Editing work from earlier years.

I don't know how long everyone here has been writing, but I've been putting down stories since my pre-teen years. And I have to say, twelve years later, stuff I thought was really cool, is downright stupid now that I look at it.

I do think it's worthwhile to finish and polish these stories from my teen years, because there's a alot of cool stuff, but right now I'm basically chopping off half of some scenes which had completely illogical (but visually cool) behaviour out of characters...


Oh to be young and ignorant of the world again!


You probably aren't the only one. I bet if I looked back at some of my work, I'd be all like "what the fuck is this shit?"


I erased a lot of my early work because it's offensive to my sensibilities now to the point it gives me anxiety.


I only kept stuff that's kinda decent-ish or at least harmless, like a 700 page harry potter clone.


I've nixed most of my earlier work. Not only was it amateurish, but I'm with Dennis; my opinions have shifted to the point that old me's view of the world is downright disturbing to present-day me.


Of all my old stories, though, there's one I intend to salvage. It'll mean a complete re-write from the ground up, but that one alone I consider worth it.


Viewpoints do tend to change. I have noticed the diversity of my characters have increased. In my early writing, EVERYONE is Eastern European with a few Amerindian characters (ethnicities which constituted the culture I grew up in.) It was not an intentional exclusion, it was all I knew. Now that I'm grown up, I make characters of many other ethnicities that I live around, from Sudanese, to Vietnamese, to Guatemalan.


The story I'm posting in July is going to be very Russo-centric, because I want to remain true to the original vision, but the later arcs are going to have a much broader range of characters.


But, life experience changes a lot. My view of villains is different. For example, once I would have written an Evil nation vs. Good nation, but I've found that such concepts are an oversimplification. In politics and war, there is almost never an all innocent or all guilty party, although there are the unfortunate nations that get caught in between (see Belgian history XD).


From almost the beginning, my earliest stories - practically all of them, to be clear - involved some kind of organization.


An organization of trees.


An organization of people protecting a cat.


An organization of people who hop through and close portals.


An organization of people who hunt very particular demons.


An organization of all my 'chosen ones' from all my favourite fandoms, who were then organized based on their literary or screen-based medium.


An organization of Heaven and Hell.


An organization of time travel.


An organization of dream hoppers and crap.


And I'm talking the full thing: red tape, corporate apathy, departments and sectors and whatever else... I think I had a very specific compulsion towards overly orderly - perhaps even pathologically - that only ever expressed itself in daydreams and terrible, terrible first attempts at writing.


Most of my early attempts at telling stories were role playing games (I almost always game mastered). I only started to write regularly in college, and stopped during grad school.


As such, the most embarrassing stories I ever did are only remembered as games. Once I hit college, I actively tried to improve my storytelling ability as a gamer. Thus, when I started writing regularly, the stories were passable. I'm currently stalled on a novel I started then, but I'm not stalled due to disliking it. I'm stalled because writing and editing Legion doesn't leave enough time to work on anything else.


Once things clear up a little, I'll be on it again.


My earliest stories were written on a typewriter (no computer for a long time), and in German, so there would be little point to editing them. Besides, content wise, the first stories (from back when I was 13 / 14, I didn't save the older ones) were AWFUL. To my surprise, the writing itself was actually pretty good, just the dialogue tended to be awkward. My wise old wizards talked like teenagers.


When I turned 18 or so, the quality of the content improved dramatically. I might actually revive Schattenfeuer (Shadowfires) as a Fantasy serial in English at some point.


I've always told stories to myself, but I didn't put thing on the page until a couple of years ago. Some of those ideas became a part of ML and others have vanished into the depths of my memory until something reminds me. This saves me having to look back at them like things pinned to paper. Memory is such a flexible medium that I don't cringe at remembering them.


Now if I was the sort that kept a diary, I would probably wish for time travel to go back and slap some sense into my younger self.


I'm currently posting my writing from 15 years ago. That's what "Time & Tied" is.


Granted, I was already in my early 20s then, and it's been under the editing knife twice. Once about four years ago, in order to remove all the hard dates - it's a time travel story taking place in the "future of 2001" so oops - and I also tried to tighten up dialogue and such. And now a second time as I post it, in order to (1) adjust word choices ("just" should be struck from my vocabulary); (2) adjust technology (it was written at a time when cell phones were not common, now they are, there are some glitches); (3) make Carrie's personality progression more self-aware (with huge thanks to Billy Higgins for his review, because yeah, good point, kinda nailed a problem there that I was oblivious to).


