In October 1991, when I was only 10 years old, my homeroom and English primary school teacher requested we all write a story for Halloween that night and then read it in class the next day. I can’t remember where the story came from, and before this day, I had no inclination of writing a word. I was quite happy to just enjoy the written word. So I was surprised that when I sat down to write, the words and story just flowed out of me. With an exuberance that I still share today, I finished the story that night, made a few edits and then gave it to my parents to proof it. I can’t even begin to say how excited I was at the story, and I was ecstatic when my parents shared the same excitement.
That story I wrote was called The House. It’s two main characters were Shannon and Amanda, as they were my first and only friends at the time. I wrote a story about two girls playing baseball in their front yard. They lived across the street from a 200 year old house, and they were just normal kids until something major happened. They accidentally broke a window in the house when a baseball flew into it. They went in and suddenly this old abandoned house wasn’t so abandoned. It turned out that a witch lived there with a ghost friend, and when they entered the house, the witch, Tiffany (a tormentor of my early years haha) realised they were the girls she was looking for. There was a prophecy that they would stop her chances of taking over the world. So she captured them and locked them up. Then she started her plan of taking over the world. She made her ghost companion, Andy (the meanest boy I knew at the time. hah), alive again. While she was taking over the world, a good witch, Kristy (the girl I wanted to be friends with) came and rescued them out of their cell. She explained that they had magic too and it was time to defeat the evil Tiffany. Armed with their power, they came out of their cells. Andy was outside, but he was too busy jumping up and down to be real again. He killed himself by jumping up and down so much that a chasm opened up and he was consumed by oblivion. (I used oblivion in the original story! How does a 10yr old know and understand that word? The girls find Tiffany and defeat her with a fireball from Shannon and some other awesome power of Amanda’s.
It’s not remotely a scary story, but it had been the most fun I had ever had to that point. I wish I still had this original version, just for the giggles. The next day, I cannot remember if it was well received. In fact, all I can remember is my teacher being worried about me reading it because of its length. It was 5 pages long. But I did anyway, and I was chuffed that I could finally do something to that horrible Andy. I killed him off in my story. haha
After that, I decided it should be a book. So I wrote chapters at school and home. Each chapter was actually like a short story, self-contained and other than being directly after the chapter before, had no real continuity. I was convinced I could be the youngest author ever. The stories were amateurish, at best, and though at the time I thought they were great for adults, they were supremely juvenile.
So when I was 18 I read through the book. It was 20 chapters long, and ended with a final battle against the devil and Shannon being a spokewoman (married with a baby) for the good witches. I laughed at how terrible it was and told myself it would make a great children’s book. For years I toyed around with it, and finally started writing it around 2003. It turned rather dark very quickly, though, so I named it a Teen novel and ultimately finished it in 2005.
Shannon & Amanda may have a couple elements that remain from the original story. But for the most part, it’s like a fanfiction of that first one. I’m just ashamed that it’s taken me 24 years to feel like I can get it right.