The Story of my Stories

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I was never the gifted child – never the prodigy who had skills and talent innate in them. I was a kid who tried, who liked attempting and watching myself fail and succeed at it.

I cannot exactly nod to a particular date in history as to when I started writing. By writing, I don’t mean my ABCs, but rather the weaving of fictional threads. However, there is one day that I remember clearly when I took the pen to write the story of ‘Emma‘.

It’s quite a funny story in my head actually; not so much to the people outside my head though. Let me set the scene for you. I was in grade five. I was newly introduced to a course called ‘English Rapid Reader’ with Tom Sawyer as the story that we were asked to read. And I loved Harry Potter. I still do.

It’s a miracle that I remember the setting so well because I’m usually bad with memories. I can’t remember stuff, that’s just who I am. But I remember that evening. The TV was blaring loud in front of me and I just had an argument with my mother. Naturally, I was angry. And naturally, it was only human of me to transfer that anger to something.

So, I wrote. I wrote about an eleven year old girl whose mother was fed up of the child’s nuisances. But the mother loved her child nonetheless. No prize for guessing what my age was at that time by the way.

Having spent my first few schooling years in a Convent introduced me to the world of books like no other school ever could. Tom Sawyer was not the first novel that I ever picked up. I don’t even remember the first storybook that I picked up from the library on the second floor (or was it the first floor?). But Tom Sawyer had an impact on me like no other book had before. Followed by the tales of Huckleberry Finn, oh my it was every bit of story that I ever wanted to hear.

That goodness and influence, combined with the enchanting movies of Harry Potter brought me to write a story on a girl named Emma. Why Emma, you ask, if it’s not already clear?

I am an Indian. And when I was eleven, fifth graders didn’t really understand the English accent of Brit or American actors, nor could we demand huge volumes of a book on a boy who flew on brooms. My English just wasn’t good enough, and I didn’t posses enough attention span at that time to complete a book. But while I watched the HP movies in Hindi, it did not exactly stop me from doing my own bit of research and discussing the magical world with my friends.

We have a habit of confusing the actor with the character. And that is exactly what happened when I came to know that the actor who played Hermione is Emma Watson. I adored Hermione and her wits and her bravery. So ergo, I adored Emma.

Which kind of explains why I would name the protagonist Emma.

This might get a little boring now, so hold on to your pillow so that you don’t break your neck in case you doze off.

I still have those yellow and withered and torn pages in a folder somewhere in the drawer. I cringe every time I take a look at it, but I can’t part ways with it. At least not anytime soon.

The story is so complicated that I don’t think I can possibly explain it without uttering incoherent words with no meaning. But just so you know, it had me confused whether I should make it a fantasy or a science fiction.

(I later chose science fiction because it sounded more realistic, but little did my tiny self know that the supposed science fiction seemed more unrealistic than the fantasy world I had been thinking of putting Emma into initially.)

I have left out the entire plot of the story. More so because it was stupid, but not exactly stupid. It was just not something that could be called a story, but no matter how horrendous it was, it is my kind of horrendous and I can’t help but feel a little proud of it.

So if you ever feel curious about what really was in the story, which I hope you never feel for your own sake, feel free to ask me because boring the crap out of people is a hobby I try to excel in.

 

After I left that story mid-way, I don’t exactly remember when and what I wrote next. It’s blurry. I don’t even think that that memory resides in my pea-brain now. But as they say, moments that mean to us, stay with us. (There’s no they. The they‘s me, I just made that up).

And maybe that is why I remember writing the very first word of my very first story.

“Whoo!”

This was it. The first word of my first story.

Go on, laugh. I’ll wait.

But to think that it all started with an absurd exclamation of “whoo!” kind of makes me think. Today, after almost ten years of writing the first word of my first story, I’ve written so many words. And even right now, I continue to write them.

Between these two dates, I have learned so much, and I have tried so much.

Poetry – essays – stories – articles – reports – news – letters – and so many other things. I have picked up a pen, and never held up one for months. I have dreamed of words writing themselves as I narrate a story to myself, and I have pulled out my hair in frustration thinking to myself if I’ll ever be able to write again – as if I’ve been paralyzed of the ability to write any more.

Over the course of time, I’ve been told that my writing is boring, I’ve been plagiarized, I’ve been told that my writing is beautiful, and I’ve been criticized rather harshly. I remember one particular comment that I once received on wattpad many years ago when I was still starting out.

I’d rather watch the paint dry on the canvas than read through the entire story.

It hurt, sure. But now, it doesn’t anymore. Because, correct me if I’m wrong, I have stepped foot out of that circle a little. Maybe I’m not miles away but at least I like to believe that I’m out of its boundary.

So yeah, I’ve witnessed quite a few things, but if this is the closest I can get to writing, then so be it. I think I like it.

 

And – I’ve digressed. Again.

From my first story to this piece – not much has changed, really. I still make silly grammar mistakes. I still change the genre of a story mid-way. I still don’t know the where the story/article is supposed to end up with. I still don’t have a captivating voice. And I still write like a eleven year old would.

