I have liked to write ever since I first learned how to write at a very young age. I remember I started making up stories and writing them down when I was about 8 or 9 years old.
One of the first stories I remember was when I had seen a movie version of Alexandre Dumas’ classic novels about D’Artagnan and the three musketeers and returned to school the day after and wrote a story based upon characters and events I had seen in the movie. My teacher liked my story and my wild imagination and encouraged me to keep on writing. She was – I found out years later – a published poet, so I am sure she recognized some kind of talent for writing in my simple story.
Through the years of school I kept on turning the writing assignments into ways of writing my own stories, using characters I knew of from comic books, television. movies and novels. I turned the characters into what I wanted them to be like in my stories, regardless of what they were like in their original environment. Usually only the names remained true to the original character.
I kept doing this writing at school. At home I simply played out stories while playing with stuffed animals, dolls, and action figures. Sometimes I recorded my stories but very rarely listened to the recordings afterwards. Most of the time I made up stories and characters to amuse myself as I didn’t have many friends while I grew up.
To be honest I only had one really close friend during most of my childhood. From around 12-13 years old, however, I had no real friends at all until I was around 16. During those teenage years of being almost all alone, I sometimes hung out playing football (soccer for my American friends) with some of the much younger kids in the neighborhood and also hung out with my 6 years younger nephew a lot. Needless to say this was not good for developing my social skills and I am probably still suffering from the huge lack of interaction with people of the same age as me during my teenage years.
Missed out on everything teens might be up to doing when there are no parents around or any other adults for that matter. Missed out on some important parts of the socialization process. However, I did the best I could and didn’t think I was missing out on much at that time.
Well, I was aware I was missing out on hanging out with or meeting girls but there wasn’t much to do about that. Since I was such a shy person I thought I’d be better off without suffering through any awkward moments of failure anyway. The fact that I was being bullied at school didn’t help either to make me more keen to hang out with kids of the same age as they would not have wanted to hang with me outside of school anyway.
So, I stayed at home most of the time and wrote my stories in order to entertain myself on my own.
The first novel-length story I wrote by hand with a pencil but the following ones I wrote on the typewriter my parents got me for my birthday or if it was for Christmas. Can’t really remember now.
After having got the typewriter, however, I wrote a lot of stories after school, on holidays, weekends or any spare time I had. Writing, reading, music and movies saved me from going insane during that time, or perhaps I really went insane without knowing it. I’m not always sure.
Ok. The idea for this post was to write something about the content of the stories I wrote during the years between 15 and 25 years old.
After turning 25 I pretty much put writing fictional stories up on a shelf. I had become aware of the fact that I most likely wasn’t going to become the Swedish answer to Stephen King or Bret Easton Ellis so I didn’t see any point to writing fiction anymore without ever submitting it to publishers or letting anyone read any of it. Also I didn’t feel I had enough of support for my dreams of becoming a writer from my close family or other people around me. Another thing was that I at that time always thought I had to be “inspired” in order to be able to write.
Years later, I’ve learned that waiting for “inspiration” is only a stupid excuse for not trying or rather – working – hard enough. Only way to get anywhere, is to keep writing no matter how it turns out or how you feel about it or what you think about the stuff you’re writing.
Be that as it may. After turning 25 I stopped writing fiction. I stopped writing anything until I got to the university a few years later. There I only wrote academic papers. Didn’t really start writing again in my spare time until many years later when I started writing for this blog. Not so much fiction now though. Mostly just non-fiction…or opinions rather.
I wrote my first novel-length story when I was 15 years old. I don’t remember the title. Most of the plot I have also forgotten. Not only because the years have passed but also because I did throw the script away a few years later. I regret that a lot. I guess at some point I decided that my first juvenile attempt at writing a novel was too embarrassing to keep having around the house.
As far as I can remember, the story was about two teens – a guy and a girl – getting mixed up with KGB agents or something along those lines. Due to it being written during the early 1980’s, it might have been inspired somewhat by the movie WarGames (1983). There was also a love story somewhere in my story. I remember writing a love scene that was even more embarrassing to write than it was to read as it had little or no basis in any real life experience. That’s about all I can recall. Would have been fun to read the story now but the only copy of the script is lost forever due to my stupidity.
Some months later when I had gotten my first typewriter, I wrote a new story. Slightly shorter than the handwritten one and inspired by a Swedish pop singer who had become very famous almost instantly around that time, the story was about this pop star being kidnapped . Probably this story was influenced by the plot of the then new action movie Streets of Fire (1984) which involved the kidnapping of a young female pop singer by a band of thugs. At some point some of my younger and older cousins got to read parts of it and after their negative reaction to my “masterpiece”, I never bothered to finish writing it.
Instead I used some of the same characters for a new story based more upon some novels I had read and also upon elements drawn from my own experiences at school. This proved to work better, at least during the first half of the long story, which still holds up as pretty much original and realistic for being written by a teenager. Then I must have lost my original idea or simply let myself be too inspired by books and movies I had been reading and watching because the shifts in content and style are dramatic. Sadly this long story ends in a very poor attempt to imitate the feel of the movie Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior except my story has a female “hero” instead of a male one.
All of my novel-length stories except the first handwritten one has featured a female as the main character or “hero”. Don’t ask me why this is because I don’t know. I guess I always found it more interesting to try to portray female characters. I don’t think I was ever any good at it but I did try in all of my stories. Or maybe it was as simple as me building a fantasy around the various girls I happened to have a crush on at the time of writing these stories, I don’t know. Certainly my feelings played a part in some cases, that much is evident.
The next story came about after a few false starts and a sudden feeling of “I can’t do this, I’m giving up this writing books idea and I’m going to write a movie script instead” had passed. Inspiration for the main character came from a girl in my class in highschool whom I imagined was very popular and lived a life I could only dream of. Sure, I also had a crush on her for some time. After all I was just 17, and you know what I mean…
Anyway, I started to work on this story about a year before I actually got to know the girl for real so in a way reality proved to be better than any fiction my imagination could produce but that’s another story.
This first story was about a band of female friends going to school and getting into trouble with the local bullies both in school and outside of it. Of course there’s also a love story in it.
The girl of that story served as the main character of all the following stories I would then write until the very last one. She – and the rather strange family I had created around her – would develop as a character and grow along with me as I passed through highschool and later entered the working life at my first job. I wouldn’t call this female character my alter ego or anything. Instead this was the start of building a world, a universe , populated by characters I had created. Much like the universes of my favorite authors and movie directors. However, it only became a start. After turning 25 I stopped writing fiction.
The second story was longer and added more characters to the universe. The action expanded into several sub-plots and side tracks and became increasingly violent for some reason I’ve forgotten. It collapsed into an unfocused mess at the end though, like some of my previous stories did, but parts of it I still find somewhat entertaining to read even today. Maybe it could have worked better as a movie or TV-series.
The third – and last – story was shorter but better than the second one and actually had some good ideas and a few better developed and researched characters along with the main character. This story was the only one that any of my parents got to read out of all that I had been writing. Not many people did get to read my stories through the years anyway, which was obviously a major mistake if I was serious about becoming an author. I had a lot of plans for the third story but in the end I didn’t go through with any of them. Instead I stopped writing fiction shortly after finishing that story.
The plot revolved around the girl – or young woman – of the first two stories having found her first real job, where she meets and sort of falls in love with a young American woman (a character inspired by – among several others – Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones, Jim Morisson of The Doors, actress Terri Garber and singer/songwriter Melissa Etheridge) who travels around Europe as the lead guitar player of a rock band while also searching for her father, a veteran of the Vietnam war.