Tell us about the first story you ever wrote.
How well do you know your FR Authors? Every Monday you can expect an update to the author roundtable, featuring many of our best Forgotten Realms authors’ answers to the world’s most important questions, right here on this blog. Submissions for new questions welcome through private message.
READER: What’s the first story you wrote?
Elaine Cunningham (co-author of The City of Splendors): My first few stories are compiled in a book of illustrated poetry. The binding was spiral, the art media was crayon. I was six years old at the time and dreaming of becoming an illustrator. (Friend Elaine)
Ed Greenwood (author of The Sword Never Sleeps): I was five, and it was a “what happened next” tale about a haunted locomotive on a railroad, that would start itself up and run along the tracks by night, moving cars around the utter bafflement of the railroaders. It was based on a true anecdote about an old steam locomotive that crews thought was haunted because of all the odd things that happened involving it (brakes failing, cars coming uncoupled and rolling back down grades for miles, personal items vanishing from the cab during runs, et cetera). It was called Ghost Ride, and it was a masterpiece. Why Hollywood never came to my kindergarten to snap up the rights, I’ll never know.
Erin Evans (author of The God Catcher): The first story I ever wrote was called “Shrake the Lion and the Zoo Mystery.” I was three, so I didn’t “write” it per se, but I’ve seen my mother’s dictation and it seems pretty faithful. Especially the labored description about the “thing you wind up and then a lizard comes out of it” (a toy that Shrake had to fix for someone). Sadly, I didn’t have any agents bite on further Shrake adventures. (Friend Erin)
Mark Sehestedt (author of The Fall of Highwatch): I don’t know that it was a story so much as a guidebook, but the earliest distinct memory of writing my own work was in my grandmother’s den floor. I hadn’t yet started school, so I couldn’t have been more than four or five years old. I was watching Scooby Doo, Where Are You? (Still a fan.) While watching, I wrote my first book: How Not to Let Monsters Sneak Up on You on Halloween Night. It was a sort of guidebook for intrepid monster hunters. One of the great disappointments of my childhood was that the monsters on Scooby Doo were never real. Just once—ONCE!—I wanted a real monster, not old Mr. Hooligans who would’ve gotten away with it if it weren’t for those darned kids. This disappointment was never fully assuaged until my adulthood, when I saw Scooby Doo on Zombie Island—a great flick, by the way!
Anyway, I wrote How Not to Let Monsters Sneak Up on You on Halloween Night in pen, on sky-blue construction paper. I even folded and bound it with staples and did my own cover art. I made copies for all my neighborhood friends, which I distributed, and we formed our own club of intrepid monster hunters.
And I know you’re all dying to ask now: Which Scooby Doo character are you most like? Well, if Shaggy and Velma ever had a son, he would be me. Zoinkies!
Richard Lee Byers (author of Unholy): I don’t know if I can remember which is the first one. I recall that when I was quite young, I wrote a story about the Four Aces, adventurers who each had a special set of skills and who were fighting an evil mastermind and his vast criminal organization. As you can probably tell, it was heavily influenced by Doc Savage, the Shadow, Fu Manchu, and the Challengers of the Unknown. (Friend Richard)
Philip Athans (author of A Reader’s Guide to R.A. Salvatore’s Legend of Drizzt): I can’t remember. I started writing at way too young an age. But go to my blog to see a very early work recently uncovered in a box in my garage! (Friend Philip)
Erik Scott de Bie (author of Downshadow): The first story I ever wrote was a chronicle of the past exploits/story of one of my 2e D&D characters (the elf mentioned in my best gaming experience from a few weeks ago--see “Best Gaming Experience”). It was meant to be 10 pages and ended up being 45 pages. From that, I realized two things: one, that I was pretty much meant to be a writer, and two, that we are all pretty much doomed. (Friend Erik)
Jaleigh Johnson (author of Mistshore): It was a mystery, and I think it involved a missing dog and stolen jewels, or maybe it was a stolen dog and missing jewels. I was probably seven or eight years old when I wrote it. My unpublished masterpiece. (Friend Jaleigh)
Richard Baker (author of Avenger): I know I used to fool around with it when I was a kid, but I don’t remember anything I tried then. In high school I tried a couple, including a science-fiction story about a missing ship with an experimental teleportation drive. My first novel was an epic fantasy called Kingslayer, which I wrote while on active duty in the Navy. Never sold it. (Friend Richard)
Rosemary Jones (author of City of the Dead): I wrote stories as soon as I learned to read. But the first novel was started in 7th grade. Every Friday, we were supposed to write a story. I wrote a continuing chapter in a medieval fantasy. Each chapter ended on a cliffhanger with my heroine literally dangling over cliffs or being chased by mad villagers with torches. As I recall, my teacher told me I had better wrap it up before summer vacation so he knew that she survived: ah, the joy of hooking a reader! (Friend Rosemary)
Bruce R. Cordell (author of City of Torment): A series of comics detailing a made-up character called Pumpkin-Lid. I'm afraid much of the 10 year old humor came at the expense of “Pumpy’s” learning disability. (Friend Bruce)
James P. Davis (author of Circle of Skulls): The first original story I ever wrote was about an old swimming pond, summer vacation, and the first taste of freedom for a bunch of kids just out of high-school. Like most of my stories it involved much horror, blood, supernatural beings, and tragic endings for all. It was my first attempt at a short-story after years of writing and drawing comic-books. (Friend James)