Good for me that I don’t have to make it my profession in this life.

And this is the thing about my little secret. It seems like I’ve always liked to write, but I also, have always been insecure about it. I am, what you can call, a closet writer. Not exactly, though – because I have shown my work to absolute strangers and I don’t mind showing my work to people who don’t know me – people whom I don’t have to face in real life.

At the beginning, my family was my audience, but how long could you hold one when all the three members had so much work to do than listen to my odd stories, irrelevant rants, and no-rhyme poetry.

Eventually, my audience shifted to myself and it stayed the same for a few months before moving to the community of wattpad where I grew my readership from the absolute ground. Wattpad was a period in my life that I really liked. I made some really good friends, and it taught me the art of writing like no course ever could.

While I was writing on wattpad, I took measures so that real-life people would never find me. I asked friends who shifted over to Wattpad to keep my identity a secret and not tag me with my username. Oh but people always find a way.

So I did what I always do whenever I’m frustrated with my writing. I took everything down. So now when anyone reaches my Wattpad profile, all they see is the evergreen Marty McFly and some unimportant words in my bio. You should definitely focus on Marty McFly by the way.

 

With no wattpad to go back to, I started getting more active here. And while I continued being discreet here as well, I talked to people who told me to share this with the world. The thing about being an introvert and socially awkward like me is that you don’t want to bother people with your ill skills.

But I had to test the waters. So I began putting the link in my Instagram profile, a platform with a fairly less number of audience than say, Facebook. Sharing on Facebook scares me – makes me feel like a rat to a hungry bunch of vultures flying over my head.

So, I’ve let it pass. But I’m still trying.

I’m still trying to write better and share it with people close to me. This is not an article where I rant or a poetry piece or a story. It’s kind of like my story, albeit a little monotonous.

I have so much more to say, trust me. This emotion has passed an entire episode of me almost leaving engineering for literature. But now that I look at it, I love writing programs almost equally. An information: both are just as difficult. So I was bound to be doomed either way.

This is pretty much the story of my stories. It doesn’t have: (a) plot-twists (b) cliffhangers. But at least it doesn’t have (c) item songs. That should probably make up for it.

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8 thoughts on “The Story of my Stories

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  1. Hey Vidhi,
    As a writer myself, not yet a “professional writer” though, I have many experiences familiar to what you write about here – especially from my earliest days when I had just one family member and one friend who were genuinely interested and willing to read my writin efforts.
    I found my way here via goodreads and its nice to meet a fellow day-dreamer who likes to read and write.
    How did you find wattpad by the way? I’ve seen many such online communities but the one or two I did try, it was like no one at all ever even tried to read the stuff I was posting, forget harsh comments (at points I would have even been happy to get those…) and one that needed me to read several of other peoples’s stories before I could post one myself and request feedback or anything at all. I’ve known about wattpad but never tried it because my expectation of finding potential readers is really zilch.
    Should you ever be bored and want to try it out, I have some short fiction free-to-read on my own blog as well.
    Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey,

      Thank you for reading! I found wattpad when a friend recommended me a short story on the same platform. And I agree, that’s the thing about online writing communities, one needs to try really hard.

      Luck plays an important factor too, but give-and-take is mostly what works in the initial stages before people get to know your works. The beginning of the climb is always the toughest there.

      Oh yes, absolutely. I’ll make sure to drop by and read some of your works.
      Cheers!

      Liked by 1 person

        1. It is. Wattpad audience surely leans towards YA-tales, but there are writers who are doing exceptionally great with a much a diverse genre as their weapon. I’d say it’s about targeting the right audience.

          I’ve only had a detailed experience with wattpad, other platforms – not much. So I can’t really say.

          Figment and Widbook were advancing at one time, but Wattpad took over. There’s this new platform that you can check out maybe – Sweek? It’s still growing with new writing activities/contests coming up almost every month. So building up an audience might be a tad bit easier on Sweek than on Wattpad, but then with Wattpad, there’s this extensive community of readers and writers (although YA oriented more, like you mentioned) that you’d really like to try a hand there.

          And I might sound a little biased here but with wattpad, there comes a chance of getting published. Many books have been converted into paperbacks and are doing quite good in the market – Gilded Cage being one of my favorites.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Dear closet writer,

    Thanks for that little terminology. I finally have something to define myself.

    I LOVED IT! This is something straight from the heart and thus, is so touching. That comment from wattpad, I feel is insensitive to say to somebody who was just beginning to bloom. But now that you’ve bloomed, please do not wither away. You are a wonderful writer and I will not be convinced otherwise, by anybody. Just keep writing, you know. (Yes, I know you are smiling at the last line and I also know why.)

    P.S: You’ve gotten me curious about Emma. And curiosity kills the cat. And I am a cat.

    Love,
    Amateur Roy 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Roy,

      Your words alone outweigh any and all negative words I have ever received. Thank you so much for this, you’ve always been the person I could trust when it comes to these.

      And I promise to return the promise, but not out of duty but out of the excitement and love I feel while reading your words.

      About Emma, are you prepared for a cringy and funny tale? XD

      Like

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