Welcome to the latest installment of the Forward Motion Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour! We’ve gathered several writers from amateur to professional, and we discuss one topic each month. This month’s theme is about my earliest writing dreams.
I always loved story time as a kid. My mother read me Grimm’s Fairy Tales before bed every night. (I’d sneak the book down from my dresser sometimes to look at the woodcut illustrations in our edition.) You can never have too many stories about elves and shoemakers, you know.
In 3rd grade, my class was given the assignment of writing our very own short story! Up until then, I’d never actually considered the fact that people wrote these things…they just existed in my world. What a novel concept! (Pun intended.) I promptly went to work.
To be honest, I haven’t a clue what the story was about nor do I recall actually writing it. I remember being pleased with myself for using slang in the dialogue, though. “See ya later” as opposed to “See you later” mostly. I worked hard to make the dialogue sound exactly as if someone spoke it aloud, repeating it verbally before studiously scribbling it down.
The day the story was due, I sat proudly awaiting my turn to read my story to the class. My stomach was atwitter with nervousness, but I knew my tale was the best one there. I’d worked so very hard on it! My hopes for reading my tale with the proper verve and inflection were dashed when the teacher told us to hand our paper to the person behind us.
A skinny boy with tousled dark hair, Elliott was the epitome of an eight-year-old boy. Scabbed elbows and knees, constant runny nose in the winter, gaps in his teeth where he’d recently lost one to the Tooth Fairy. He always smelled like sweat and dust and dog after recess. For a boy he was all right. We got along well enough. Though disappointed at not being allowed to read my opus, it wasn’t a big deal…until he got up, cleared his throat, and began speaking.
Reading was not Elliott’s forte. I didn’t know him well enough to know if his mother read to him at night or not, but I’m betting the answer is no. He struggled with my story, pausing when he should be reading, stuttering over words he didn’t understand and fidgeting instead of issuing forth with my prose.
And “ya” instead of “you”? He didn’t make the connection at all. By the third repetition, he gave the teacher a painfully embarrassed look and began skipping over the word. Skipping over it! For the entire story! Do you realize how often “you” is used in dialogue?
I was mortified.
Back to the present
I laugh about it now. I doubt Elliott, wherever he is these days, even remembers the incident. Despite my long ago humiliation, I celebrated every time a fiction assignment was handed out in English class. That never changed.
I learned a valuable lesson, too, one that all writers should carry with them — never write obscure dialects in your dialogue. The reader’s ear might hear “ya” instead of “you”, but better safe than sorry.
What about you? What are your earliest dreams? Are you following them? What early lessons have you learned? Send me a comment! I’d love to hear from you and promise to respond!
Today’s post was inspired by the Merry-go-Round Blog Tour, an ongoing tour where you, the reader, travel around the world from author’s blog to author’s blog. We have all sorts of writers at all stages in their writing career, so there’s something for everyone to enjoy. If you want to get to know nearly twenty other writers, and find out what’s on their nightstands, check out the rest of the tour! On the 11th, the entry was by D. Anthony Brown. Tomorrow, see what David Bridger has to say on the matter! Happy reading!