This month the task was to flash back to something you have written in the past, it could be months or years ago, and share how your writing has evolved since then.
Funnily enough, I have just moved house and bought a new desk. I love moving because often you find treasures you thought you had lost. In this move I found a folder hidden away in an archive box with all my writing. This included all my early assignments when I was studying Creative Writing and Freelance Journalism. So when this task came up, I was quite excited to take part. The only problem was what to include. So I have included an excerpt from a story I began when I was 16.
The night was cold and eerie! Winter had arrived and summer was a thing of the past…
Spring is a time of new beginnings and new outlooks. That spring was a time of closing, the end of youth! Maturity came and with it a sense of lost innocence…
Maxine West was twenty-one, officially a woman, and embarking on an adventure, the adventure of real life. Maxine could not be described as pretty or beautiful but her mystery was alluring, even seductive. Her hair was not quite black nor brown but something in between. She had the eyes of a cat: big, round and yellow, while her profile was like that of an alien bird. Maxine’s facial features were totally asymmetrical and out of proportion. This story is a story of lost innocence. This is her story.
A young woman stepped out of the building and into the sunlight. Nobody would have glanced twice except for her aura. This was a young woman with an insurmountable wall in front of her eyes. Eyes betraying no emotion are dead but her eyes were covered with enormous emotion. She was extraordinary to behold. What exact emotions covered those eyes and what could be done to lift their veil?
Her mind worked like a robot, seeing everything and yet observing nothing. This was her day of freedom and she was going to celebrate to the fullest – by herself. She did not want anyone around her because this was her escape at last!
Youth is something to be treasured and remembered, but Maxine wanted to rid herself of her past youth, the sooner the better…
As she walked down the steps, she knew that she was leaving her past behind and that maybe, with a little luck, the hurt too.
Her first memory was the best, one of the few good moments that she could remember. The sun had just risen and all was quiet. Maxine was hungry for a maternal hug so she called, “Mama, Mama! I want hug!”.
In the adjacent room, Caroline West – successful psychologist and single mother – struggled awake to the demanding voice of her baby girl, Maxine. A breeze was stirring the leaves of the oak outside her window. Today was going to be wonderful. Clambering out of bed in her sleep-wake state, Caroline walked towards her daughter’s room. Stepping into the bedroom, Maxine gazing peacefully at her, Caroline realised that even though her life had not followed an ideal plan, she was utterly content where she was.
Caroline West; the much-loved daughter of a middle class family, was now a mother – albeit single – of a strange but cute, little girl. Margaret and Tom West had, had many plans for their youngest and only child. Plans that included a husband. Caroline had never set out to be a single parent but as plans do, her plans went awry.
Jeffery Dean had fallen in love with Caroline the moment he first set eyes on her. An up and coming architect, his life was destined for a great future. One including Caroline West. The only snag being that he wanted the woman but without the pitter-patter of tiny feet. When Caroline first realised that Jeff did not want any children, ever; she was hesitant but not wary. She thought that once the relationship had developed Jeff would finally propose and eventually after a marvellous honeymoon a child or two would enter their lives and bond them eternally.
Looking back now at the naive Caroline, the present Caroline saw the futility of her young hopes and dreams. her relationship with Jeff had gotten more serious and therein entered intimacy. She had taken all the necessary precautions, or thought she had. But the pill does not always work according to one’s plans. When the pregnancy came out positive Caroline was elated but not ready to face the reluctant and contentious Jeff. The final inevitability was that she ended up as Maxine’s only parent.
“Mama, Mama! Listen to me. Give me hug, please…”, shaking herself out of her reverie, Caroline walked over to the bed to give her daughter a hug.
Reading through this story, I see how much my writing has changed. Which is a good thing. Life is all about change and change is all about growth. In this story I “tell” more than “show”. The story is also written in 3rd Person POV and narration. There is an overuse of punctuation points. There is too much back story too early on in the story.
My writing style has definitely evolved from this early attempt. Now I tend to write in 1st Person POV. I definitely think I “show” more than I “tell”. My grammar has improved as has my sentence structure. I also tend to write more character-based stories now.
I can see how there are some good kernels of ideas here in this story. I was trying to bring across the MC’s emotional flaws marring her physical features. I also remember that the story got a little better as it continued. But here I was writing from a 16 year old’s life experience. So I will try not to be too harsh with my 16 year old self and rather applaud the fact that I attempted my first full novel at 16.
Now I am twice that age and life has changed both my writing and I. I feel that with every story I write and every new character I develop my writing continues to evolve and change. I think that when it stops evolving and changing, I will stop writing. For if I ever get to the point where I think I cannot learn anything new than I may as well try my hand at something else. Thankfully I have not reached this point yet. I am still writing, still changing, still evolving and still growing. I am an unfinished manuscript still in the editing stages.