Like Tim Noel, diversity was also an issue in the initial writing. I wrestled with a decision to update that too (posted in one of my commentaries actually: http://mathtans.wordpress.com/2015/05/24/ttc-commentary-04/ ) and ultimately left it as is. I think even now I remain worried about getting that wrong. But as to individual scenes and overall plot, it's all basically the same, for better or for worse. I guess what I'm saying is, maybe some early stuff isn't as bad as you think - or that even if it is, I agree that with a bit of polish, it's still something that could be posted up. (Or I'm deluding myself!)


As far as my teenage writing goes, most of it was either journaling and reviews (non-fiction), or fanfic, which is too dated to revive.


My old stuff has been burned both figuratively and literally. Some of my characters from that time are sticking around and will be showing up in my next serial.


Revisiting writing from your teens?


Wow, you're brave.


I think there's always value in the ideas from your teen years. I mean, they're what interested you then, and on a planet of seven billion other people, no, you are not such a special snowflake that they'll only ever interest you. They could be filling a serious niche!


But burn the actual writing. Burn it. Buuuurrnnnnn iiiiit.


That's a scary thought.

You're a braver man than I.


The first story I ever wrote was a one page story about a shark, when I was about eight. My friend was reading Harry Potter and I thought "I can write a better story than that." I brought it in the next day and he said it was good. I remember being slightly insulted that the only word he used to describe the page I laboured over for a whole night, was a mere "good." Try "masterpiece" Ciaran!


One day I intend to write the greatest one-page shark story in literary history.

It's a destiny not easily carried, but I shall bare this burden.


Haha, I'm lucky because my writing ended up in a lot of weird places where it was surrounded by other bad writing: some play-by-post roleplaying, my high school's night of one acts, the same school's sketch comedy club. My worst writing was the prose stuff from when I was a kid, but tbh those were story synopses as much as they were actual stories: I had no eye for detail, at the time.


Honestly, there's not much in my old writing that appeals to me. I have enough ideas in my head that it's a survival of the fittest sort of ordeal. And those ideas? They were far from the fittest.


Tartra, I'd love to read about an organization of trees. Like, what would that even look like? Beautiful, I imagine.


Glad the review helped, Mathans!


I have old stuff from when I was eightish, in my teens, and early twenties stuff. A lot of it is stupid, but I'm pretty much a keeper of all things if I can. The old stuff is kinda inspiring, like a painter seeing the contrast of old art. I don't see much of a reason for editing old stuff though, I think it'd probably be a better idea to read the old work and use it to breed a new or similar story. For me it'd be way faster to just hammer out something new and edit that rather than hunting for the (small) bits of good in the old.


I like Tartra's old shames the best. Seriously, a highly beauracratic organization that protects a cat? That'd make some excellent comedy right there.


@Billy - I think it was 'something, something, the trees are their own, weird gang who chat to other forests via flocks of birds and they're all in some sort of war against dogs'. I don't remember all the details, but I do remember the main tree, who was an asshole, was called Biqbiq.


@t4nky - And for that, it was 'something, something, whenever this cat is upset or scratches someone, somebody else died'. I beeeeliieeeeve it was supposed to follow some guy who accidentally pet the cat and now the cat mildly liked him, so these hooded figures kept trying to pawn the cat off on him.


Who knows? Maybe I'll actually jump back to these ideas someday. It's the writing that will stay very deeply hidden in the darkest corner of my computer.


Earlier works can be such an inspiration!

I have a story I wrote when I was 10. It was about a boy and girl who were best friends at worked at their small city state's botanical gardens in a fantasy world where six nations share a 6000 square kilometre island.


It started as a quiet slice of life of mundane day to day issues, but gradually shifted as political and ethnic tensions seemingly appeared out of nowhere as the country where they live, Kinez, begins a nationalist revolution. It was based on the pre-revolution France, sort of the quiet before the storm, and ended with the beginning of the revolution, and the main characters fleeing to a nearby state, in hopes that it too would not become embroiled with their homeland's issues.


It was poorly written and executed, but it is where the formula of my writing began. Starting with the mundane, with characters that live as normal folks do. And then, after a period of misfortune, folks find tranquillity again and reminisce about the good old days before the world changed.


I don't know if I will ever finish it, but it inspires me to this day.


:P


(TL;DR - Matrix fanfic became urban fantasy.)