I wanted to write a book for years. I handwrote a couple of hundred pages when I was a teenager. It was generic fantasy lifted right from Tolkien (the movies) and Eragon (which as far as inspiration goes, Eragon is hardly one to inspire anyone into writing something good). I grew up though and my tastes changed. I picked up Tolkien, Trudi Canavan, David Gemmell Gail Z Martin, then Adrian Tchaikovksy.
The thing that really changed the direction of my writing was George RR Martin, who I read at an age probably too early to really grasp. At that age, I lifted ideas from him too, like I had from Tolkien. Then came Robert Jordan, Joe Abercrombie, Mark Lawrence, Robin Hobb, Karen Miller, Patrick Rothfuss, R Scott Bakker, Brandon Sanderson, Brian McClellan and so on, and I just grew as a reader and a writer. I got a little more original.
What all of this means is that I was a kid and I had read a few books.
In college I did a whole lot more growing up, made some stupid decisions, some smart ones, came out of it all with a degree, some memories and a friend for life. I read more books, I started to read poetry and liked it. I started writing a new fantasy novel and I still tinker at it.
However, in spite of all of the fantasy I have read, the draft I finished is a very different kind of book. Just over two years ago, a coincidence inspired a whole new idea, and I wrote it with a zeal that was terrifying. It was therapeutic and cathartic. I put a lot into it, and then I started as masters, and it took a break. Like the fantasy novel, I tinkered with it over the two years, and then I came back to it. Again, I was a little wiser and a little more grown-up.
I wrote a romance novel, which even now that I think about it, comes as a surprise. It was always supposed to be fantasy, but somehow I threw together a few characters, heartbreak, some symbolism and metaphor, and suddenly I had the first draft of a whole novel. It came as a surprise to me because two weeks ago I was about 35,000 words short of finishing it.
As of today, I have written the first draft of a novel and I’m a little proud of myself.