Monday, February 13, 2012

Origins Blogfest

Thanks to the host D.L. Hammons and co-sponsors Alex J. Cavanaugh, Katie Mills and Matthew MacNish. For this Blogfest we are asked to describe where our writing dreams began. For me it's been much like planting a fruit tree from seed.

The seed:
I wasn't a fast reader so I avoided books until I found my mum's collection of Enid Blyton's Famous Five series. I read them in my room where no one could make fun of how slow I read. I read every single one of them. After that I didn't read at all. Then on the last days of primary school my teacher read The Hobbit to the class. After that I read Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. Wow. Tolkien's world was awe-inspiring. But again I stopped reading. Instead I joined the Tolkien Society and did artwork for them.

The sapling:
I met a friend in high school who introduced me to the true joy of books. She devoured books. Anything and everything.  She pointed me to the best, she taught me how to find them, she taught me the love of the written word. I read the works of C.S. Lewis, Susan Cooper, Anne McCaffrey, David Eddings, Raymond E. Feist, anything fantasy. I decided I wanted to become a writer and over the course of the next 9 years I wrote a gargantuan epic.

The tree and its fruit:
I wrote a second epic while I tried to get the first one published. Back then I had no idea about the publishing world. All too quickly I gave up. I kept reading, but I didn't write for ten years. Biggest mistake of my life. However it's that very mistake that keeps me writing now. My advice to anyone who wants to write is keep writing and don't give up.

Where did your writing dreams begin?

I've also been tagged by Kaylie Austen to answer 11 questions. I've always been a bit of a rebel so I've picked my favourite questions from the list and answered them:

What’s your favourite movie, and why? The Princess Bride. It has everything--love, adventure, great dialogue, memorable scenes, fantastic conflicts, humour, and a drool-worthy leading man.
Would you rather live in a fantasy/paranormal world or a sci-fi one? Fantasy was my first pick until I thought about it. I'd love to be able to wield magic, but I'm not so sure I'd like the lack of modern conveniences. Also, the thought of meeting a real dragon is unsettling. Could I pick the best from both worlds?
If you were tossed into a fairytale, would you be a helpless princess (prince), a kick-butt heroine (hero), or the bad guy? None of the above. I'd be the enthusiastic side kick.


  1. I have a feeling Tolkien and C.S. Lewis inspired a few writers out there.

    And I quit writing for about ten years also while life sort of took over. Never really leaves you, though, if it's what you have to do.

    Loved reading about your writing origins.

  2. Great story on how you started. How big was that first epic? Nine years? Wow!

  3. Thanks for sharing your writing origins. What a cool idea!
    I started writing late in life - I'm sure it was meant to be that way.
    I used to read the Famous Five, and I was a slow reader too. :)

  4. You're the second person to say the Narnia books pushed you to write. Wish I'd discovered them sooner.
    And you did artwork for the Tolkien Society? That is really awesome!
    Thanks for participating in the blogfest.

  5. I'd really like to see the artwork you did for Tolkien Society. Your answer to the fantasy/sci-fi choice makes me re-think my answer.

  6. Nice analogy. This is the first of these I've read but I'm sure it's not the last.

  7. THE PRINCESS BRIDE is truly gorgeous! One of my favourite movies for sure. And I totally agree with that advice about keeping on writing.

  8. Someone or something possessed me almost 2 years ago, whispered a wild & sad story in my ear. So I did what she told me, I wrote it down.

  9. I love The Princess Bride. I watch it over and over again. It's interesting that writers often start their writing lives off with lots of reading.

  10. Narnians and Middle Earth people rule! I love fantasy and it was the Narnia books that got me into writing. And a third grade teacher who listened. :)

  11. Thanks for sharing your story! I love your perseverance - you're an inspiration to keep going.

  12. I love reading writers' origin stories. This is going to be a great blogfest.

    And all hail The Princess Bride!! Talk about inspiration...

  13. I was a slow reader too, and largely gave up fiction after I left school (bad news for someone who's always aspired to write it), though I have always read a lot of non-fiction on all sorts of subjects. I only got back into fiction when I bought a Kindle, which seems to make reading quicker for me. I've read more novels in the last year than I have in the previous couple of decades!

