A consistent goal of mine has been to become a creator of some variety, but it had been difficult to settle on any one kind as a child. When I was younger, I wanted to make wonderful foods and become a world class chef, but that never stuck. As I grew older, I wanted to become a visual artist, but I gave up because I did not know where to start. Eventually, I settled on becoming a writer, because of the prevalence written (or typed) words have in our modern, multimedia age. However, I did not want to become just any kind of writer, I wanted to be a creative writer and perfect the craft of storytelling.
My first experience in this discipline started when I was hardly a teenager. One of my friends, Taylor, was bent on making a homemade animated series about all of the imaginary alter ego’s of our friend group. We had discussed at length what they would be like — her character, along with another friend’s, would be the leaders, as they were the oldest and most experienced; my other friend would the navigator, so keen on exploration that he often gets himself into trouble; next, the friend who was the most skilled in games would be the best fighter amongst us, knowing exactly how to finish a fight with style; finally I would be the informant, as I was the kindest and most supportive of the group. We talked a lot about what exactly the leadership dynamic would be like and how reclusive the skilled fighter among us would be. We meticulously crafted what troubles our navigator would end us up in but how he would be endearing all the while. And we wondered what kinds of things my alter ego, the informant, would know about the world and how deductive she would have to be in order to understand the variety of fantastical cultures we would discover and interact with. I had a lot of information to learn, and I soaked it all up because I truly enjoyed being around this group of friends. And when I had taken it all in, Taylor had asked me how my character would be introduced as the last member of the team to join, which would complete the ensemble.
That night, I began thinking of what kind of person each of my friend’s characters started out as. There were the bickering leaders, the rash adventurer, and the overly silent ninja-like warrior. And my character was shy, hesitant, and always keen on getting as much information as possible before acting, sometimes taking too long to act. So I racked my mind as to why she acted in this way. Eventually, I came up with the answer, and from this answer I found her origin, and from this origin I found inspiration, and from this inspiration I began to write.
It was like nothing I had experienced before. The words poured out of my mind and onto the paper as if I was retelling someone a story I had heard a million times. All the ideas I had flowed out, one after another, and tied together easily, despite the phrasing being cheesy and childish and the pacing being a bit off and amateurish. It was the first time I had ever written, created my own work of fiction into physical, tangible words that could be read and reread and understood. I worked all night and all morning on it and finished. When we met with each other again, I was excited to see what they all thought.
I gave Taylor my story, anxious for her and all of our friends to read it. They laughed at all of my jokes and made tons of remarks like “that’s so accurate, it’s scary.” Then, they provided their verdict. They all applauded me for my writing. It was an invigorating experience and it motivated me to make more stories independently even if I was still working off of the existing dynamics I already knew, like those that existed within my circle of friends.
Several years later, I continue to write. I am still working on my special craft of storytelling, not just through words on paper, but through skillfully spoken words as I read them aloud. I am keen to make something like that old universe I made with my old friends made together a reality and perfect it, even though they had long since abandoned the project. And I am especially keen to make more, creating new worlds, new characters, and new tales because I love my new craft — the craft of storytelling.