It took me a while, but eventually I did get involved on the forum. It really was one of the best experiences of my life. I definitely miss it sometimes.

  2. Aaw, this is such a cool post idea! I definitely want to do something like this in the future. :D

    Raiders' Rise! *happy sigh* I'm still so excited that I got to go over that book for you. It's been so long, though. o.o I look forward to you editing it so I can someday see it on my bookshelf -- hopefully. <3

    // katie grace
    a writer's faith

    1. I would love to see you do something like this, Katie!

      Aw, you have a gift for saying just the right thing. That really means a lot to me, dearie. And I'm with you: editing definitely needs to happen!


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