  14. I enjoyed reading how your writing started... it shapes us into who we are today... Ohh I also love Princess Bride:)

  15. Luanne, Yep, I get that same feeling ;)

    Miranda, how big was my first epic? 219k plus book two which was 139k. (I had no clue back then) I didn't write book 3, but the story is still rattling around in my head.

    Alex, Oh I read all Lewis' works and was more impressed by his Christian non-fiction than Narnia, although I thoroughly enjoyed Narnia.

    Shockgrubz, my Tolkien art was mainly black and white pen and ink work before I discovered the joys of computer generated art.

    Clarissa, I think when we read great stories the authors of those stories make it look easy and we fool ourselves into thinking we can do that! By the time we realise it isn't so easy, we've caught the writing bug ;)

    M.J. Fifield, it's so cool to find so many fans of The Princess Bride.

    Wendy, yes!! I love the kindle too!! And I think I read faster with it as well!

  16. Oh do share your Tolkien Society artwork!!!! Oh that sounds so lovely! Yay!!!

    I love that you want to be the enthusiastic side-kick!! I'd love to be the wise-cracking one cos I don't do wise-cracking so easily and really envy those able to in films!

    Glad you are growing into a great big mighty and determined writerly oak! Take care

  17. Oh man, now I feel bad because I haven't really read anything in a long time. :(

  18. You gotta love those garguatan epic novels that beginners write! Probably a lot of good stuff in there!

  19. This is hilarious. I'm doing the blogfest, and I too mention The Famous Five series!!!!

  20. Love the various stages of your genesis as a writer. I've always been an avid reader - reading so many books that I have an actual library room (and I don't have the sort of home one would expect to find a library in...ha!) I have young boys that 'play library'...(I love it ;) I thought about writing a novel for many, many years, but never dared dream that big until a few years ago.

    I absolutely loved your post about myth-busting below also. It's nice to meet you, Lyn! Do you also participate in the Insecure Writer's Group that Alex hosts?

  21. in my country kids have to read, because they have an obligation of reading about 10 classics every school year, which means hundreds of classics before they finish education :) I also went to a Grammar High School which means my number was close to half a thousand :) and then the same number at University.

  22. Love your story! It's always interesting to see where people got started :) Your side-kick answer made me laugh, too--they always do seem to have the most fun!

  23. Great post. I loved Narnia too - it propelled me into the fantasy genre. You turned me onto this blogfest, which I have just linked up to (I wrote about this a few days ago and it fit perfectly with this ) P.S: You have an award waiting you :)

  24. Tolkien is my favorite author and I fell in love with The Lord of the Rings as well.
    i have trouble finding time to read because I always seem to be writing, but it's one of the best pass times:)

  25. This looks like a neat blogfest, perhaps I'll join.

    I love how you broke this down into the growth of a tree - very clever:)

  26. Thanks for sharing, Lynda. I also stopped writing, for probably closer to 30 years (why? why?). I'm glad I started it up again.

  27. Great story! I took a long break as well, completely forgot about my writing for a while, but I think it all happens for a reason, as silly as that may sound.

    I would definitely choose to live in a fantasy world, no one said it couldn't be an urban fantasy with modern conveniences :).

  28. I love the fact that you didn't read for years until you read The Lord of the Rings. Talk about starting with an easy one ;-)

  29. I wonder how many writers list Tolkien as one of their biggest influences? I bet it's more than half. I certainly do!

  30. The love of reading did not come easy for you? Guess I always took it for granted that all writers were born with the alphabet plotting out new books to read :)

  31. Nice to meet you via the blogfest--wow, an EPIC...don't think I have the patience to write one of those!

  32. what a friend! that is a wonderful introduction to writing!

  33. That's the second mentioning of THE FAMOUS FIVE series I've read today. It must be some series!

    My reading also came and went in spurts (and still does).

    Thank you for sharing your ORIGIN with us today! :)

  34. Absolutely never give up. I do wish I'd started earlier trying to get published, but I'm working on it now.

    I've always been an avid reader, even though I've always been slow.

