It’s been a long time since I’ve posted some writing for the virtual world to see, mainly because I lost all confidence in my own writing ability. I figured that a simple step one in my new creative journey was to sift through some old projects and try to find extracts of my old work that I’m actually proud of and like the way that I’ve written.
In theory, this step seems quite simple. But believe me, some of my old work was downright painful to read. I know we all have to start somewhere but damn, teenage me really loved her adjectives. We’re all our own worst critics however, so I’ve tried to laugh all that cringeworthy writing off and file it under part of my essential growth. After all, if you’ve never wrote anything bad, how will you know when you’ve wrote something good?
The earliest writing I ever posted online was story ideas that I then adapted into fanfiction because I was so desperate for validation, and fanfiction was one of the most accessible ways to get it at the time. I was around fifteen years-old and none of my friends knew I wrote it- they didn’t even know I had a tumblr (this was back in the day when we were all very secretive about these kind of things). I wrote for my favourite manga at the time, a series called Fairy Tail, and focused on the main romantic pairing within the series to shamelessly promote my own world-building ideas. The longest piece of fanfiction that I ever wrote was 79,619 words- that’s longer than The Great Gatsby!- which featured a very slow burn enemies-to-lovers trope amidst a war-torn fantasy world. The story had battles, demons, a psychopathic bad-guy, and a really awkward sex scene that I wrote when I was still a virgin. It sounds crazy and it was a little, but five years and 965 reviews later, it’s actually one of the most successful things I’ve ever written.
Lots of people look down on fanfiction but I personally think that it’s an amazing and accessible way for young people to get into writing. And not just writing but writing about something that they’re passionate about while building a repertoire of creative skills in the process. Initially, when I began my creative writing studies at university, I was embarrassed to admit that fanfiction was how I came into my own as a writer. After years of being bullied for my interests, I thought it was a nerdy and cringeworthy thing to have done. But once I’d been at university for few months and- to my shock- discovered that the world is not in fact full of arseholes, i opened up about my hobby turned passion, and was pleasantly surprised to discover I wasn’t the only one in my creative writing classes that had gotten into writing that way. Even my lecturers acknowledged and encouraged it as a great creative tool.
So, some of my selected extracts are from my fanfiction days-though I will be changing the names- and some are from my various portfolios that I submitted during my time at university, as well as other personal projects. I hope you enjoy them, and feel free to leave constructive criticism and/or questions in the comments section!
It made her feel guilty, but it was all too much. The energy it took to interact with people she knew secretly despised her despite their charming smiles, the effort it required to make herself as presentable as her maids desired, the strength her arm needed to raise a heavy fork to her lips. She lacked it all. It seemed all she was good for was sleeping late into the day and not quite catching the things people said to her.– Excerpt from short story The Gilded Cage
Time was a funny thing. The way it stretched things, the way it slowed. How all that was and ever would be bowed and changed according to its whims. Time gave and it took away. But more than anything, time changed. Nathan felt he knew that better than most.– Excerpt from my completed story A War On Two Fronts
“You cannot always be the shield that halts the sword.”– Excerpt from unfinished project The Horrors Of Spring
To myself, the best version of me is the one that is happy.– Excerpt from published short story Who You Are Today
But the real version has a long way to go before being any of those things.
The real version is currently sitting with her legs dangling over the side of the bridge, watching the water drift by fifty feet below.
Oh damn, she’s gonna kill herself, you’re probably thinking. But I’m not. I never do.
The bridge is on my way home from work, and at least twice a week I stop and I sit here and I think about it. But I never do it. Sometimes drunken people heckle me to do it, but I still won’t jump. I think about it. A lot. And about the versions of me. Kind of like that Abraham Lincoln quote: I must die or be better. But I can’t bring myself to die, and no matter how hard I try I don’t think I’m getting better.
When I was still in school I told a counsellor once that I thought about dying almost every day.
“Oh my,” She answered, “Have you tried, not thinking about it?”
But how can you not think about it? Even if you’re not standing on a bridge thinking about jumping, every day you’re just closer to your last day. A lot of people think that and then think that you should make every day count, but I just think, well, what’s the point? I’m not saying we should be immortal, because let’s face it, we, as a species, are shitty. But what’s the purpose of it all?
There was something about her. A deep and threatening knowledge that seemed to hide behind her eyes. He didn’t want to believe all that ‘space between dimensions’ nonsense, but how else was he meant to explain the sudden appearance of the door? And the disappearing, he figured, since the police hadn’t come knocking. He was suddenly very wary of the fact that he had promised her something.– Excerpt from short story The Summoner
There weren’t many options in life for an orphan. Sure, there was crime and other disreputable occupations, but Lucy wanted a quiet life. What meagre inheritance she’d received after paying off her late father’s debts had been enough for a few months rent for a one bedroom apartment, but food didn’t just magically place itself on her wobbly kitchen table. So, she set out to find a job, and quickly discovered that the most unappealing ones paid the most.– Excerpt from short story The Healing Touch
Thus is the short summary of how Lucy Harmonia, once the heir to the most wealthy family in the city, descended from manor houses to a church basement. Cleaning corpses.
It was quiet work, just as she’d wanted. Deathly quiet. The only people she interacted with daily was the priest, the man who brought in her charges, and dead people. The two former exchanged only the most basic of pleasantries, but the latter were quite good listeners.
As this was the church of Lethe, goddess of forgotten souls, the people that found their way onto Lucy’s sterile workbench were most often orphans, beggars, and the elderly who had no remaining friends or relatives. Lucy’s job was to clean away the evidence of death, and dress them in the white garments of the deceased before they were taken away to be buried in an unmarked grave. The dead that found their way to the church of Lethe received no ceremonious farewells, nor even a coffin. They received one gold coin to pay their way into the next world-more riches than most of them had likely had in their life time- and the shortest of funeral rights before being sealed into the dirt.
Quiet work, but not the most fulfilling if she dwelt on it too much.
“My whole world is war. My fight is futile.” Varya glared back at him, “Death can take me whenever they choose.”– Excerpt from short story The Hunter and The Hunted
Viduus shook his head with a grin, blood still dripping down his cheek. He stepped forward again, not fearing the dagger in her hand that had cut him so easily.
“Your fight is futile,” He repeated, “And yet, you still fight it.”