Reacting To Old Stories (Part Two)

Read Part One.

Last week I delved into the very first story I ever wrote–a Ninja Turtle fan fiction. That story was so popular on FanFiction, but looking back on it now I can’t help but wonder why.

I wrote many stories based off of the Ninja Turtles. So, in May 2008 I wrote another chapter story based off the TV show.

Re-reading the story now, it’s not great. But it was probably the best piece of writing I posted on that website… and I had posted 58 stories on there.

So, even though this was one of my best stories, reading it now kind of makes me cringe. I want to edit the whole thing. I have improved so much since then.

This story was titled “Lost.” It had 22 chapters and about 41,000 words. So, here I go again… Nit-picking my terrible writing. I hope you guys find this hilarious just as I find it embarrassing.

Reacting to Old Stories (part two)

New York City was quiet that night. The night was quiet too. Although the night was dark and chilly, it was peaceful. Everyone was at home with their families. No one running the streets, except for the homeless people, and no one running from the police. Tonight was a safe night for everyone from everyone.

I love how the first two sentences are completely redundant. Though, I have to give myself some credit. I was trying to add detail.

A shadow leaped onto an apartment building rooftop. It stopped and looked back, as if it was waiting for something. Or someone. Another shadow leaped onto the same rooftop, following the other one. New York City was sleeping and quiet, except for these two. No one noticed them, no one heard them, and no one cared. The two shadows walked a little bit further, but then stopped. One of them peered over the side of the rooftop, looking down into the streets.

“It’s a quiet night.” He sighed.

“Too quiet.” The other walked up beside him and looked across the other rooftops.

I believe we’ve established that this night is (drumroll, please) quiet.

“Its 3:44 a.m., Raph,” The first one glanced at his watch and then turned to look at his brother. “If anyone is planning on doing anything, I doubt they will do it tonight. No one is out there.”

It’s.

“So you’re saying we should stop patrolling for the night?” Raph turned to his brother. “Donnie, just because it’s quiet, doesn’t mean nothing is gonna happen.”

Donnie sighed. “I know what you mean. But it’s getting late and we’ve been out here since before midnight. We were supposed to be back at the lair around 2 o’clock.” He leaned against the side of the rooftop. He was tired and bored. He wanted to go back home and get some sleep. The only people the saw tonight were police cruisers patrolling the streets. If anything happened, it would be taken care of.

Raph shook his head. “No one is going to notice.”

“Yes, they will notice,” Donnie rolled his eyes. “Master Splinter is probably still awake waiting for us to return home.”

“So call him.” Raph replied, without any hesitation. He knew that his brainiest brother was probably right. Although, he still had this feeling that something bad was going to happen. He wasn’t sure what it was or when it was going to happen, but he just knew he had to do his job patrolling the streets and take care of any goons who try to mess up the peace in New York City.

“Raph,” Donnie stated. He knew his brother wasn’t serious. He also knew his brother was stubborn and wasn’t going to give in that easily. “When are you going to realize that nothing is going to-” Police sirens interrupted Donnie as he spoke. He jumped and turned his head in the direction of the sirens. He couldn’t see anything, but he could still hear them. They were getting farther away, too. “-Happen.” He finished, shocked that something was happening now. Right when he was about to make Raph go home with him.

These paragraphs bother me.

Raph took out his Sais out of his front belt and twirled them around in his fingers. “Still say nothing is going to happen tonight? Still say tonight is a quiet night?” Raph asked.

Donnie took out his Bo staff from his back and held it with both of his hands. “Alright, Raph, I get the point. You proved me wrong this one time. Let’s just go take care of this.”

“With pleasure.” Raph smiled, as he began to run towards the next rooftop. He was waiting for a fight. Nothing has happened all night and he wanted this so badly. He was running faster than he ever had in a long time. The police sirens were getting softer and softer. He and Donnie were losing them. He wanted to stop whatever was going on and if he was going to do that, he couldn’t lose the police.

