Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Guest Post: The Story Behind My First Story #2

I'm still out on blogging break, but I do have a guest post for you today. Please welcome back Margaret Fortune. (You can read her previous guest posts on friendship here and landing a literary agent here.)

The very first stories I ever wrote were for elementary school. They would give us these worksheets that contained a picture, along with five lines to write a story about it. I would use all five lines and then start writing up the margins. The adults were always terribly impressed. (Well, you know how easily impressed adults are!) No doubt one of these was my actual first story. However, the first story I remember writing was “The Numbers’ Birthday Party.”

This story was different. I didn’t have a worksheet; I didn’t have a drawing. I just sat down at home one day and wrote it. It was a simple tale, about a little number called 0 who was sad because all the numbers were invited to 10’s birthday party except him. I was in first grade at the time, and I had no idea the kind of stir it would create.

Before I knew it, news of my story spread around the entire school. Not only did the school newspaper do a write up about it, but I had to go to the vice-principal’s office and read it to her. What’s more, my teacher made dittos of it and handed it out to the entire class. (Dittos are those frightening purple-ink copies, for anyone not old enough to have encountered one.) I remember sitting on a stool at the front of my class reading the story aloud while the whole class followed along. In a word, the whole thing was: Terrifying! Let’s just say I wasn’t cut out for the life of a famous author at that time.

While I continued to write stories for school assignments, it wasn’t until a slow semester at college that I really started writing short stories on my own again. It was then I rediscovered how much I loved to write, and have been writing ever since. However, I have yet to encounter the same attention as an adult that I did as a child. Perhaps that’s for the best; I wouldn’t want to put my writing career on hold for yet another twenty years while I got over all the fuss!

On an interesting side note, my original title for the story was “0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10.”  Pure literary genius, I know! However, the teacher apparently didn’t see it that way, as she changed it to “The Numbers’ Birthday Party.” Even in first grade, the “publisher” still changed my title. Well, that’s the publishing world for you! I guess some things never change.

Margaret's Bio:
I’m from Wisconsin, home of the six-month winter. With five foot snow banks and temperatures that could generously be termed as “frigid” for half the year, it is, needless to say, a good place to curl up on the couch and write. I have short stories published in magazines such as Nth Zine and Neo-opsis Science Fiction Magazine, and am currently being represented by Lindsay Ribar of Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. I also write customer service emails for a living, so who knows! If you’ve ever gotten a customer service email back from someone named Margaret…maybe that was me!

Thank you, Margaret. I'd love to read that story sometime *hint, hint*.

For readers: Do you have an anecdote or strong memory of trying to write your first story? I'd love to feature you on the blog. Contact me (see the sidebar) or share in the comments.