1. Amanda_Geisler
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    Amanda_Geisler Contributing Member Reviewer

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    What were your first projects like?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Amanda_Geisler, Jun 29, 2014.

    Okay everyone,
    I have been reading through some old posts in this forum and I am wondering what your first piece of writing was like. I'm talking about your work from when you just got into writing. What was it like? Have you changed it into something great? Were you satisfied with it at the time? How do you feel about it now?

    Let me be the one to start us off.

    My first attempt at writing was actually the first version of The Stray. It was called Moon Shadows back then and it was shape shifters, not werewolves. I don't remember all the specifics but the MC became a shape-shifter (A tiger) from associating with another shape shifter for an extended part of her life. I realise how ridiculous that is now, and how far my novel has come.
    I had actually finished Moon Shadows and I think it clocked in at about 40,000 words, definitely not enough to qualify for a novel. I don't have a copy of it any more other wise I would post it up for you all to see, at least not on this computer, I might be able to find it on my old computer when I go home at Christmas time, either that or @Annalise_Azevedo might have a copy hidden in her computer somewhere.
    I thought that story was the best thing in the world, but looking back, even though I can't remember all of it, it was a dreadful manuscript and I can't see any of it in The Stray, except for maybe a few character appearances, but most of the character names have changed too.

    I am interested in seeing your answers
    Amanda
     
  2. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I still have three stories with me from days of youth. The first one won me an award in 5rd grade and was the impetus for me wanting to pursue writing. I still have the little pin I won. :p The story itself was lost to time.
    [​IMG]
    My first complete novel was called Ascend Dystopia. Yes, I know. Feel free to press charges. I hesitated to even post that title, but that's what it was. :blech: I was in my first years in the USAF and the story had to do with two fellah's who meet and fall in love in a future world where Christianity has become a cold government unto itself. I was studying Russian at the time, so the work is painfully bedazzled with Russian words in the same way as many shows and movies from the 80's have that whole Soviet fetish thing going on. I was deeply anti-religion, in the very middle of the Reagan-Bush Conservative Renaissance, and the work shows it to a shaming degree.

    The next serious thing I worked on was a little story that's somewhere here in the forum called Two Bullets Left. There are like 20 versions of that story scattered across different media as I tried to flesh a short story into a novel, and it just wasn't meant to be a novel. That story was inspired by a dream and also by my too-early exposure to the film Alien, which I saw when it was a new release in the theaters in 1979. I was 9.

    Then nothing for a very long time as work and life came to the front.

    I have three pieces I think of as my adult work that I still have with me and working on. One that is a magic realism piece, and two that are spec-fic erotica. In between all of this, countless little short stories for contests and other venues.
     
  3. ToeKneeBlack
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    ToeKneeBlack Contributing Member Contributor

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    I've been writing my first project on-and-off for 5 years and it has evolved from an aimless narrative with poor grammar, odd character behaviour and a strict avoidance of the word "said" (which led to some crazy looking sentences), to a fairly well structured story with more believable behaviour, an evolving mystery and a less strict approach to the dialogue.

    The only thing the current version is missing is the transition from the middle of the story to the climax and resolution.
     
  4. Annalise_Azevedo
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    Annalise_Azevedo Member

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    First projects huh?

    Well to answer, I don't have Moon Shadows anymore but I still remember the first copy I read as if it was yesterday. But it was strange, now that I think of it The Stray was a bit similar to Moon Shadows.

    But my first was obviously The Magic Dog. I wrote that story back in first grade and it was probably a few hundred words.