Donnie was right on his brother’s tail. Stubborn, stubborn, stubborn. Why did some stupid bad guy decide to commit a crime now? Donnie thought to himself, as he leaped from one rooftop to the other.

“I see police lights up ahead!” Raph called to Donnie.

Donnie shook off all of his thoughts about Raph and paid more attention to what was going on in front of them. He looked ahead of him. Besides the back of his brother’s head, he could see red and blue lights flashing and the sirens were beginning to get louder. “Did they stop or are we actually catching up to them?” Donnie cried out to his brother, trying to beat the pitch of the sirens.

Raph stopped and ran over to the side of the rooftop. He pointed to across the street, where a police cruiser was parked. Whatever was going on, it was happening just around the corner. “That answer your question?” He asked.

Donnie stopped next to Raph and looked over the scene. “That’s the bank. It looks as though someone broke into it. Did the police catch him?”

Raph shrugged. “I can’t really see. Let me get a better look.” Raph ran over to the next rooftop and ran over as far as he could in that roof. He could now see around the corner. He could hear people in the apartments next door and across the street waking up, turning on their light, and opening their windows to see what was going on. Because of them and the sirens, Raph couldn’t really hear the police officers talking among themselves and because of the flashing red and blue lights on the police cars; he couldn’t really see what was going on.

I tell a lot, huh? I barely show anything. I guess that’s something I’ve always had trouble with!

Donnie watched his brother try to get a better look. Then, two police officers turned around the corner and Donnie was able to see them. The two of them were getting into the police car that was parked there.

“He got away.” One of them said.

“There are no witnesses. We’re going to have to deal with fingerprints for now.” The other replied.

“Or wait until he strikes again.” The first one sighed.

Donnie shook his head. Great… He got away. And with how much money? This is a great ending to tonight.

“Donnie!”

Donnie broke out of his thoughts once again when he heard Raph call his name. He twisted his head from the police officers to the other rooftop where his brother was standing.

“There he goes!” Raph called to him, pointing. Raph ran back over to the rooftop where Donnie was waiting and started backtracking to where they came from. “Stop day dreaming and catch him!” He ordered.

Donnie started to run after his brother, but he still couldn’t see the robber.

“There he is!”

Donnie paused when he heard one of the police officers call to another officer. He looked ahead of himself and looked a little past Raph. That’s when he could see a little shadow running away from a police car. Got’cha! Donnie smiled. He clenched his Bo staff tighter. If this guy is running, he’s going to be hard to catch and he’s surely going to put up a fight.

“If this guy is running, he’s going to be hard to catch.” Well… Yeah.

Raph stopped and turned around to Donnie. “Where’d he go?” He asked.

Donnie stopped right behind Raph and looked around. “Um, I don’t know…” Donnie realized that the robber had suddenly disappeared.

“Do the police know where he went?” Raph asked. He walked over to the side of the rooftop, breathing heavily from all the running. He was looking for the police officers.

Donnie didn’t answer. He wasn’t sure if Raph was talking to him or to himself. Donnie looked down into the streets and noticed the police car cruising by slowly. “They’re looking for him.” Donnie finally confirmed. The police had lost the robber as well.

Raph grunted and slammed his fist on the side of the roof. “How did he just disappear like that?!” Raph looked all around and watched the police car drive by the two of them. They had their flashlights shining out the windows of the car, looking for this guy. Raph shook his head. “They’re never going to find him that way.” Raph stated and looked over to the alley in between the roof they were standing on and the roof next to them.

Donnie nodded. “Yeah, you’re right. I think he got away,” Donnie looked around. He couldn’t see this guy anywhere. It was like he went invisible or something. When he heard no response from his brother, he looked beside him. “Raph?” He asked, when he noticed his brother was gone.

“Sh!” Raph scolded, putting up his hand to shut Donnie up.

Donnie walked over to Raph. What is he doing? He better not have found any one else doing more crimes. He looked down into the alley way and gasped. There he was. Peeking out from the corner. He hid in the alley as the police car passed him. “We have to stop him.” Donnie stated.

