Due to the magic of computers, I still have a few 20-year-old story files, which I glanced over for the purpose of this question. I should probably dig into my physical notebooks again some time, since that’s where I kept all the world information and some of the story origins and rewrites I was working on during high school. There’s a bit of concept art in those that I should probably scan.
Question 76 – When you look at your oldest writing, what surprises or embarrasses you?
My oldest surviving writing is from when I was about twelve, and was edited when I was about fifteen, so I’m surprised to see that even then I had an attachment to certain concepts and character-types, even if almost none of the specifics of those characters have survived. I wouldn’t really say I’m embarrassed, because my prose wasn’t too bad then, for what I was writing — Dungeons & Dragons-style adventures. I’m much more embarrassed of the literary short stories I slapped together during college, since I wasn’t allowed to write genre fiction in my short-story classes; the disinterest really shows.
Probably what amuses me most about this early, early writing, is that Lark and Rian are featured in it — as a ranger (or a rogue? not sure) and a standard D&D elf. That ‘Rian’ character eventually became Ilshenrir, but he took more than a decade and many iterations to get there, and the name now belongs to a goblin.
Aaaand looking at the files now, it seems the earliest stuff was actually written when I was ten and rewritten at thirteen, not twelve and fifteen. Wow. There’s only about five pages of each — not sure if I lost material somewhere or if that was all I ever typed out of it.
More: Authors Answer 76 – Authors Reflecting on Their Earliest Writing
I’m curious. Was there a reason given for why you weren’t allowed to write genre stuff? I mean, back when I took art classes in college, my fantasy & fan art got thoroughly sneered at, it’s true. But it wasn’t expressly *forbidden*.
I don’t think there was a specific reason given beside ‘we don’t want to see that’. Literary fiction only. But it certainly shot my enthusiasm to hell, even though I cut as close as I could to fantasy via magical realism.