A Peek at the Writings of Young Me


Have you ever looked back at your very first piece of writing and thought ‘Wow, this is terrible’? Today, I dug out the very first draft of my very first novel, written over six and a half years ago, and had a bit of a read. It was truly a hilarious and humbling experience. I alternated between laughing at the ridiculousness of it, and grimacing at how horrible it is. In today’s post I thought, for a bit of fun, I would share four of my favourite excerpts from this book that doesn’t even have a name so that you too can have a laugh at its awfulness.

1) After breakfast the next morning I started to explore the house. It was an enormous house with windows that came out in unexpected places and strangely shaped rooms. The rooms were crammed with all kinds of paraphernalia. There were old weapons of all kinds hanging on the walls. One room was stuffed with books of every kind. I even found an old martial arts uniform.

“Who’s were all these things,” I asked Grandma.
“They were mine. I used to teach at the Ninja Academy.”
“Were you a Ninja then?”
“A Kunoichi to be exact.”
“What is a Kun…Kunoychee?”
“Kunoichi are female ninjas. They are trained differently to male ninjas. Kunoichi focus more on disguise.”

 Bear in mind that this is a fantasy novel, not a novel about ninjas. I think at this point I got intensely interested in ninjas and thought it would be a great idea to throw them into my book somewhere. I even did a heap of research on ninjas so I could pretend to be like a real writer. I’m sure I thought I was being very original. As it turned out, randomly adding ninjas is not the best idea.

2) This from one page later: I got up one morning and popped into her room to say good morning as I usually did. She normally turned as I came in but this morning she didn’t move. I had a bad feeling. I came closer.
“Grandma. Grandma?”
She wasn’t breathing. All of a sudden I realised she was dead.

According to young me, grandmothers have a tendency to die at the drop of a hat. This book may or may not have a few pacing issues in the plot.

3) “What kind of spiders made those webs?” I asked idly. To my surprise none of my friends answered. I turned to find their places empty. “Granite!” I called. “Flint! Come out you guys. This isn’t funny.” No one but the echoes answered me. The hair on the back of my neck prickled and I turned a full circle, drawing my sword as I did so.

My eyes were drawn back to the huge webs on the ceiling. Again the question popped up unbidden. What kind of spiders made those? My eyes widened with shock as I realised the answer to my question. Giant spiders made those webs. And what do giant spiders like to eat? Anything they can catch. Which meant that my friends were most likely to be on tonight’s menu.

A group of travelling dwarves being captured by giant spiders and rescued by their companion. Where have I heard that one before? Oh wait, it might be inspired by a little read book called ‘The Hobbit’. Maybe you’ve heard of it? Apparently that giant spider idea was a favourite of mine, because it stuck around in every single draft of this book.

And there we have it. Four terrible excerpts from a truly horrible novel. And that’s only from the first part of the book. Still, reading through this first draft does give me hope for my writing skills. I’m certainly much better than I was back then! And it is great for a bit of a laugh. Hopefully you had as much fun reading these excerpts as I did.

Which was your favourite excerpt? Do you still have a copy of your first piece of writing? Why not share an excerpt in the comments? I’d love to see it.

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  1. I dread to think what my writing would seem like to you, if you think that's terrible. I only actually have things dating from...about your age, but...it's worse than the stuff you wrote six years ago. Quite a bit worse, actually.

    The thing is, even if those excerpts are written simply, they draw me into the story. I'm not bored and I'm not disconnected. I'm actually really interested. Though I guess your writing has always had that engaging quality for me, it's just...a good read, basically.

    1. It's nice of you to say that. Honestly, these were some of the better bits, which I picked because I could say something interesting about them. I guess it's part of my writing style to say things simply. There's worse writing in there technique-wise, but I picked these because of the terrible ideas behind them.

      I've seen some of your writing, remember? And I think it was way better than this. I know that we generally only choose to share the good stuff, but honestly, the rough stuff doesn't matter, as long as it turns out well in the end.

    2. Saying things simply is one of the techniques people use when writing books for younger people. Which includes some of the most interesting stories I've read, so I tend to like it. Granted the excerpts aren't perfect, but the first thing you have to do is capture your reader, and you've done that, so they can't be called terrible.

      You've seen my recent writing, but the stuff I had written back then was pretty poor. It was along the lines of what I think a lot of newbies do, where you get caught up in what the characters are doing, but if someone reads it they have no clue because you've barely described what's going on.

      I really wish I had more of it but the thing I spent a lot of time on, I ended up ripping up because....suuuper long story. Anyway, I probably couldn't read that handwriting anyway :p

    3. There is an art to saying things simply I think, as well as saying them elaborately. I don't have the sort of mind that likes to complicate what I'm saying. If I have to sit there and essentially compose poetry while I'm writing, then I know I'm doing it wrong, though that's something that won't work for everyone I know. Sometimes I wonder if my writing is too simple, but it's the way I've always written, so at least I know some people, like you, like it.

      There's always such a great temptation to delete or tear up bad writing, isn't there? And handwriting gets so messy when one is writing quickly. It's a pity you don't have that piece of your writing history, but then, you might not like to look at anyway, in which case not having it might me more of a blessing!

    4. You're still in the early days of writing, yet. Or rather, life. I find that I've changed, even as I've stayed the same, and as I lived more and been exposed to more I've thought in different ways. That infects my writing, and teaches me, but also quite often when I write it's very reliant on the genre. I might write a short horror piece that's tense, thrilling and dripping atmosphere, while my fantasy tends to be largely characterised, lively, safe and fun.

      Life does all manner of things to you, even when you're not looking for it.

      With the tearing up...well it's not really a long story. I had just leant it to a friend to read and he read parts of it out to a bunch of other friends at lunch and tried to embarrass and ridicule me...so I just took it off him, tore it up, and threw it in the bin.

      Not so great for keeping the twenty or so pages that I'd been writing for a couple years, nor did I truly learn the lesson about those kinds of "friends", but...I still rather enjoy the look on their faces. In many ways, that instant was my revenge.

  2. LOL this post is HILARIOUS. What a good idea. I should dig up some old writinf and do something similar. Honestly, considering you were young writing that first draft is not that bad! But your commentary is fabulous xD and the ninjas cracked me up. Lol!! Stefanie @ CalledHis.com

    1. I think the commentary on anything is the best part. Why read bad writing when you can read bad writing that has funny things said about it. You totally should share some. I'd love to see some of your old writing.

      I've heard a lot of advice in the NaNoWriMo community that says when you don't know what else to do, add ninjas. I think I may have taken that literally!


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