  35. wow! I've never heard of those Famous Five books--and now I've heard of them twice! How did I miss this??? :D

    In other news--gargantuan epics. *snort* Oh, well. I admire how you guys can write such great, long books. And here's to getting back in the saddle~ :o) <3

  36. *The tree and its fruit* ~ Lovely, Lynda!

    I've beat up on myself plenty over the years for always placing my writing on the back burner! It's only when I realize just what I would have missed out on, in the path I chose, that I recognize there may have been a greater purpose to my direction then.

    I'm trying to live in the Here and Now. It's really the best we can do, I suppose. *grin*

    So glad you came back around! I so enjoy your blog posts in my inbox!

  37. Hi Lynda!
    I'm dropping by from the origins blogfest. I love Enid Blyton as well, and I love how the series got you into reading, then writing.


  38. Narnia seems to be a popular source of inspiration. Thanks for sharing your origin story with us.

  39. RAH for the Princess Bride! Love that movie (haven't read the book). I'm glad you didn't give up for good! I too stopped writing for 10 years, and I'm glad I came back to it...couldn't stay away. :o)

  40. I LOVE the Princess Bride! Yea for anyone else who does. And I mirror you statement. Just keep writing!

  41. Wish blogger would hurry up and give me a reply button ;)

    Thank you so much for all your wonderful comments. They brought a smile to my face this gloomy morning.

    Old Kitty, hug! You are such a darling. My art is buried somewhere in a drawer or cupboard. If I can find it, I'll post it.

    DWei, aw, you are missing out!

    Stina, the Famous Five rock!

    Nadja, personal libraries are the best. I ran out of room in my place so it was a relief when I was given a kindle ;) Wonderful to meet you too. And yes, I do take part in Alex's Insecure Writers' Group.

    Dezzy, oh my gosh that's a lot of classics! I think in Oz we read about 2 a year for school plus a Shakespeare play per year.

    Shah, thanks so much for the award!

    Marta, reading is so important for writing. You should make the time.

    JeffO, I know, right? WHY?????? ;)

    Isis, I have no idea why I didn't think of making it an urban fantasy! That would work!

    Sarah, I read LotR three times in Highschool. It's the only book I've ever read more than twice.

    Heather, I didn't know how to finish it so I kept writing, lol.

    Leigh, you may have missed The Famous Five because it's British. I suspect it's dated a fair bit now. I think it was written in the 50s. Not 100% sure.

    Scarlett, living in the here and now is definitely the best we can do.

    Carol, in the case of The Princess Bride, the movie is better than the book.

  42. A sidekick would be fun.

    I had a long break between writing, too. Life creeps in. I figure, I was meant to learn some things. I certainly draw on all that experience when writing.

  43. Fun to get a little back story on you, Lynda :D I wish I had discovered writing earlier, but am trying to make up for lost time. ;) I love that you're keeping mistakes in mind to keep you going... I really like that. I'm going to apply that to myself. :D

  44. 10 years is a long time to go without writing! But you will probably have an endless supply of ideas because of it!

  45. Like you, I stopped writing for a time. That's perhaps why I wrote so many books in a short space of time.

    The good thing is that writing is now such a part of you that you likely won't stop again.

  46. I stopped writing for 20 years. I tried to start a couple of times but now I have the motivation to give it a try. I love Princess Bride too! Truly a timeless classic. I can't seem to find movies like that anymore.

  47. Great post. I'm pretty sure my first choice for careers when I was younger was to be a Bond girl - or a witch. Tried my hand at a few 'romance' novels (read mild porn) as a teenager, but even I ended up hating the characters and wanting to have boulders fall on their heads.

    Good to see not every writer picked up a pen at age three and said, 'this is what I'll be!'

  48. I love your advice: keep writing and don't give up.

    And I love The Princess Bride.

  49. Great origins story and wonderful advice!

  50. Oddly enough I had a small stroke that turned me slightly bipolar and took away some of my left brain functions.
    It never occurred to me to write before that.
    I doubt I ever even passed an English class (and probably wouldn't today)
    I just needed something to do but I am beginning to enjoy it.

  51. The Princess Bride is one of my favorite movies.

    I've heard many praises for Enid Blyton, but haven't read her yet.

