Eleven years old. That’s how old I was when I wrote my first novella-length story. It was fan fiction, and the two main protagonists were characters from my favorite anime at the time, Digimon. The story was a sweet one, with a romantic ending.
Everyday I would come home from school, do my homework, and then hand-write pages for hours. The idea to even start writing fan fiction stemmed from my disappointment that the two main characters didn’t end up getting together. No kiss, no holding hands, nothing romantic, although I knew its genre was action-adventure. However, my young mind comprehended that there was something there. Some chemistry and potential. Even if they were two male pre-teens.
Why couldn’t anyone else see that?
So I took my favorite characters from my favorite show and gave them my own sweet ending.
Ever since then, I’ve been hooked on writing. Mostly fan fiction.
It wasn’t until the next year, at twelve, that I picked up my first romance novel. I noticed my mom always appeared happy whenever she read one of those “dirty books”, as we liked to call it, so one day, I planned to sneak one of her books. Any one. Whichever one had the prettiest cover.
I chose Christine Feehan’s Dark Descent, from The Only One anthology. With all the sneakiness and fear of a kid stealing porn, I read. And oh my god was it good.
It was so completely different from my own stories, so much more sexy and complicated and amazing. I fell in love with Traian, and soon after I finished the story, he became my imagined boyfriend and I talked to him every night. Yeah, I wasn’t right in the head after that.
At that time, my stories took on a different tone. I started incorporating more intimate acts than kisses and hand-holding. They were sexier. And that’s when the voices started to fill my head.
However, despite the new ground, I still couldn’t really drag myself away from fan fiction. I watched a TON of anime back then and there were so many characters I needed to write about; so many endings that needed changes; so many hookups that should have happened. The most I did differently was to include myself as a character in their worlds, and cross-over.
Until I was around fifteen.
I picked up Laurell K. Hamilton’s Cerulean Sins. Writing would never be the same for me.
Cerulean Sins was unlike anything I’d ever encountered. The main protagonist was a badass female who was 180 degrees different than any fictional or real life female I know. The story was rife with supernatural male strippers. Amazing and complex characters. An intense storyline. Blood. Violence. Scorching sex.
I loved everything about that novel, which was new to me as I’d never read anything like it before. I’d discovered my own guilty pleasure. Shortly after, I decided that I wanted to write like her. I wanted to write as good as her. Hers was the voice I wanted to emulate.
I left fan fiction in the dust after that—okay not totally. I did one or two a year afterwards.
But after reading Cerulean Sins, an entire wealth of characters filled my head, telling me their stories with loud voices, drowning out the desire to write about someone else’s character anymore.
My earlier original works copied hers, albeit terribly. I created my own vampire-filled world to match hers. I had my own characters with tortured pasts, and not-too-bright futures. I tried to incorporate violence, blood, sex, and all the dark, angsty things I secretly liked into my stories. I’ve developed them into characters so loved that even my sister praises my characters and has written individual poems about them.
Over the years, I’ve come to love these characters and this world the most, because they are inspired by one of my favorite authors. I do admit, I have copied some things from her works for my own—all in the form of sincere flattery, promise—but they have come to take on their own voice, attitude, and have their own stories to tell.
Though they got their start due to what I read, it was my mind that gave birth to them. Cerulean Sins was the catalyst, and I will always be forever grateful to Laurell K. Hamilton for that.
Her bold stories have also caused me to write seriously, in the hopes of someday being just as good a writer as she is someday.