    My first big story, as Amanda knew of it was called Rising Winds, Curse of the Moon, The Animal Guardian and Lua's Legend was the final book that was a prequel. Each of the books were pretty short since I managed to finish the series. But it was similar to Amanda's however I had a wolf shifter that came across many things. Unfortunately it was lost to the computer when it got a virus. Sine then I rewrote the stories countless times (each time there was a rewrite, I remember Amanda going "Seriously, again?". I made the Prequel into the first book, Reflection of Fire and changed the main characters a bit (a lot) except for Taro. Poor vegetable :p When I tried to rewrite RW, I pretty much found it to be a dead end so I scrapped it all and finally started Reflection of the Flames with more twists and character development along with a powerful rock that brings everyone together xD

    Now, I'm cheerfully writing Eye of the Storms with 20,000 words for being on the fourth chapter :D
     
  5. Amanda_Geisler
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    Amanda_Geisler Contributing Member Reviewer

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    I personally don't see much similarity between Moon Shadows and The Stray they seem to be extremely different. I think I do have a copy of Rising Winds in my computer. Yeah poor Taro you're always making fun of him in your books. Is this Eye of the Storms a sequel to ROF or is it another project completely. But there is no doubt that our writing had improved since grade 8

    Amanda
     
  6. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    My earliest serious attempts at writing (when I was 15-16) were basically stylistic copies of writers I admired back then (some of them I still admire). For the record, my earliest pieces really suck. I'll leave it at that.

    I've changed a lot since then, and my writing has changed as a result. Since I've read more, my style has been influenced by more writers, and it's gotten to the point where I now have a fairly unique style, which is good news.
     
  7. Annalise_Azevedo
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    Annalise_Azevedo Member

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    @Amanda_Geisler
    I'm talking about the hand written version. The first version of Moon Shadows. Trust me, if you read through both versions, you could see of what I mean. And the funny thing is, I still pick on Taro. He's just not a major character in RoF. In fact, he's only in it for a short time until the next one.

    Eye of the Storm is the sequel. It's the replaced name of Rising Winds since I wanted a name to match the series. When I mention storm I think of cyclones and hurricanes because naming a book 'Eye of the Cyclone' sounds rather stupid.

    I can tell that we've improved a lot. I feel like I'm a lot closer to the characters than I was before.
     
  8. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I told myself in college that someday I'd write a novel. Well into my 30s I decided I'd better get on it.

    That novel, Relic Tech, is the first one I wrote. It's the one where I taught myself how to write a novel, mainly by reading other novels and applying what I learned to my storyline and my developing writing style.

    From the first draft, until it was eventually published (my 3rd novel to reach publication), my writing skills and storytelling had improved. I think all serious writers continue to improve. One thing I definitely learned was how to plot out a novel closer to standard length. See, Relic Tech ended up being about 183,000 words. Although Relic Tech made it out of the slush pile to full reads and consideration with two major publishers (Tor and Baen), I think its length was a drag on its potential success. My current publisher, who'd I'd established a track record with, read it and thought it was strong enough.

    Actually, it's the best selling of my novels (and short story collection). I did, however, learn how to write shorter novels.

    When I'd finished writing Relic Tech, instead of tearing it apart and rewriting, I decided to send it out, despite the length, and spend my time and energy on a new novel. That turned out to be Flank Hawk, my first published novel (which also made it out of the slush pile several times before finding a home). With Relic Tech's intertwining plots it would've been nearly impossible to extract one or two, and not have left behind so many frayed threads in doing so, that a full rewrite would've been needed, and I wasn't sure that, in the end, it would've been a stronger novel. Just a shorter one.

    In answer to the final questions posed in the OP: I was more than satisfied with Relic Tech when I first finished and sent it off, and I am pleased with it now.

    [​IMG]
     
  9. nippy818
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    nippy818 Active Member

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    my first work was a 3.5 dnd campaign my first time DMing. It took place during the dark elf civil war in the under-dark of the forgotten realms.
     
  10. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    My first work was a series of short stories I wrote in second grade about me and my friends exploring the planets of our solar system. My parents subscribed to National Geographic, and that magazine was full of space stuff in the 1960s (the American space program was a Huge Deal in those days), so I had plenty of inspiration. These stories were written in handmade books - just a set of eight sheets of foolscap, folded in half and stapled in the middle to form a booklet, and I'd write in pencil to a maximum of 32 pages. I explored Venus in 32 pages, and Jupiter in 32 more. Jupiter was a jungle planet, as I recall - I wasn't into scientific accuracy when I was seven years old.

    When I started reading serious science fiction at the age of eight or nine, I started madly composing pastiches of Robert A. Heinlein and Arthur C. Clarke, as well as Jules Verne. I read those guys constantly and wrote stories that looked like what they must have written when they were preteens (and lobotomy victims - I assume my stuff wasn't good, even by kid standards then).