    Great origins post. My mistakes also keep me writing.

  52. The Hobbit is amazing. I haven't read the others yet. I agree the best advice is to keep at it. Great post as always.

  53. Love the sweet honesty of this post. I am still a slow reader and I gave up personal writing for many years while I wrote boring ad copy. I agree you have to keep writing!

  54. I was a slow reader too. I'm glad that you kept up your reading and writing. Great joruney story.

  55. Greta story:) I think I first started to fall in love with language when I experiments with adjectives when I first learned to read. Just the idea of how the word fence changed in my mind to a red or white fence struck me as something special.

  56. Your growth of the tree is perfect. I like how you did that. You were inspired by some of the great storytellers and story worlds. I also like your advice for writers.

  57. Mary, we definitely draw on all our experiences.

    Morgan, ah yes, and hopefully I'll never make those mistakes again.

    Ashley, I so wish it worked that way.

    JL Campbell, I like that theory!

    Honey, there are no movies like that anymore. It's one of a kind.

    Charmaine, lol, Bond girl is a fabulous choice! ;) When I was young I wanted to be a clown, then an actress.

    Curmudgeon, wow, now there's a different start to writing. Good to hear you are enjoying it.

    Desert Rocks, it's heartening how many people have admitted they are slow readers. For a long time I thought I was strange.

    Mark, words are truly magic.

  58. Thanks for stopping by my "Musings" blog, Lynda. I'd love a little of your warm weather right now, though our Ontario, Canada winter has been uncommonly mild.

    I'm with you on The Princess Bride, though it's not my favourite. One of them, however. :-)

    And I'd definitely want to be the kick-butt heroine, because I'm so non-confrontational in real life!

  59. Lol. There's a lot to be said for the side-kicks. I think they have the best job!

    : ) Beth

  60. I hadn't seen the Princess Bride until a few months ago - it's wonderful!

    I love that you persevered to find not only the joy of books, but the joy of writing them too! Great story :)

  61. Mine was born of a need for friends and a love of books. Judy Blume didn't hurt either.

    I enjoyed your story, so inspiring to be reading all of these origins posts.

  62. I love reading the journeys of other writers. And as a fellow slow and (young) reluctant reader, I especially loved reading your story. Like you, I came to reading and writing slowly, but once I felt the love, there was no turning back. : )

  63. Somebody just tagged me to answer eleven questions too. It's my son's birthday so I'll get to that later. I think I would be a sidekick too.

  64. Hi Lyn..I loved reading all about your writing journey. Thanks for sharing this sweet post.

    Hmmm..can't imagine you as a slow reader at all.

  65. I loved Raymond Feist - still have his books in fact and occasionally re-read them :)

  66. Another artist/writer! I am in awe of your talents. I have many friends who are artists, and I can even write my own name legibly - I'm reduced to printing.

    Anyway, I love your work and hope that you don't mind me tagging along for awhile - electronically, that is?

  67. It was fun learning about your writing origins. Great post.

  68. It's great to use past hiccups as motivation for the future. I stopped writing while my kids were little and life was crazy, but I feel re-energized now.

    I loved the Princess Bride too! Great story.

  69. Kea, I heard this morning that our summer has been the coldest one ever recorded. Not a lot of warm weather here (although it would be way warmer than Ontaria hehe).

    Jemi, Oh! So glad you recently saw the Princess Bride and loved it!

    Cynthia, it's nice to know there are others like us.

    Rachna, thanks :)

    Jackie, hehe, tag along for as long as you'd like :)

    kmckendry, it's good to hear you are re-energised. Good luck with getting back into writing.

  70. Reading is a good habit you learn a lots of great values in our lives.

  71. So I'm starting to write and I want to avoid the (imagined) pitfall of writing the kind of novel that every beginner writes, for example a thinly veiled book about me. So to find out more I searched Google with the phrase "novels that beginners write" and to my surprise Google only generated one hit - this page. It seems that you are a true original!

    1. Now there's an interesting post I could write!

      P.S. Sometimes you just have to write that first novel and get it over with. And remember, no writing is wasted writing, even if it never sees the light of day.


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