The robber looked over the sides of the alley’s walls. He looked to his left and to his right. Since he didn’t see any flashlights, or red and blue lights, and he didn’t hear any sirens, so he knew that the police had passed. He took a step out and was about to make a run for it again.

Raph nodded to Donnie. “Done.” He stated and he jumped down right at the entrance to the alley.

He startled the robber, who jumped back towards the dead end of the alley. He glared at Raph and tried to run around him.

Donnie jumped down after and landed next to Raph, blocking the robber again. “Going somewhere?”

The robber took a couple steps back until he was a good distance away from Raph and Donnie. He was shocked that he was being stopped by two giant turtles and not the police. Although, he didn’t really care about that right now. If he stayed there any longer, he was going to get caught by the police. He glared at the two brothers. “Get out of my way. This has nothing to do with you!”

Donnie and Raph both dropped their guard and exchanged confused glances at each other. They were both thinking the same thing. “He” sounds like a little girl. That was not what they were expecting. They were expecting a tough male to start fighting them.

That’s sexist…

She stepped out of the darkness and into the moonlight. “I said,” She repeated herself. “Get out of my way.”

Donnie and Raph both turned back to the little girl and paused. The two of them didn’t know what to do. She seemed like a tough little girl who was defiantly younger than Raph and Donnie.

Defiantly? I think I meant “definitely.”

She rolled her eyes. “Are you deaf or do you not understand?” She called out to them. “Get out of my way!”

Donnie finally spoke up. “We can’t do that.”

Oh, cliffhanger! Look at me go.

All things considered, that wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. My writing still was pretty bad, but I “defiantly” improved from the very first story I wrote and posted on that site.

I’d like to think that my writing has improved a lot since then as well.

This time in a few years, I’m sure my writing will improve again!

How has your writing improved over the years? Do you remember the first few stories you wrote? Let me know in the comments below!

rachel poli sign off

Twitter | Tumblr | Pinterest | GoodReads | Double Jump

Advertisements

Reacting To Old Stories (Part One)

A few weeks again, I talked about why I love fan fiction.

There was a website I loved called FanFiction. I started my first story when I was 10 and posted it on my sister’s account, but when I became old enough to have my own account I “revised” the story. I updated it because 13-year-old-me thought 10-year-old-me had horrendous writing.

Well, now I’m 23 and I’m thinking that 13-year-old-me had horrendous writing just as much as 10-year-old-me.

So, as embarrassing as this is going to be, I’m going to pick apart the very first “novel” I ever wrote.

Well. The first chapter, anyway. It’s called “Four Fathers” and was fan fiction for the 2003 TV show, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Reacting to Old Stories (part one)

That evening Donny, Mikey, Leo, and Raph were training in their rooms. Until, I came down.

“AHHHHHHHHHHH!” Master Splinter yelled.

Ah, yes. I remember I loved using all caps.

All of the turtles ran out of their rooms and went to Master Splinter.

“Master Splinter! Are you all right?” Leo asked.

“I am fine, Leonardo. But who is this?” Master Splinter asked.

“I’m not quite sure but whoever she is we need to figure out her name and get her back where she-”

“OH SHUT UP, DONNY! Don’t get into your little speeches!” Raph yelled.

“I wasn’t. I had one more word and then I was done.” Donny corrected.

You also have to appreciate the lack of description here.

“Hi.” I said to Raph.

“Hi.” Raph said annoyed.

“Hi,” I said again.

“Hi.”

“Hi.”

“Hi.” He wasn’t starting to look to happy. On the other hand, he didn’t look happy to begin with!

“Hi.”

Well, this is annoying…

“I SAID HI ALREADY! KNOCK IT OFF!” he yelled.

“Your mean!” I shouted back.

You’re.

“HA! DID YOU HEAR HER? HEE,HEE! SHE SAID YOUR MEAN! HA,HA,HA,HA,HA,HA!” Mikey laughed.

“I’LL BE UP IN MY ROOM.” Raph stormed up the stairs.

