When I found out I needed to come up with a dark secret about myself, I was flabbergasted, completely stumped for weeks. Seriously. I tried brainstorming, muttering through a few ideas, only to scrap them halfway through. Then, in an act of pure procrastination, I picked up a book and read. The book (Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell) is about a girl who writes fan fiction heading off to college. About halfway through reading, that’s when it came to me. My dark secret. One I’d never told anyone.
My first foray into fiction was … fan fiction. *dun dun DUN!*
When I was maybe thirteen, I read S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders (also mentioned in Fangirl—the amount of geeking out I did when I read that chapter should have been recorded for posterity) for a class assignment. I devoured the book in a matter of hours. After that it was like a thirst was opened up inside me. The book hadn’t been long enough, the characters didn’t get enough time, they needed another adventure! I needed to read something else like it immediately. I went to the library and checked out a few other books by the same author hoping I would find that love and connection again. Unfortunately, I didn’t. Instead I went to Blockbuster (yes, this story predates both Netflix and even DVDs) and rented the movie. Again I was disappointed. The movie was good, don’t get me wrong, but it wasn’t enough.
After a few other tries with classics and popular books at the time, I was ready to give up. Until I realized my love for those characters didn’t have to end with the book. That’s when I booted up our computer (see, the story isn’t that old, my family did have a computer!), opened up whatever passed for a word doc in those days, and picked out my favorite characters, placing them in a more modern version of my own story. Eventually, I lost interest in my slow typing skills and sitting in the cold kitchen tapping away, so I switched to a pencil and paper and kept going.
I never finished that story (you’re welcome for that, because let me tell you, it was bad), or the one after that or the one after that, but eventually, years and years later, I did finally finish one of my stories (originally based loosely on some X-Men fan fiction I started writing as a teenager). The day that happened, the day I typed my first “The End” I knew this was it for me—writing was it for me.
Because I’m naturally a curious individual, I now have questions. How did you start writing? Or what started your passion for reading? And most importantly, what is your dark secret?