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Hello writing friends,
It’s 2021, and Writing Tips and Sips is almost a year old. I have learned so much about running a blog, teaching creative writing, and finishing my debut novel’s first draft. To say I am proud of everything accomplished here is a definite understatement.
For my first post of 2021, I want to do something a little different. This post isn’t going to be a how to improve your narrative, build a writing routine, or improve your world-building. I’m going to tell my origin story and talk about writing and how I grew to love storytelling. I want to get real with all of you and share a piece of myself. As a thank you for supporting and reading my content.
We all have our stories, and writing has a unique pull on us. It gives us life and allows us to explore our understanding of the world. Through writing, we get to find the answer to life’s biggest question; why are we here?
The beauty: the answer is different and unique for every single person. We each have our own answer to the meaning of life, and yours is just as true as mine. So, without further ado, here is my story.
As a young child, I always felt different—I didn’t belong anywhere and had trouble making friends. In preschool, kids made fun of me, called me scrawny, nerdy, geeky. I was laughed at and called weak. This bullying followed me to high school; however, I would fight back by biting in preschool.
Needless to say, violence is not the answer, and I am not proud of the way I retaliated. I was at a loss for words and didn’t know how to voice the ways I felt. Communication was hard for me. I could speak and never thought I had anything important to say. Or if I did speak up, no one would care. I felt hurt for being weak. It proved they were right. So, I fought.
My parents never had a ton of money, so we moved around a lot, searching for the best cheap place to live. Because of this, I didn’t get a chance to make friends as I would be somewhere else a year or two later.
I felt outcasted and had many school behavioral issues due to the constant bullying and inability to communicate. I was at war with the world and the school system. It seemed like everything was always my fault. I would get detention or suspended, and the people bullying me got away with it. Authority figures were constantly telling me; my voice didn’t matter.
Star Wars & Lord of the Rings
My school and social life were a complete disaster. I hated going to school and being around the other kids. Getting bullied did a number on me—playing sick to avoid school helped a little, but the best medicine—the greatest escape was fantasy.
At the age of 8, my father took me to see The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring in theaters. I had no idea what the movie was about, though I enjoyed Star Wars: The Phantom Menace when that came out a few years earlier. I trusted my dad’s opinion of films, but nothing compares to the world of Tolkien.
The prologue began, and I was hooked on the story of the ring, it’s power over man, and the political struggles of the… okay, I liked the action sequences and the fact the ring made Frodo invisible. This was key and what initially drew me in. Being bullied at school, I wanted a ring that made me invisible, allowing me to hide from the other kids to live my life in peace.
Going to the theaters and watching these epic sci-fi and fantasy movies made me feel connected to another world. It gave me a place in which to escape. As a kid, I hated reading, and the worlds of Lord of the Rings and Star Wars made me open books and read. It was another way for me to interact and grow in these worlds.
The Power of Story:
I tried to read Lord of the Rings as a kid but couldn’t quite comprehend the words on the page at the time. Star Wars books were fun, and I got to explore the Jedi’s ways even more than the screen allowed, but the first book to truly hook me was Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
After reading the fifth Harry Potter book, I could never watch the movies in the same way. They couldn’t capture the thoughts and feelings going on through Harry’s mind as well, and the films felt barren in comparison.
These stories made me realize there was another way to communicate with people outside of speaking words. I wrote school papers and was generally able to pull out a passing grade in around an hour of work, but school papers don’t have the same life as creative writing. They don’t speak to the soul in a way writing a narrative does.
In middle school, I sat down to write my first novel, combining all the things I loved most about the fiction I enjoyed watching and reading. I set out to write a narrative about a Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG) that gets hacked by foreign leaders as a way to teleport soldiers through servers to enact world war 3. The best players get sent into the game to fight the invading army and save the world.
Writing this story was the first time I felt like myself. I was happy creating a fictional world and would rush home after school to write the next scene or chapter. The best part, my friends loved the story (so-they-said).
I Found My Calling:
I know my first story wasn’t good and read as a middle-school student wrote it. It was basically a Naruto and Runescape fanfic (geez, I’m getting old) without using any copyrighted material.
Though, what writing that story did for me was give me something to look forward to. It helped me bond with friends and family, and I loved every second of writing.
It felt surreal building these worlds, environments, and scenarios—watching them play out before my eyes.
In middle school, I was a pantser (one who writes without a plan or plotting) and allowed my ideas to flow through me. It was like watching a movie playout for the first time. Everything was a surprise, and I loved it.
However, I never finished that first story I wrote, my computer got a virus and crashed, deleting all my files. I didn’t know about backup drives at the time and lost everything. My heart shattered, and I gave up on the novel. I walked away and never went back to write it.
I still tried to write several other stories between middle-school and graduate school, but only one of them has taken a hold on me. My current work in progress(WIP): The Legend of Elvines: Stone of the Dragon’s Heart. More on that to come.
The writing was an escape, and it made me feel good—alive and connected to my characters when bullied, and it gave me a reason to focus on school. I belonged in the worlds of my creation, and I wanted to keep writing. However, I wasn’t ready to realize that writing was my thing yet.
My Age of Self-Discovery:
Creativity always flowed through me. Writing was my calling, and I wasn’t able to see it, so I experimented with many different hobbies. I skateboarded throughout middle-school, hoping to become the next Tony Hawk—though I could never grasp the complexities of landing rad tricks.
I moved on to film editing, telling stories through motion pictures–Making anime music videos to Linkin Park songs set to Naruto and placed them on YouTube. Some of my videos got upward of 4 to 5 thousand views, and I thought I found my real talent. However, I didn’t know how to take it further and turned to the next big thing.
Music. The zone of music brought me to a world only writing had achieved before. The problem: I had no natural talent and forced myself to become decent. I took music classes in high school, joined band, jazz band, and played every opportunity I got.
Music made me happy, and it truly felt like my purpose, yet something was missing. I was at work in college when I realized music wasn’t going to get me anywhere. My skill level wasn’t improving, no matter the hours I put into practice. I couldn’t touch the world, so I changed my degree from music to film.
Film was allowing me to dive into the stories I wanted to tell. Screen-writing was my home, and I realized just how close I was to what I was meant to be doing. Writing was coming back to me.
During my last year of undergrad, my teacher asked us about our plan during my thesis class. Where did we see ourselves going? I wanted to make a franchise akin to Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and Star Wars. To create a world so immersive and beloved that it gives people a reason to live and feel connected with others. I wanted my stories to change the world and allow viewers to emerge from my films with eyes wide open.
Unfortunately, producers and studios don’t like to take risks on new Intellectual Properties (IPs), and my best course of action was spelled out for me. Write the novel.
See, if you can prove that your story is worth telling by selling a bunch of books, studios are much more willing to make your movie. The caveat, writing is no easy task and takes years and years to master.
I remembered loving writing my past stories, and I set out to write my debut novel. My current WIP. On this journey, I went to graduate school to master my craft, created this blog to help others master theirs, and have written a full draft of my WIP.
And that is my origin story. The more I write and edit, the more content I have for you, and the future is looking good. I plan to publish my debut novel within the next two years and am excited to share the process and hopefully pave the way for others to follow.
Thank you for taking the time to get to know me, and I would love to know what got you into writing in the comments below!
C. D. Baron