    There was a time period when I hit puberty and I started writing gay fantasy erotica. It usually involved me and my friends somehow becoming superheroes, and when we weren't saving the world, we were having our first, cautious, fumbling, comical experiences with sex. The less said about these stories, the better. (I wrote these stories by hand, of course - there was nothing else available at the time. I kept them in notebooks in my closet. My mom once came and cleaned out my closet and I never saw those notebooks again. She must have read them, but she never mentioned them to me. She died nine years ago and never said a word about them. The more I think about that the more wow I get.)

    By my mid-teens, I was more of a musician than a prose writer. I was composing a lot during high school and most of my writing consisted of songs. I was torn between folk-rock and progressive rock - my influences were Yes, Genesis, Jethro Tull, Van Morrison, and somehow Gordon Lightfoot. Blend those together with a shot of Elton John and you'll have some idea of what I was going for (but never came close to achieving).

    I didn't write anything at all when I was in university. I was mostly studying, and when I wasn't studying, I was listening to jazz and experimental music and wasting an unconscionable amount of time with guitars in my hands.

    My discovery, in 1984, of the poetry of Robinson Jeffers kick-started my writing ambitions again. I was out of university then and was trying to find my way in life, and Jeffers' visions, and the language he used to express them, pretty much exploded in my soul. I had to write. That's when, at the age of about 23 or 24, I began writing seriously. My first novel - the one I've mentioned here many times, bore the working title "This Victory." Silly, but always a working title. I have the final title in mind, but it's so awesome I won't mention it here. I've never mentioned it to anyone, actually - my roommate, with whom I've lived for almost nineteen years, still doesn't know it.

    Somewhere in between all of this, there were many short stories, a couple of comedy plays my friends and I put on for our classes, and lots of typing practice. In other words, I was just like everyone else. :)
     
  11. Amanda_Geisler
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    Amanda_Geisler Contributing Member Reviewer

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    Wow I think I may have started something... A lot of interesting writing pasts, mine seems rather boring compared to them.

    @Annalise_Azevedo I suppose with the written version it had the humans finding out about them but it was done in such a different way in The Stray. What else do you think is similar?

    Amanda
     
  12. cazann34
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    cazann34 Active Member

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    This is my first project: http://www.writingforums.org/threads/frairswood.58653/http://www.writingforums.org/threads/frairswood.58653/
    and I'm still working on it, four years later. I've stopped off along the way to write a few short stories, some of which can also be found on this site. I started writing late in life even though it's something I've always want to do. I initially posted a snippet of my first chapter to see if I'd been wasting my time and I found out that my writing aint half bad but my tense jumping is my biggest problem, that and my impulsive nature to post stuff that's in no way ready.
     
  13. Amanda_Geisler
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    Amanda_Geisler Contributing Member Reviewer

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    I still tense jump, it is the one problem I definitely can't fix when editing my own work. I can edit all the SPaG to a certain extent but I can never see my own tense changes but I can see it in everybody else's work.
    Amanda
     
  14. prettyprettyprettygood
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    prettyprettyprettygood Active Member

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    The very first story I remember writing was when I was in infant school, so I must have been 5 or 6, and I wrote about a pair of caterpillars who got married and became butterflies together. It was really about me and the boy I fancied and unfortunately I didn't think to change our names so when my parents saw it they teased me just a bit :p
     
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  15. Annalise_Azevedo
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    Annalise_Azevedo Member

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    Honestly I thought that was adorable :) I instantly thought back to my first story when I was reading this post. While my story didn't have any cute marriages, it did constantly remind me of my first best friend. Whenever I think of her, it gives me a reassurance to keep going with my work.

    But occasionally I remember a few points of the story; it was mostly the confusing plot holes.

    @Amanda_Geisler Well yes I did mean that people discover Rya/Misty but also the science thing. Like I know that your werewolves weren't ever overrun by jumping cane toads but the main plots are similar. You also have the protagonist play soccer in both versions. But I can't remember if you introduced a love interest in that one... I think you did.
     