There goes the all caps again. Also, you’re.

“Michelangelo…do not tease your brother like that.” Master Splinter ordered.

“Why not?! It’s funny!”

Yes. Because Mikey teasing his brother is priority number one when they have a strange young girl in their home. In the sewers. How did she get down there again…?

“Hi. My name is Donatello, but you can call me Donny. What’s your name?” Donny asked.

“…” I answered.

I didn’t answer anything.

“O-k. Then why are you down here?” he asked

“Why are you down here?” I asked right back.

“This is my home.”

“This is my home.” I snickered.

“No, it’s not.”

“No, it’s not.”

“Leo…she’s copying me,” he whined.

“Leo…she’s copying me.”

This is still annoying.

“Let me try. Hi.-” Leo said.

“Shut up.” I told him.

“WELL! That does it! I’ll be up in my room, thank you very much!” He went up after his brother.

Leo’s temper is just as bad as Raph’s, apparently.

“Bye-bye!” I waved.

“Ok, this is going to be tougher that I thought.” Donny said.

Than.

“Hello. What is your name?” Master Splinter asked.

“…” I didn’t answer.

“How come she has a hard time keeping her mouth shut, but when you ask her her name, why doesn’t she talk?” Master Splinter asked.

“I don’t know. Maybe she doesn’t have one. Do you have a name?” Donny asked.

“Your cute,” I answered. I think he turned red.

You’re. And how old is this chick?

“O-k, then.”

“Hee, hee!” Mikey laughed.

“Don’t start! If you think this is so funny, than you try,” Donny said.

“Ok I will! Do you have a name?” Mikey asked.

“No,” I answered.

“Ok. We’ll have to name her.” Mikey yawned. “I’ll be up in my room.”

Okay, bye?

Master Splinter and Donny couldn’t believe how he just did it like that. They couldn’t do anything but give eachother blank stares. The next day Donny came running down stairs begging for Master Splinter to let them keep me. He had suddenly became attached to me. I slept in Donny’s room because Leo and Raph didn’t want me because I was mean to them. So with Mikey, he wanted me but Donny didn’t want me too because otherwise, we would be belching all night. So Master Splinter said yes to keeping me.

Wow! An actual paragraph! Except not really… Also, I’m not going to go into the many things that are wrong with this block of text. Though I counted quite a few things horribly wrong with these seven sentences.

“This is so great! We can be Five Fathers!” Donny said excidedly.

Roll credits! Oh, wait…

“For the next 5 months it will be four. I’m going to Washington, bye!” Master Splinter said.

Washington?! Why is the rat-ninja master going to Washington when they live in the sewers of New York? What business does he have in Washington?

“Well that’s not too bad. The four of us can handle a little girl.”

“Three of us. I’m teaching a karate class all day today. Bye,” Raph said.

But they’re hiding in the sewers. Humans aren’t supposed to see them. Where is Raph teaching this karate class…?

” Ok then three of us…”

“Two, I’m helping out at the Daycare Center all day, bye,” Mikey said.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Teacher!

“Make that-”

“-one. I have to go food shopping and run a lot of errands so I won’t be back until at least 8. See ya later! Good luck!” Leo said.

Well, then. I guess someone has to get food and stuff, but still. They’re hiding in the sewers.

“Help me.” Donny pleaded to nobody. I just smiled evilly.

And that’s the end of chapter one.

Re-reading this sent me right down memory lane. I laughed, I cried, and I cringed… But not for the right reasons.

I cannot express enough how much I want to edit this thing. Halfway through this post, I forgot I was just commentating on it and I started adding more description and deleting stupid dialogue. Then I realized that’s not the point of this post and had to un-do everything and bring back the cringe-worthy writing.

But I can’t complain too much. The writing and story are horrible, yes, but look how much my writing has grown? I wrote this when I was 10-years-old. The story was published on the website on January 27, 2005. That was nearly 12 years ago!

It’s amazing how much my writing has improved, how much I’ve learned. And it’s also amazing that I’ve stuck with writing through all these years.

