These 10 days are all throw-back blogs because my brain is tired from the holidays.
This one is a story I tell a lot of kids when I visit schools. It’s about how writing isn’t always awesome. But that doesn’t matter.
It’s also about the first thing I ever wrote, which was Star Trek Fan Fiction. Yeah, huh. I know, right?
The first thing I ever wrote was back in fourth grade and it was fan fiction for my much older brother’s birthday (14 years older, actually) . I thought he liked Star Trek because he once got stuck baby sitting me for a whole weekend and it rained the entire time and so he just sort of plopped me down and made me watch Star Trek, the original series, because he didn’t want to actually have to do stuff with me. I don’t blame him. I was totally annoying. I slurred my s’s and had glasses and was kind of pudgy and totally had this self-righteous hero complex and had never watched a single episode of Star Trek before this. I was more of a Doctor Who human.
Anyway, his birthday was coming up and I needed to get him something awesome so he would love me, but I was in fourth grade and had NO INCOME AT ALL, so I thought in this brilliant epiphany moment, “I shall write him a Star Trek story starring a pudgy girl who has glasses and slurs her s’s and has this self-righteous hero complex.”
So, for the next 10 days or so, I brought all these notebooks and my magic markers out to the woods and instead of looking for Big Foot (my usual pastime), I wrote this story for my brother, in long hand. It ended up being about 423 pages of this girl whose name was Cassie Bartlett (my name was Carrie Barnard) who saves the entire universe, but not before Captain Kirk, Dr. McCoy, Sulu, and Spock fall in love with her. Yeah. Even Mr. Spock who is supposed to not have uncontrolled emotions (even though he TOTALLY has uncontrolled emotions for Kirk) falls in love with Cassie Bartlett/Carrie Barnard.
I thought this was pure genius.
I even had her die in the end saving the entire Star Trek universe. Everyone cries. Even Mr. Spock.
But when I gave my notebooks to my super jock, Varsity-letter-in-three-sports brother, he sort of frowned and tried to sound nice and said, “What is this, Squirt?”
He called me Squirt. This was sort of evil.
And I said, “It’s a Star Trek story! I wrote it for you for your birthday! It’s 423 pages and it stars this girl, Cassie Bartlett and she has to — ”
And he said, “I don’t like Star Trek.”
Then everyone had birthday cake and ice cream. Except me. I had a belly ache and went in my room and cried.
Back then, I didn’t know that not everybody is going to like your story. And I didn’t know that sometimes writing your story is way more fun than publishing it. And I didn’t know fanfiction existed or what it was or that I just wrote it. (According to the online Merriam Webster dictionary, fan fiction is: “stories involving popular fictional characters that are written by fans and often posted on the Internet —called also fan fic.” Now I know! ).
And I didn’t know that even if your brother watches Star Trek with you all weekend, he may not like the actual show, he just might not want to hunt for Big Foot with you in the backyard for 15-hour stretches at a time in the rain because he is cooler than that.
His reaction didn’t stop me from writing forever though.
Okay, I totally cried a lot, but next year in fifth grade I kept winning the Author of the Month contests that we had in Language Arts class. And even later in fourth grade I wrote a lot of really bad poems like: Cassie’s not feeling well today/ Some boy stole her heart away. (For the record, that boy was Jamie Schneiderheinze). And even now, when I get rejected or someone posts a review on Amazon that says Nick in the NEED series is ‘totally not hot,’ (SIDE NOTE: HE TOTALLY IS HOT! DUH), I keep writing.
I don’t know how to stop really. I don’t know how to not write. I try and I get cranky and feel lost. I try and I act like a vegan at Whole Foods who has only eaten kale all week. You do not want to be near me.
I don’t stop because I am addicted to story, addicted to getting better as a writer, and addicted to making worlds where I can sort of control things, which is so different than my real life that it is kind of silly.
But I think it really comes down to these two things:
I write because I think it’s really fun
I write because it’s how I understand the world a teeny bit more.
And believe me, I have a really hard time understanding the world. So, if you want to write? Do it. If your teacher or your brother or your spouse or your boss hates it? Whatever. Seriously. Whatever. It’s just not for them, that story.
Do you know who that story is for?
It’s for you.
So, go write it.
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BLOG BREAK – SORT OF
It’s a big holiday week here and so Carrie is going to be taking a bit of a blog break for the next two weeks. There will be a new podcast next Tuesday, but other than that? It’s a little time for Carrie’s brain to recharge and rest. So, she’ll be posting random blogs from her past. Thank you for understanding!
WRITING AND OTHER NEWS
I do art stuff. You can find it and buy a print here.
You can order my middle grade fantasy novel Time Stoppers Escape From the Badlands here or anywhere.
People call it a cross between Harry Potter and Percy Jackson but it’s set in Maine. It’s full of adventure, quirkiness and heart.
The Spy Who Played Baseball is a picture book biography about Moe Berg. And… there’s a movie out now about Moe Berg, a major league baseball player who became a spy. How cool is that?
It’s awesome and quirky and fun.
FLYING AND ENHANCED
Men in Black meet Buffy the Vampire Slayer? You know it. You can buy them hereor anywhere.
OUR PODCAST – DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE.
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I offer solo writing coach services. For more about my individual coaching, click here.
I am super psyched to be teaching the six-month long Write. Submit. Support. class at the Writing Barn!
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Our Write. Submit. Support. (WSS) six-month ONLINE course offers structure and support not only to your writing lives and the manuscripts at hand, but also to the roller coaster ride of submissions: whether that be submitting to agents or, if agented, weathering the submissions to editors.
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