  16. Andrae Smith
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    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

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    Hmmm... not as good as my new ones. ;) Nah, but seriously, they were alright for the time and my age, but not great. I started back in middle school writing anything that came to mind. One of my teachers entered me into a city-wide (I think... my childhood memories are hazy already :() competition to represent our school. I didn't win but I did pretty well. I think I placed fifth. When reached high school, I was writing really well, given the compositional skills I was using. As it turns out, what they taught in high school was utter nonsense in the world of fiction. o_O As a result of my ignorance of fiction writing (though I loved reading), I did write 80k+ words of a story I was working on, which all turned out useless!

    These days, I'd say my writing is better... I hope it is. I've done a lot of studying in the last couple of years. :read:
     
  17. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    <sighs with nostalgia> I was fourteen when I started it. How was it?

    Terrible. Truly terrible. I had fun writing that little mystery story, but by God it was terrible. :p It was supposed to be about a bunch of high school kids investigating a mystery that one of their father (who was a cop, so they were effectively working behind his back) was assigned to. There was no real logic behind it (I even had a chapter where the cop dad took the kids to an actual gunfight between his buddies and a few criminals and yet they all got out of it unscathed. Somehow. And the criminals were arrested on the spot.) The antagonist, now that I think about it, had the lamest name possible, yet he was the reason one of my characters was an orphan living with my main/narrator character's family. Not going to lie, I based him off of Harry except instead of a scar, he had a glass eye (for...some reason??) Oh and to further add to the nonsense world, they apparently lived alongside elves (who were totally not rip-offs of the LOTR elves of the films) who lived in the jungles in peace. The orphaned kid was a half-elf, and one of the girls was a zombie/goblin hybrid because her uncle sold her soul to the Devil. She looked human, but eventually the magical spell on her broke, and she began to turn into the zombie/goblin creature. Naturally, this would lead to an astonishing twist where another kid in the group (I think I had five?) was revealed to contain the soul of a long lost, legendary hero (totally not a rip-off of Link) and he turned into an adult Aragorn-esque badass who saved the girl's soul and restored her back to normal again. This kid? His dad was the cop. Out of the entire group of main protagonists, only two were normal human beings. It would also help you to understand that in no way was any of this supposed to have been fantasy. It was supposed to be a mystery set in our world. That's right, a mystery. Set in our world. Like any other mystery story out there. But it had elves, half-elves, badass warriors and goblin/zombie hybrids. But in our world.

    No logic, no pacing, even the basic GSAP was absent, but I had fun with it. :D I didn't care how stupid it was, I enjoyed the hell out of it. I still have the old draft somewhere, on an old CD rom. :)
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2014
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  18. xanadu
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    xanadu Contributing Member Contributor

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    My first real, finished, original piece was based on a fantasy game I was making at the same time (using Enterbrain's RPG Maker software). It was pretty bad, especially considering I had no notion of the craft of writing. I was about 15 or 16 at the time. I think the story wound up being around 20K words or so, so not too shabby for a first-time piece, but the quality was far below acceptable.

    Then I moved on to other things before coming back to writing at around 18 or 19 with a modern-day, real-world piece clocking in at around 40K. It's not too bad overall, though I stopped working with it long ago to get on with my newer stuff. I can't see it growing past the word count, and it's been out over the web in various forms, so I definitely consider it unpublishable (nor would I want to publish it anyway). But it actually has some merit as opposed to the first piece. It may be worth editing some more, if only just for practice.

    My first full novel took about 4 years to do, but it ended up right around 87K--the longest work I'd ever done at that point. It's also probably served its purpose at this point, as the storyline is pretty bland and the writing isn't anywhere near my best.

    But overall I still see a steady improvement with each project.
     
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  19. Johncrawfordz
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    Johncrawfordz Member

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    Hmm...I started writing for the weirdest of reasons actually. I wanted to get a girl's attention when I was 15 so I started writing a story based on a science fiction game (Air Rivals). Several months later at 22k words, I got myself a story and it was well received despite the horrendous formatting of the time.

