Here we go again.
This post is about something I’ve blogged about countless times, on my previous creative writing blog (where it first developed) and also on my now non-existent Tumblr. So really, a blog isn’t any blog of mine unless I make a post about this, ahahah.
Creative writing has always been a passion of mine, if you will, and ever since I was a kid I’ve been spinning stories (both written and otherwise) like there was no tomorrow. I can recall a particularly proud moment in grade 5 where I completed a story that was (wait for it) a whole TEN PAGES LONG. Yep, I was a writing machine back then, that’s for sure. In high school, my writing progressed somewhat and I actually got nearly twenty thousand words on this one story (originally called “Untitled”) about a girl called Elizrah (yeah, let’s not revisit my weird name invention phase) who had to go live with her aunt and uncle and cousins (who I actually completely honestly based on a family from a book I read, lol)… But, as things tended to go in that period of my life, I never finished the story. I had this mindset where I would refuse to plan endings t0 my stories, so I’d always get really enthused about the beginning and orientation sections of my story, then it’d come to filler stuff and actually having to figure out what I wanted to happen, and things would just fall apart. I kept that “creative process” for a long time and at school creative writing camps I actually began to develop more of a taste for poetry and descriptive prose over formal narratives. I found with poetry and passages/prose/whatever you want to call it, I could just put whatever was floating through my mind down on the page, not needing any character development or thoughts of narrative structure, I guess. About 18 months ago (if I’m recalling all of this correctly), I was in a bit of a writing mood and somehow managed to come up with what has since been termed “All he had was a letter” (I worked really hard on the title, guys.)
All he had was a letter.
A tired-looking, crinkled page of writing. The top left corner was torn, the ink had faded, but to him that didn’t matter. What mattered were the words. The words that were written with love, with truth, with him in mind. The letter, it had her scent. It had her scent. It had her warmth, her happiness, a glimpse of her pain. The words, they had her voice. They had her rhythm, her spirit, her sense of pride.
All he had was a letter.
The envelope had been lost, years ago. It was the letter that mattered. The letter was the window into the world her never knew. The world he saw in photographs, heard in stories, sensed in other people’s eyes. The eyes of the old, those who remembered. Remembered her, her smile, her soul. Those who remembered were those who knew the truth. They all knew, but all he had was a letter.
I kept it to myself for a little while, fine-tuning everything, before I posted it on this creative writing blog thing I used to have, and showed it to my dear friend Adam (I think this is how it all panned out, anyway), who suggested it would make a good prologue to a story. Soon enough, I’d rediscovered another passage I’d written six months previous, inspired by
how good of a stalker I am an observation I had in literature class one afternoon of two of my classmates (who would later become good friends of mine, funnily enough). The original passage went like this…
They sat at the last desk in the back row of the classroom, writing furiously as the teacher spoke and made dot points on the board about the literature novel. The girl, with flowing, deep brown hair and tan skin, seemed so natural in her pose, head propped up with one hand, the other clutching a pen. Her eyes appeared to shine with life, and the smile spread wide across her face gave her whole sense of being a lifting presence. The boy seated beside her, his face crumpled in concentration, was fair-skinned, with light brown hair that had subtle curls through it. He was focused on the teacher and the movement of her hand as she wrote upon the board. Then, for a moment, his gaze shifted to the girl alongside him. He took in her every curve, every dimple, every inch of her being. He smiled as she laughed at something, and his eyes, too, seemed to shine with life. Beneath the table, their feet rested on top of one another comfortably, as if that was the way it had always been. The level of togetherness was so natural, so present, it was clear they had a connection that went much further than sharing a desk, sharing a laugh, sharing a breath.
And as I worked more and more on the story, the characters of Tom and Ellie emerged. I find as I’ve grown as a writer, I’ve tended less and less to base characters solely on people I know in real life; they become more of a combination of the characteristics of people I know, and Tom in particular was no exception. Ellie’s a bit of a mystery to me so far, but I can quite clearly recognise who Tom is made up from. I’m not actually going to tell you who those people are though, because there’s no fun in that! I slowly began weaving the characters into the content I already had: Continue reading