Me as a Teenage Writer: A History

Storytime! This is my history of writing. Have I always wanted to be a writer? I’m not sure. I do know that I always wanted to create. I wanted to make music until I realized I couldn’t sing… at all. I wanted to make fashion until I realized I kind of sucked at drawing and my stitching was always uneven. I wanted to write and whoa, it kind of stuck and I came to the conclusion I was kind of good at it? (Maybe?!)

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been really into reading interviews of some of my favorite authors and many talk about how they got into writing and I noticed that a lot of them wrote fanfic. I actually never wrote fanfic despite growing up with online writing. I read a lot of fanfic, primarily Buffy fanfic. Like I would stay up until 4AM reading Buffy fanfic on LiveJournal. And I would call it quits when I disturbingly found Buffy/Giles fic and would abort asap because ew.

Ok, maybe I lied. I did write one fanfic. I wrote a Buffy/Xander fanfic when I was 12 or 13 and what the hell was I thinking back then because they’re bffs.

So, while I didn’t write fanfic like a lot of others have, I did write a lot online. A lot. Like, sooooo much. Guys. There’s years of my writing still around the internet, but I’ll be cryptic enough not to post any links.

It all started with Neopets. Yup, that sweet site that let you own made-up creatures. Well, Neopets had these online forums and one of the boards was called “Roleplaying.” This board let you create your own characters, had specific worlds, and you would write situations with other people. To get a better idea, there would be some tv/book boards say, like Harry Potter, and you would either create your own character or maybe play one of the canons and you’d write/play out original scenes with other people. So was it kind of like fanfic? Yeah, but the biggest difference with roleplaying is that you wrote with others. It was a community all in itself.

Side note: I do hope I am explaining this right. I’ve never seen people talk about this when discussing their writing histories. The best way to describe roleplaying if you don’t know is that I would write up a post, then someone else would write back in return with their character – furthering the storyline. And you would go back and forth or take turns with multiple people and it was be so much fun. I actually think I would be a pretty great co-author with someone because I learned writing with someone else probably before I even really learned to write well.

Anyway, I stuck on those boards for awhile before people I was familiar with were talking about off-site roleplaying on forums (for those of you that know what I’m talking about forum sites like proboards, invisionfree and later jcink,) that weren’t Neopets. This interested me more, so when I was around fourteen I made the jump to these forums instead. Fast-forward a little and I felt like I was bomb enough to make my own forum and I did. And not to toot my own horn, but it was pretty successful and long-running. We switched host-sites a couple times but I wouldn’t be the writer I am today if it wasn’t for the friendships I made on my site and the writing I pushed myself to explore during those years. I really crafted my writing during those years. I ran the site from when I was around fourteen until I was around… oh twenty one? That’s a lot of years. It took me through my high school and college education. I would not only be the writer I am today, but the person too because of roleplaying.

So what did I primarily write? I wrote crime fiction. It gradually went there as the site I created evolved. When I was fourteen, it focused mainly on high school characters we would create (think One Tree Hill or The OC.) However eventually, the site focused on the crime underbelly of the made-up city I had created and more characters would have more of a criminal background. Maybe you have seen some writing videos of mine where I talk about how I know a lot about organized crime? I’ve had a few people ask me how and why I know so much and this is why, haha. I would research so much about different crime organizations for my site so we came off authentic. I was super serious about getting things right. It’s also why I am so so so picky when it comes to reading criminal romances. I get so heated when mafias are written terribly.

My attempt at NaNoWriMo 2015 was mostly a bust, however I briefly talked about what I was writing about in this video. I was writing a book about criminals in the Russian Bratva. And three of my characters in that book were actually characters I played on my site, so I knew them so well and I still love them and do want to continue their story because it was wild, y’all. Maybe I will share snippets or short stories I created with them on this site. It’s definitely not YA, though. Oh no.

I’m thinking I should wrap this up, but I wanted to share how I grew up writing. Don’t get me wrong, fanfic is amazing. But there is this whole other niche on the internet of writing called roleplaying and that’s where I hung out my entire adolescence. It made me write, it made me write a lot, and it made me a better writer. Dare I say it helped me more than any writing professor I ever had did? Ok, I will. Because it’s true. Roleplaying was what made me want to be a writer when I “grew up” and made me love writing. It’s the reason I woke up and realized I was going to school in a career path I wasn’t passionate for and I changed it to English. Best decision for me.

– Lainey

5 thoughts on “Me as a Teenage Writer: A History

  1. Mirica Eclipse says:

    Hi, Laney! I wrote a few Fanfics (Star Wars books staring my sister and I when I was much younger), and I found they helped me understand writing in a new way. I didn’t have to work on developing characters or worlds because they were already developed. I learned sooo much about storytelling (plot, pacing, viewpoints, etc) while writing those fanfics. While I know it’s not for everyone, I feel like it really helped me understand some of the more subtle points of writing when I was getting stuck on things like character development and world-building. Bonus points because I broke 100k words for the first time on one of them!


  2. marsacearo says:

    NaNo is a great time, and you’re a rockstar if you’ve participating in it at all! I also started writing as a teenager (around 13) because in it I found my solace and comfort. Glad to you see growing so much in your craft 🙂


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