Monday, 19 October 2009

Building Bricks

I often worry that unlike many other writers, struggling and otherwise, I can't claim to have written my first novel at eight or fourteen or three, and bar a flirtation with songwriting in my teens (I also played guitar very, very badly and my organ career was limited to playing Beautiful Dreamer slowly), I never considered writing as a career or even a hobby. Then, this morning I realised that I did at least world build in my formative years. I may not have realised that such things were part of being a writer, and may have wondered if I was slightly loopy, but I see now it was all part of what we are.

My local park (which appears in my current re-work in progress Theatre) provided the setting for a caravan park and I populated the chalets and vans with permanent residents. There were shops and a fairground - no circus though, I wasn't a scary child. My little park was not an exciting place and only everyday things happened there, but I guess it formed part of an early fictitious outing. I never wrote anything down, I played with the people in my head and if I could go back, I'd provide them with some adventures.*

*Note: Cate does not intend to write a story set in a caravan park anytime soon and the size of her park would have swallowed the local park and half of the neighbourhood but logic does not come into play in daydreams.

16 comments:

Alan W. Davidson said...

Well, the daydreams seem to have paid off,that is to say...the bricks have fallen into place...or something like that.

My music career was just as sad. Hot Crossed Buns on the recorder and Twinkle Twinkle on the violin until the dogs howled and my mums ears bled...

Jamie Eyberg said...

Sounds like a fascinating childhood. My daydreams were all of the cowboy and Indian variety.

Aaron Polson said...

Cate, you've been at this your whole life then. I've managed to cobble together a tale or two from old haunts.

Ray Veen said...

Your formative 'world-building' experience is actually nostalgic and sweet.

I created elaborate dramas around my He-Man action figures, and I spent a little too much time doing it, for a few too many years.

(Good thing I keep that secret, right?)

K.C. Shaw said...

That's wonderful! My first worldbuilding experience was the little strip of wooded valley behind my grandmother's house. I called it The Kingdom, and of course I was the queen of it.

I think it's the things that interest us when we're young--like imagining characters and odd places--that make us into writers, not the other way round. If you'd been more fascinated by, say, puzzles, you might have become a mathematician or an explorer or something instead of a writer. I'm glad you became a writer. :)

Rabid Fox said...

I know how you feel. If daydreaming is the catalyst towards storytelling, then I've been a writer since I was a toddler. It's only been in this decade that I've been serious about putting those daydreams down on paper.

Cate Gardner said...

I don't know Alan, my house feels a little wobbly. ;)

Jamie, you wouldn't say that if you were there. I was one of Charlie's Angels when I was ten.

Aaron, I hope I never have to restort to writing my holiday camp story.

Ray, it shames me to think I was thirteen and still playing with Girls World.

Kate, you were a fascinating child. I'd have killed for a Kingdom. We only had 'the long grass' (which is now a housing estate) and we played boring old 'mums and dads'. Strangely, I was always the mum.

Fox, I often wonder what non-writers daydream about.

katey said...

Yeah writers are just daydreamers who type things out, at the end of the day. You've always been one, like they said. It never made any difference to me if I wrote it down or not when I was a kid-- I just did it to entertain my best friend. Same thing!

My music career, like Alan's, was also terrible. I used to write songs, and I can play guitar reasonably well, but coming from a family of musicians I realized how sad my ability was right off :D

Cate Gardner said...

Katey, I have the least musical talent in my family too - and that's saying something.

Natalie L. Sin said...

I was the same way. VERY interested in making up stories in my head, though it never occurred to me to write them down. Well, there was the epic saga of "Jim Bob" I wrote in middle school, but that was purely to amuse my friends. Sweet merciful crap, I wish I could find that story!

BT said...

Upfront - I'm Piscean so I had no choice but to daydream as a little one.

Did this provide me with the building blocks to be a writer - don't know about that. In year two, I was a finalist in the 'write the nativity play script competition'. The other finalist won by default because I couldn't find the right ending and just kept writing - the nativity scene - I was seven! God, was I too serious as a kid or what!

I've written a total of one song, while I was in the army, which was a love song I sent to my girl at the time - who was seeing another bloke who tore up the only copy. I should have known then that it wouldn't work between us - it took me another 3 years to figure that out.

Musically, I used to be able to play the opening notes of the MASH theme song on a recorder - yep, that bad. Strangely enough, after I've had a few drinks, I have been known to sing (and even more strangely, I'm actually not bad - apparently).

I role played, acted on stage, and generally dreamed my way into adulthood - but never considered being a writer until two or so years ago. Was I primed due to everything that came beforehand - of course!

My dad once said that a good manager must have a good number of previous jobs before settling down to manage in one area - to give him/her a well rounded experience to draw on. I think it's the same with us. If your mind was active while growing up, if daydreaming was second nature, if playing elaborate stories (with or without props/dolls) was common - then writing them down is a natural next step!

Besides - how many good manuscripts have you read by eight, fourteen, or three year olds?

BT said...

Sorry - perhaps I should have just posted about this on my blog instead of rambling on in your comments - again.

L.R. Bonehill said...

I’m thirty-something and still haven’t written my first novel. Although I did write what I thought was a novel when I was about 12 - looking back, it was really very short, but it did have chapters…

Cate Gardner said...

Natalie, I wish you could find it too.

BT, the school nativity scarred me - I broke my cardboard star.

LR, I am sooo jealous. I want to go back in time and start writing something when I'm twelve.

Danielle Ferries said...

So it was brewing, way back then, your brilliant writing career.

Cate Gardner said...

Of course. ;)