As some of you might have noticed, I like to blog. But what a lot of you may not know is that I also write stories. It’s true! I’m an author. An unpublished author who can’t seem to finish a story, but an author in my own right. In fact, other than journaling, which I’ve been doing for almost 20 years, it’s what I do the most. And okay…I’ll admit…I actually haven’t worked on any kind of story in six months. But sometimes a writer just needs a break. I was working really hard on it….I just got overwhelmed…and slightly lazy…and…oh yeah…this happened:
It’s a common ailment amongst us writers, and other writers will tell you that the only way to cure writer’s block is to JUST KEEP WRITING. A bunch of crap might come out as a result, but at least you’re getting it out. And hey…something good may just come out, too.
As for me…well, I just stop writing.
But today I came across the last story I was working on – a young adult novel about…well, it’s currently being changed for the 600th time, so I don’t really know what it’s about – and I totally got in the mood to work on it again. It’s been six months – I think I can return to it with fresh eyes and a fresh perspective. So immediately following the publishing of this post, I will write at least one page of my soon-to-be-determined Great American Young Adult Novel.
But before that, let me tell you a little bit about my history of writing stories. It’s somewhat hilarious, if I do say so myself, but aren’t all hobbies?
It all started back in 1993, back when I used things known as pen and paper. I was 14 years old at the time, and my bestie and I were hardcore journalers with huge crushes on unattainable boys. And then came the day when I decided, “Hey, instead of just daydreaming about meeting Christian Bale and having him fall head over heels in love with me, I’ll write a story about it!” I’m serious…this is what went through my mind. So I did what any other semi-normal 14-year-old would have done: I picked a name for the heroine of my amazing soon-to-written story. I was watching the TV show “Salute Your Shorts” at the time, and one of the characters name was Dina. So I stole that name, along with the last name of one of my arch enemies – actress Fay Masterson – and voila! The name Dina Masterson was born.
Well, Dina had to have a best friend, of course, and the first name that popped into my head was Melanie. I didn’t know a Melanie at the time, so this worked for me. Her last name didn’t really matter to me, so I just picked Johnson because, well, I was 14 and I lived in Minnesota and there are a lot of Johnsons there. Melanie was red-haired, and her fiery personality matched the color of her hair. Of course. Because cliches mean nothing to 14-year-olds.
Anyway, these names may not sound important to you, but guess what…I have used these names in every story I’ve written since then. I’m serious! Almost 20 years later and Dina Masterson and Melanie Johnson still exist. The stories have fortunately evolved and gotten waaaaaaay better since the very first story I wrote…the one where Dina writes a letter to Christian Bale and tells him that she’s dying – dying!! – and that her only wish is to meet him.
Um, did I mention that Dina was lying??? Oh yeah, she totally pulled a Bobby Brady and pretended to have some fatal disease just so she could meet Christian Bale. And here’s the second kicker – Mr. Bale wasn’t even upset!!!! He had a good laugh over the whole thing and proceeded to fall in love with Dina.
Yes, I was a very talented 14-year-old author who was way ahead of her time.
Well, this started a whole series of weird stories that involved Dina meeting and falling in love with random famous people that my bestie and I were crushing on at the time. Seriously, the list of boys that Dina has dated is astounding. Check this out:
Christian Bale (see above)
Justin Timberlake (Dina was a childhood best friend and finally became more when he was an ‘N Syncer.)
Tony Lucca (I made him a typical college guy who loved frisbee or something…no mention of The Mickey Mouse Club.)
Ryan Gosling (MMC days…way before The Notebook...I think he and Dina were 14 or something when they dated.)
JC Chasez (He was on The Mickey Mouse Club as well – then again Dina and Melanie dated practically every guy on that show anyway…but in this story JC was a vampire. Yes, I totally beat Stephenie Meyer with that one.)
The Mysterious High School Boy I Had a Crush On (For privacy reasons – and because it’s super embarrassing – I won’t say the name of this person that Dina dated. But this character went on to play college basketball for the University of Michigan, with Dina being ever-supportive by his side.)
Matt Damon (This was the first guy Dina actually married…after he hit her with his car on his way home from an audition for…wait for it…Geronimo…right after he did School Ties. She was with him all throughout the Good Will Hunting stuff…they got married in 2001).
Orlando Bloom (Dina met him at drama school in England, making this the first story that took place outside of the US. This is still my longest story to date….over 600 pages…but still has no ending. It’s morphed into a different story several times, with Orlando Bloom eventually becoming Jake Gyllenhaal…but I changed his name to Jeremy Radcliffe because he was Welsh and NOT Jake Gyllenhaal. Confused? So was I. But I am proud to say that I did a HUGE amount of research for this story, research on London and Carlisle (Dina’s hometown) and all the different types of British dialects. It also probably contained my most fleshed out characters at that time, which has only gotten better.)
Jake Gyllenhaal (Like I said above, his name in the story was Jeremy Radcliffe (he was only based on The Gyllenhaal), and after I changed him from being a Welsh drama student with Dina, he became a Welsh photographer and Dina was a librarian. This also became a really long story that went absolutely nowhere. I did, however, like the character of Jeremy, and used him again in a story where he was an American photographer, not Welsh, and Dina had just gotten jilted off a reality dating show.)
Zac Efron (This is embarrassing…being 32 years old and mentioning Zac Efron’s name…but again I was just using him as inspiration for my story, my first high school story I had written in a really long time. He was the right age, and he had the right look for the character I created…once again named Jeremy Radcliffe because I can’t seem to get that name out of my head…but this guy was a total science nerd – a hot one! This story is actually one of the two that I consider myself still writing. I go back and forth.)
Chord Overstreet (It didn’t start out being him, but I made the mistake of naming my guy character Sam, and since Chord Overstreet played a guy named Sam on the show Glee, my character just sort of turned into him. This is my current current story – the one I will try to continue writing tonight…where Dina is a Swedish princess in hiding, and he’s her bodyguard. All while trying to finish their senior year of high school.)
Dina has also had some pretty interesting careers herself, next to dating all these men: elementary school teacher, sports journalist, British soap star, singer, librarian, retail manager…I even had her working in mortgage. Because only I know how boring that job really is.
You’re probably laughing at my little summaries, and you have every right to. These stories are ridiculous. But they’re so much fun to write. I love doing over-the-top amounts of research, mainly because I’m obsessed with details and making sure every fact is right. And it makes me feel like I’m actually using my English degree.
I may write another 250 stories, and maybe I’ll finish one. I probably won’t get one published, unless I’m able to quit my full-time job and devote all my time and energy to writing and finding an agent and an editor and all that crappy-sounding stuff. And that’s totally cool. Because I love writing, whether it’s a cheesy YA story with vampires or actors or science nerds, or a blog like this. Writing is what I was born to do, and it doesn’t matter if don’t make a career out if it. It’s just what I do.