    I guess now it did quite ok since I was still a kid then. Writing a novel back then was like drugs somehow. All those creative juices going in my head and yet could not be thoroughly detailed by shabby writing. XD. Now i'm 24 and I'm really eager to write my very first original.
     
  20. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    When I first started writing, I didn't even speak English perfectly. The very first large project of mine was called "The Human World and the Jungle Healers." I was perhaps 10 years old, had been living in England for 2 years by that point, and nicked the idea of tiny humans from Roald Dahl's The Borrowers. My lead characters were called Roses and Graisful. (presumably because I'd actually heard both the name Rose and the word Graceful before, but due to my poorer English skills back then basically didn't recognise that Roses isn't the name I was thinking of and that Graceful is a word lol) I illustrated it myself :D

    Here, something I wrote in a day back in 2001 when I was 14 - opening to a short romance:

    For hilarious English mistakes because that's just what happens when you're still developing in the language, here're 2 examples, from 2001-2002:


    And yes, at the time I thought it was great. Looking back - it's riddled with flaws and clearly written by a child given some of the phrases and flow of thought, but for how old I was, I don't actually think it was terrible, and the most interesting thing is finding clusters of words or short clauses that sound so similar to exactly how I still write now.

    What does my writing look like now? I've got two pieces in the workshop from a year or two ago if anyone wants to dig it up lol :D
     
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  21. AJC
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    AJC Active Member

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    I took up writing less than a year ago, so I'm still learning. I recently submitted the very first story I wrote after months of revisions. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it gets accepted. I know there's still lots of room for improvement, but I'm happy with where I am at the moment.
     
  22. Adenosine Triphosphate
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    Adenosine Triphosphate Old Scratch Contributor

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    Somewhat creative but really bad short stories that my elementary school forced me to write every year. The one from eighth grade is probably the best, since I actually finished it.
     
  23. DeviouSquirrel
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    DeviouSquirrel Member

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    When I started highschool (aged 11) I wrote a 'novel' (Must have been maybe 20k or so) about penguins living in a town. I don't remember much past that they all drove off a cliff and died at the end. My school librarian loved it though :p Or at least, claimed to... xD
     
  24. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    I always wrote short stories, poetry and screenplays, short sketches (collab with my BFF) and a romantic series of novels, no less, about my BFF and I and guys from Bros :oops: I horrified myself in retrospect with that one, I was 16. And then I returned to writing sixteen years later (life and career got in the way). Even though I spoke English primarily by that time, all my creative stuff came out in my native language, I think because I perfected my English whilst studying a very science-based subject, so I could write papers and academic essays in English really well, but my creative side remained in my native language. Except for poetry, which I could only write in English, for some reason. I also wrote non-fiction essays. From there, I graduated to a novella, 55k words of a coherent story, which worked out very well but lacked subplots. Since then, I only write in English and for the past 6 years I'm working on several novel-length projects, mainly on one at a time. My writing transformed in many ways, from languages to prose, perfecting the voice and ability to string together a narrative. But my preferred themes and symbols are definitely similar to what they've always been.
     
  25. A.M.P.
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    A.M.P. People Buy My Books for the Bio Photo Supporter Contributor

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    Wow, so cool to find out how everyon e started out and what they did. Awesome thread.

    @TWErvin2
    Tor wanted to publish you?! TOR?!!!!
    That's like the holy grail of fantasy publishers. I adore everything they put out and most of my prefered authors are part of that house. I know they publish all sorts of stuff but when I see that logo or name on a spine I am very apt to pick it up and see what it is.
    Ever since I was a little dude I wanted to have that name associated with mine :3

    On Topic: If we goooo way back, I was in 7th(?) grade and we all wrote a piece about peace(hah!) for our art gallery. Me and a friend won, he made a picture and I wrote it. We both got $100 and a certificate.

    Around the same time, I started writing outside of school and a bit more "seriously". Fanfiction galore, I ended up posting tons of stories online. Usually garnered a fair bit of traffic and lots of comments.

    I think I'd puke if I reread that junk though, I know how bad it really is now that I know so much more about how to write a good story. Though, the encouraging comments and those who gave me good advice really were the reason I kept writing and started to improve and join communities and start roleplaying and... well, everything.
     

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