A (Writing) Lesson Learned: The Woes of a Lost #NaNoWager

So, I’d like to start this off with, yes, I did win NaNoWriMo. Don’t let the title of this post fool you. However, I DID make a #NaNoWager with Taylor and Faye—and that wager entailed that the one of us who didn’t win NaNo, OR got the lowest word count (if we all won or more than one of us didn’t), would share some embarrassing writing stories with you lovely readers.

Judging by the fact that my NaNoWriMo chart looks like a staircase with all its long plateaus of wordless days, it’s no shock that I came in last, especially since Taylor and Faye are word count machines. Still, although I now have to share this very embarrassing story (which, I’ll admit, I’ve had planned out since day one), I’m pretty proud of my success this year.

Anyway, I guess I have to get on with this. No more procrastinating. And I’m even going to round this out with a writing moral at the end, so try to stick through the cringe-worthy awkwardness.

I used to write fanfiction.

No, not the cool kind. Not like, Harry Potter/Resident Evil crossovers where Voldemort is actually a zombie (does that exist? Please tell me that exists). I’m talking about EMBARRASSING fanfiction, aka Choose Your Own Adventure anime fanfics when I was a tween and guy on guy fanfiction regarding my favorite band when I was a teenager. Yeah, I didn’t have many friends in those periods of my life.

I truly, genuinely wish I had a snippet of my first anime fanfiction to share with you. It was horribly written, even for a twelve year-old, in second person. I do remember one line in particular, pretty much verbatim:

I mean, Hiei was the hottest guy in your math class. And now you had a date with him!

Are you shunning me yet?

Because I’m pretty sure not a word of it is PG, I’m not going to post a snippet of my My Chemical Romance fanfic (yup) from when I was an awkward, fangirlish teenager. But let your imagination run wild. And if you REALLY want to get an idea of what some of my old original writing looked like, here’s a hint—do enough clicking around on my Twitter/blog/etc. and you may just stumble upon some. Any links that could possibly lead to the MCR fanfic (which, yes, is still on Fanfiction.net) have since been scrubbed clean from my profiles.

However, as much as I’m seriously fighting off the urge to delete this whole post in shame right now, I’m grateful for one thing: that all the support I received from my equally fangirlish peers on Fanfiction.net and Fictionpress.com gave me the motivation to keep writing. And it’s those types of communities that eventually led me to NaNoWriMo, and then Twitter, and then, eventually, the creation of Sprint Shack! And all the support in these communities has all but shaped me as a writer these past few months.

So I’ve learned a lesson from all the bad writing, and that’s that the most cliché of all writing rules is, indeed, true: practice makes perfect. I consider myself a decent writer these days, and if I listened to my own doubts—or the few flames that I did get—I wouldn’t be here now.

And that’s the lesson that NaNoWriMo reinforces in me every year. If at first you don’t succeed, flip your inner editor off and continue on anyway.

What about you? What’s some of your most embarrassing writing? Don’t leave me out on my own, here!

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9 thoughts on “A (Writing) Lesson Learned: The Woes of a Lost #NaNoWager

  1. In junior high, during some very stressful times, I wrote … fanfiction poems for Jon Bon Jovi’s Wanted Dead or Alive. Recently during a move, I found them. I haven’t laughed that hard in ages. Wow … just … wow.

  2. I spent two years in high school carrying around an A4 lever arch file, filled with my ‘novel.’ I think it ended after about 150 pages of utter nonsense, when I wrote my MC into the middle of a forest, surrounded by about 60 or 70 other characters, all of them as well-developed as smoke (appropriately since they were all ghosts.) I tormented my friends with it every weekday, discussing plot (there wasn’t one) and characters (there were too many). I kept it for years, still in that file, until after one of our moves it got wet, and the pages stuck together and grew mould, and the ink ran, and I threw it away with a nostalgic sadness for my lost novel.

    • Oh my. First of all, I feel your pain, regardless of how bad you may have thought that novel was!. Everyone in my high school was given an “agenda book” at the beginning of the year (basically, a planner) and I often used it as a type of folder for writing ideas… I would just fold up notes and papers and stick them in, because it was always on me. Well, over a few weeks/months, I started accumulating notes for a fanfiction idea. I thought I might like to revisit a fanfiction I left unfinished. Anyway…

      After accumulating a thick stack of pages front and back with notes, quotes, and ideas, I lost the book. Thankfully it wasn’t an original idea I spent so much time mapping out, but either way, it sucked losing all that work and I never wrote that story. I called the office several times over the next few days in hopes it turned up, but all it was never found, and I was left with the horrid gut feeling that someone found it and was either a) laughing their pants off at me or b) writing my story. To this day, terrible as that story may have been, I feel its loss. WAH!

  3. My first ever novel was just one cliché after another. It was an epic fantasy that “borrowed” scene and plot ideas from the other big name books in that genre (and by “borrow”, I mean essentially copy) and I committed just about every writing sin in the book: telling instead of showing, perfect main character with as much depth as a piece of paper, a flat writing voice, poor, lengthy descriptions and terrible dialogue (within one paragraph, my MC went from sounding like a sagely old woman to a moody teenager spouting Americanisms). I subjected the poor readers on Booksie to its raw, unedited self until Rhapsody, the brave soul, stepped in, edited and taught me how to write.

    Despite how awful that first novel was, I’m so glad I wrote it and posted it online, because I learnt so much from writing it and met so many other writers as a result. I’m also ineffably grateful that it’s no longer visible to anyone’s eyes but my own.

    • I vaguely remember that! ;) Though I seem to remember I rather enjoyed the novel too.

      I feel like you’re the one who’s taught me how to write, though, since I take most of my inspiration from watching your boundless energy and enthusiasm when it comes to writing!

  4. I was about six or seven years old when I started writing fanfiction of one of my fav TV shows, VeggieTales. (Yes, my mother is very, very Christian. xD) I cringe seeing those writings now. Mom thought it was “adorable” and kept the notebook. I think I’ve safely stashed it away in the bottom of a clothes drawer so hopefully no one will find it. :P

  5. Pingback: NaNoWriMo 2014 Kick-Off! | The Sprint Shack

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