So, as embarrassing as posting this story is, feel free to laugh and enjoy the mistakes and terrible writing. Because if I didn’t write this story, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

What’s the earliest story you ever wrote? How has your writing improved since then?

Read Part Two.

rachel poli sign off

Twitter | Tumblr | Pinterest | GoodReads | Double Jump

Bringing Up Baby: That Story You Still Love

Guest bloggers visit my website twice a month on Tuesday and Thursday. If you would like to be part of this, feel free to check out the Be A Guest Blogger page.

This week’s guest post is brought to you by Gwen. Thanks, Gwen!

I’ve been writing since I was four. Well, scribbling, but I swore they were stories. Seeing as even I can’t read them anymore, I can claim they were the best I’ve ever written.

When I was twelve, I read a dozen books by Raphael Sabatini and a dozen more by Tamora Pierce. By accident, I stumbled onto the idea that would obsess the next fifteen years of my writing life: seafaring men and women with magic and Shakespearean family drama.

It’s not difficult to see why I would want to spend hundreds of hours writing about swashbucklers and sea battles, cannons and fire-conjurers, hurricanes and kings. I dragged this story with me as I grew up, kept coming back to it over and over. I had a thousand edited pages of a trilogy when I turned eighteen and realized that I was both totally in love with the story, and too bored to continue.

As it turns out, it’s difficult to take a story with you through adolescence. I’ve been rewriting, rebuilding, and slowly working out how to do it:

  1. Don’t be afraid to get messy.

When I was twelve, I thought orphans felt free, not lost or abandoned. When I was twelve, I thought swordfights didn’t have to end bloody. When I was twelve, I thought thieves were romantic, and getting robbed never hurt anyone. I have a fair amount of nostalgia for the naïve whimsy in those stories, and it kept me afraid to shade in the darker sides of the picture for a long time.

I was equally afraid that if I started pulling pieces apart to make space for new things, that I wouldn’t have a story anymore, just a tangle of prose.

I was afraid I would ruin something. Instead, I gave myself a wider space to play.

And I saved all my old drafts because nostalgia is powerful.

  1. Change the names.

When I was in college, a friend asked me why I still had “mages” in my stories, when the term was forcing me to spend extra time explaining away an audience’s preconceived ideas of what they were. A few years later, a professor suggested that I change the names of all the characters I had been working with since I was twelve, to escape old thought patterns.

I renamed a lot of things: people, ships, islands, magicks. It felt like writing a new story, with all my favorite pieces of the old one. Some things went back to their old names after a few months, but it was a valuable freedom.

  1. Question gravity.

Very recently, I was talking a plot problem through with a friend. For years, I have been trying to decide how to destroy something very large during a fight between two people.

“I think you need an army to do that,” my friend said. She spent about thirty seconds explaining it to me, before I realized she was right, and that her idea served my story extremely well.

“I don’t know why I didn’t think of that before,” I said.

“Because fantasy stories usually follow the idea that one or maybe two people accomplish all the important things,” she said without hesitation.

And I realized I had internalized the Law of Singular Heroes. Like it was the Law of Gravity. Not for the first time, I’ve had to remind myself to question everything, because without meaning to, I’m still mimicking the stories I grew up on without reason.

  1. Keep writing.

I’m a writer who likes to plan her stories, scene by scene, but there’s only so much that can be accomplished without putting words on paper. It’s a particular kind of exploration, like actually walking on an unknown continent instead of flying over it. You learn quickly what works and what doesn’t with your feet on the ground.

  1. Fall in love HARDER.

Whether you started writing at six or sixty, you started because you were in love with something. I loved knights, swords, and dragons. Maybe you loved time machines and elves. I suspect we were both a little in love with words. Whatever it was, our enthusiasm was the most important part. Always, always fight to hold onto it.

Don’t make your changes because you think they make the story better. Make your changes because they excite you, because they enamor you, because they make you love your story better.

You can find Gwen on her blog.