Reader Friday: Your First Story

Dean Koontz

“When I was eight years old, I wrote short stories on tablet paper, drew colorful covers, stapled the left margin of each story, put electrician’s tape over the staples for the sake of neatness, and tried to peddle these books to relatives and neighbors. Each of my productions sold for a nickel.” — Dean Koontz

What’s the very first story you remember writing? How old were you? What inspired it?

14 thoughts on “Reader Friday: Your First Story

  1. Oh my, that was so many years ago I can’t remember. Undoubtedly it was about horses. What I do very strongly remember is 1st or 2nd grade (whatever grade it was in the dark ages) when they first taught me how to write a full sentence. I remember the feeling of power that came over me when I realized I had the power to structure words into meaningful order with sentences and I knew that’s what I would do–create stories.

    Many decades later, I’m still in awe of the power of the written word.

  2. Not counting the dreck I wrote in creative writing class, my first ‘story’ was a four-part Highlander fan fiction, written on a computer, when I was well into my AARP years. I ran out of room for needlepoint and needed another creative outlet.

  3. My very first story was actually published. (I wasn’t one of those super-smart kids who wrote–I was too busy riding horses and trying to beat the guys!) And it was actually pre AARP. lol. But my first book was WELL after my first AARP subscription. lol

  4. Fourth grade. I checked out The School Story by Andrew clements from the library. If you’re not familiar, the book chronicles a seventh grader with and editor for a mom writing then getting published her first story. After reading it I thought, hey, maybe I can do it too, even though I’m just a fourth grader. The thing was, I had to keep it secret from everyone because post-9/11 as a Muslim, all my sentences were basically written for me and I had no creative freedom. So, even though I just wrote about white kids going on a class trip, I made sure to only do it after I passed in my work and no one was looking.

  5. My first real story was the last assignment of the year in my creative writing class in college. However, I was an adult, having gone back to college in the early 2000s. I would’ve been about 46. It was called “The Oak Tree”. My professor gave me an A+, saying I should keep writing. I’m so grateful today for that one comment speaking into my life.

    The story was about a man whose grandfather had died and left him his homestead. On the property was a giant oak tree, which symbolized for this man the permanence of family. When he was a child, the oak tree had been a fort, a spaceship, his first car (with his first date sitting beside him), a giant to slay, and, at its base, the place he and his grandfather had buried his beloved dog.

    The manuscript was handwritten in a notebook. I lost the notebook over the years since. Wish I had it back. It was a good story.

  6. In sixth grade at South Ridge Elementary School, Miss Burrows (bless her!) assigned us partners to write a story and read it out loud. We did a comedy which I mostly wrote since my partner wasn’t very into it. Everyone loved it and I was hooked. I kept writing stories and the entire class voted to cut recess short by 15 minutes every Wednesday so I could read aloud to them. They were stories about us getting trapped in a blizzard and stuff. Within a few weeks the other sixth and fifth grade classes came in to listen so I was reading to a lot of the school and the principal so I started writing him in as well. Kids were rolling on the floor laughing and the teachers were too. There was no question after that what I wanted to be when I grew up. Thanks for this topic! I hadn’t thought of it in a long time.

  7. First story, like Koontz, was about Benjamin Beaver. I drew all the illustrations and stapled it together. Can’t remember the plot. I was probably 6 or 7. When I was in junior high I started a kidnapping story with some high school students as the main characters. I had to ask my mom because I didn’t know what order the grades went after ‘freshman’. I typed it on yellow onion skin paper and loved holding the pages together. I wrote maybe 70 single spaced pages, but then I guess life happened because I never finished it. After that, you have to fast forward til I was in my 40s for further serious attempts. Thanks for the reminiscence!

  8. My first story was about my Dad and I flying a bombing mission over Germany–“they were the Germans; we were the Americans, I said.” Furthermore, I was the pilot. Dad was the bombardier. We shot down hundreds of Germans and dropped thousands of bombs.

    My aircraft of choice was a B-17 bomber.

    And, of course, we won.

  9. I can’t remember my first story, so instead I’ll tell you a more entertaining one about my son’s first story:
    When he was two or three years old, we would visit the library every week to check out an armload of kiddie books. One day I suggested he write a book. He could dictate it and I would write it down and illustrate it. Thus was born “The Andy Books” series, written on packing paper, illustrated with Crayola crayons, and taped with scotch tape.
    Over the years most of the books have gone missing, but here’s my best recollection of the first one:

    Page 1 — “Andy went outside to play.”
    Page 2 — “He fell in a puddle.”
    Page 3 — “Then he went home and took a nap.”

    Brilliant! A perfect three-act plot. Part One introduces the main character and shows him in action. Part two suggests tension and conflict. Part three is the resolution with a peaceful ending. If only I could write like that!

  10. In about 3rd grade – a short story from the pov of a turkey/Houdini main character trying to escape a roasting on Christmas day.
    Think my mum still has it somewhere.
    It was particularly memorable because pretty much every story that I’d written, up until then, ended with:
    ‘and then the next day, they died.’
    Kinda morbid, right?
    Thing is, I just always wanted my stories to have closure and death was the most final concept my young brain had to express that idea.
    Gets kind of predictable after a while though!
    Nowadays, I swear, almost all of my characters survive.

  11. I wrote my first story in the 7th grade–“Voyage to the Andromeda Galaxy,” followed by another story which I’ve forgotten the title of. I didn’t finish another until college, when I wrote a science fiction story of intrigue and betrayal, set on a colony world, for a creative writing class. The story was called “Dire Necessity,” which a college friend observed was appropriate, since I was up against a deadline to finish something 🙂

  12. My sister made me watch the movie “Old Yeller” when they ran it on TV. I was maybe six or seven. Naturally, I was hysterical. She says (I don’t remember) I ran into my room and grabbed my favorite pencil (clue there, perhaps) and some of that kid’s paper with the chunks of wood in it, and rewrote the ending. In mine, of course, the dog lived.

    In a way, 80 books in now, I’m still doing that. Happy endings.

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