I’m a storyteller. Or rather, I really enjoy making up my own stories. I’ve done it for years (and years and years). It started before the internet and the term “fan-fiction” was coined. I used to take the characters from my favorite television shows and create unique stories with added characters. I wrote in script and short story formats.
Fast forward a couple years before I got any type of “formal” training. There was a series of workshops that my school offered afterschool for playwriting. The hope was students who participated in the workshop would submit a completed play for a competition. My friend and I worked on a script that first year. After over two years, I finished and submitted it. There were a few “best parts” of the experience – writing it, seeing what I saw in my head on the page and getting feedback. I didn’t place, but I was the only one from my school who submitted a finished script in the three years I was at my junior high. Yes, junior high, that’s how early I was bitten by the writing bug.
Of course life and other priorities came up. I was also interested in computers and science. So, during high school, that’s where my focus laid – at least to the outside world. No one knew I wrote. I wrote for myself. Just for myself. Most of my stories still revolved around existing characters in script format. I always thought when I “became a writer” it would be scriptwriter. Television, most likely. That’s where my writing fanned from, that what I saw myself doing.
Life is funny. It’s cyclical. It morphs yet remains the same. I’ve done the science and engineering route. I’ve worked as a software engineer. All the while, I volunteered with the Greater San Diego Science and Engineering Fair. I enjoyed working and mentoring students. I was in the Fair as a kid and have never left. A couple years after I became the Director of the GSDSEF (still a volunteer position), I decided to switch from engineering to teaching. I wanted to work with high school students full time. I say life is cyclical because my first three science fair projects dealt with learning and here I was switching to a career that focused on that.
So, I’ve returned to high school. Every day is different. My students make me laugh, break my heart, make me proud and enrich my life. Okay, I’ll admit that’s the rose colored glasses view – with the exception of the break my heart part. But it is nothing like working in an office. I really do enjoy the interaction with teenagers. When asked what I teach and I respond “high school” – people think I’m a saint. Teenagers are viewed as troublemakers or something negative. I think it’s the best age. I can have conversations with them. They can understand reason. They have distinct personalities, hopes, dreams, and problems (some big, some small). They are people.
In some ways, I don’t think I ever grew up. That’s why returning to high school, ironically my alma mater, works for me. Don’t get me wrong, I have tons of responsibilities and take life very seriously. But I can relate to them and they to me. That’s what makes the young adult fiction genre a natural fit for me.
I’ve had an idea for a long time. It’s bubbled in my brain. A scene replayed and replayed in my head, but with no names to the characters. Aside from that specific scene, I didn’t know what happened before or after it – specifically at least. After years of nagging (lovingly, of course) by my husband to actually write out the scripts for the stories in my head, he said, “Why don’t you write a book?” It made sense. While part of my brain had always ‘thought’ in script format, one of the things holding me back from doing it was the other half didn’t. A book was the perfect vehicle for me to tell me stories.
Now, unlike some authors, I’m not a big reader. I used to be when I was a kid, until around ninth grade or so. That’s when schoolwork didn’t allow me the time to read as much or at least didn’t seem quite as much fun. There were books I had to read for school and not necessarily for fun. I had exhausted all the series that I liked. Heck, that’s why I was making up my own stories. My own imagination took over – big time – and even if I found a book and time to read, I was much more interested in writing my own stories (in my head, on scratch paper, etc.). Ironically, this is still true today.
So, finally, after years of creating characters, stories, and scripts in my head (and random notebooks and notepads), I sat down and started writing my first book based on that one scene that’s been with me for years. That one scene has unfolded a new world to me that I easily can see into several (if not many) books.
I’m enjoying the ride. I hope you do too.