Reflecting back on my journey getting to where I am today, having multiple books available for purchase with more on the way (though I am still uncomfortable with the term author), I think back to some of my earliest attempts at writing and storytelling. Even from a young age I was interested in telling stories and within a few years of learning my alphabet I had discovered the power of a typewriter's ability to turn my thoughts into hard content. I use to torment my kindergarten teacher by getting up in front of class and telling wild, endless tales until she would get tired of listening and make me sit down.
Usually, my stories in kindergarten seemed to revolve around me accomplishing fantastic feats like killing two bears with one bullet or rock. They were always incredibly fantastic from what I remember being told over the years though I admittedly do not recall a single story firsthand. For some reason I have no recollection of telling the stories, only memories of my mother describing her conversations with my teacher where my teacher would inform my mother of my apparent hunting prowess and willingness to talk without end about it.
It might stand to reason that my attempts at writing (or typing) a story at a young age might follow that existing thread but if you thought that, you'd be wrong. Or rather, you'd be wrong based on my earliest memories of writing.
Over the years, I've started to write or type a number of stories. Most of the time in the earliest years of my writing life, those stories lacked any real development or forethought. I would get a spark of inspiration to write and I would just sit down and start writing or typing whatever popped into my head, often times without any thought to actual plot, characters, or anything else. I wrote what I had in my head at that time and when the ideas ran out, the story petered out only to never be looked at again.
As a kid, I was a bit ADHD (before ADHD was a thing). I could start writing a story in the morning but by the afternoon I would have multiple other things that captured my attention to the point that I would all but forget what I had done just hours before. I grew up in the country with an older brother and multiple friends that lived nearby. Between my toys, playing/fighting with my brother, and terrorizing the neighborhood with my friends, I had a lot of things to distract me from activities that I typically did while alone like writing. My writing was something to pass the time when I was bored as a kid and part of that boredom did not include planning or thought for what I wrote as long as it was something for me to do. Over the years, the many pieces of paper and notebooks that I once scribbled on have long since been thrown away and forgotten along with whatever scraps of writing they contained..
In fact, the first actual story idea that I can remember committing to paper wasn't until I was probably around 12 years old. I don't think the story had a title or a fully realized plot but it had a genre and an introduction.
It was to be a zombie thriller. The plot idea that I can recall now some 30 years later was your stereotypical Victorian era husband and wife are guests of an eccentric baron or lord type person who lived in a creepy, old castle somewhere in eastern Europe. Essentially, the husband was to be food for the baron who turned out to be Dracula or some other old vampire and the wife was his object of desire who he wanted to turn into a vampire to be his vampiric wife through the ages.
This wasn't too long after Big Trouble in Little China came out on video (VHS for us old fogies). It was something along those lines where an old sorcerer sought a woman with green eyes to make his wife and grant him immortality (or something along those lines). It wouldn't take much for someone to adapt that story line into the classic vampire story and apparently that's what I set out to do but failed to see it through.
Despite not having the pages that I typed up so many years ago sitting at that archaic typewriter sitting on the dining room table in my childhood home, I can still remember the gist of what I had written as part of the book's opening sequence. It wasn't much more than a few paragraphs at the time but it was a concept that stuck with me for whatever reason. I don't think the main characters ever interacted or even met one another. Everything that I remember revolves around the young couple's arrival to the vampire's grand estate.
Delving deep into my mental archives, I recall there was great effort and attention to detail in the opening. It was a classic dark and stormy night that focused on the young couple's horse-drawn carriage arriving. The flashes of light from the storm's lightning illuminated the house and the house's gothic architecture gave off an eerie vibe that left the guests unsettled. The storm spooked the horses as they drew closer to the spooky building and the constant rain slowed their progress as their hooves struggled for grip and traction. Eventually, the couple and their carriage arrive at the house under the cover of darkness.
And that's it. That's all I remember. I don't know if they ever got out of the carriage, went into the house, talked to anyone else, nothing. I'm not sure if that was were I stopped writing or if that is just all that I can remember after three decades and many significant milestones in my life have passed. I do know that I never got to the point of the story where the husband died or their host revealed himself to them for the vampire he was. I remember that was where I wanted that story to go but I never got there. Just how far I did actually get though I think has been lost to time just like the pages that held the words that I had managed to type.
These days, I think back to that original story concept and often wonder what it could have been but I have no interest in trying to go back and recreate it. I have other story ideas that I want to pursue instead. Even though I find myself with time to write these days, more so than I did back then, and with greater focus, I think the memory of that lost story serves me better as a memory and a motivator than it would as a finished manuscript that might never truly know how close to the original concept it came.
Some things are better as memories and that will forever by my first story.