Turns out, pretty much yeah.
When I was in junior high school I wrote a very earnest, very looooong play called Phaeton's Chariot of the Sun. It was about an ancient but advanced civilization on the island of Atlantis. When the island gets destroyed in a nuclear power accident, only a scholar and his daughter are left to rail about the dangers of nuclear power as they sail away from the sinking island in their little boat.
Ouch! Just writing the synopsis makes me wince-but at the time I thought it was utterly brilliant. I think it was the first time I wrote something that gave me that thrill of accomplishment all of us writers are addicted to.
The first time people told me I could write, at school, I guess I was about 13/14 and we used to have to write stories from prompts - actually I think it was part of the English exams. I wrote one about a ghost looking out at the sea from a window and remembering her youth, another about the end of the world when a guy woke in an alley way to discover he was the last person left in the world, and another on an old bed ridden man living out the remains of his days in a haunted bedroom.
Guess I was a fun child LOL - too bad it took me several decades to try again!
The first story I remember writing was, I think, when I was seven. It was a day in the life of a Mexican cat. (I lived in Massachusetts, mind you, and had never been south of Maryland. I did have a cat, so I had that going for me.) As I recall, there was an evil dog involved. Also tortillas.
I wrote a lot of stories when I was little, most of them gloomy or ridiculous or both gloomy AND ridiculous, but my first actual real novel was called "Liz in Artland," written when I was 11, and it totally took over my brain for some months. I had the whole story all worked out: Liz was going to be sucked into a museum catalog and find herself in a world where paintings by Paul Klee and Marc Chagall and Vassily Kandinsky had all come to life! and where monsters in Surrea, the dreadfully scary land of the Surrealists, were about to destroy the Castle of the Mind! which would mean the end of all painting and drawing everywhere unless Liz could SAVE THE DAY!! Which she was totally going to do in a really dramatic scene involving filing cabinets! You know what? Just thinking about "Liz in Artland" still makes me happy.
In real life, what happened was I wrote the first thirty-five pages and then the story got worn in a rain boot, which was completely my own fault in a very complicated way, and some of it was destroyed, and that was the end of "Liz in Artland."
I got busted for autographing the flyleaf of my parents' books before I actually knew how to read and write.
Later I got busted for writing stories on the paper lining my parents' chests of drawers, the inside of cupboards, and other such things.
I bought an old typewriter with my pocket money at an antique fair when I was eleven and started writing a novel. Only no one ever told me to write what you know. I wrote a cowboy story about taming a wild horse. I was a London schoolgirl. What did I know about such things? But there was a cute boy in it. I knew about cute boys.
For the final unit of my sixth grade year, my language arts class was given blank hardcover books (oh, the delicious blankness!!!) to fill with our own fiction. I was deliriously excited about this, having not known that such a beautiful thing as blank hardcover books existed in the world, and I proceeded to write a giant, ridiculous fantasy tale involving a rebellious princess, an evil enchantress, a golden eagle and a crystal orb, etc., etc. My handwritten story was much too long to fit in the blank hardcover book, so I had to type it (on a typewriter, as these were pre-home-computer days; lots of Wite-Out was involved). Even typed and single-spaced, it was still too long to fit in the precious book, so I had to glue in extra pages to accommodate the words and illustrations--but at long last, my work was finished.
During the final week of school, the sixth graders all brought in our books and read one another's work, which was thrilling and terrifying.Â And then, on the very last day, when I went to the language arts classroom to bring my work home, I discovered that my book had disappeared. The teacher and I looked everywhere, but it was gone. Someone else had taken it. Of course, I was disappointed that something I'd worked so hard on had vanished...but even at the time, I remember thinking that it was pretty cool that one of my classmates had liked my (terrible) book enough to want to keep it for him- or herself.
The first full-length novel I wrote was called "The Eye of the Ancients"--it was 365 pages long and probably had an equal number of various characters and subplots. It was a rambling, cliched, mess of a first-draft quest story starring a female heroine, Galena, and I was incredibly proud of it. It was printed on enormous feed paper on a Commodore 64. I was 11 years old. I still have a copy to this day.
Lisa Gail Green
My first story was about a talking giraffe. I was seven, and my mother, the librarian, bless her, thought it was a masterpiece. Honestly though, it was her encouragement, legitimate or not (ahem) that gave me the confidence to go for it so many years later. :D I suspect she still has it. Let's hope it never mysteriously surfaces anywhere!
The first story I wrote, in first grade, was told from the point of view of an ice-cream cone being eaten. And my parents still DO have a copy of that one.
The first full book I wrote, in third grade, was about a girl who got trapped on a desert island with her faithful and loyal collie dog. It was basically a mash-up of The Black Stallion and Lassie. Only, a lot less sophisticated than that sounds. I hadn't quite mastered breaking text into paragraphs yet, so I figured I would have to hire someone to do that for me before I got it published.
Can you see the genius fairly sticking out of all these early masterpieces? For my own part, my first story was about a Very Friendly Monster who had to take over the class when the teacher ran away screaming at the sight of him. She had very little imagination (unlike me, obviously).
What about you all? Do you have special first stories that clearly marked the path you were to take? Please share!