I wrote my first—and only—novel when I was 11. The author was a skinny, shy sixth grader, and, true to first novel form, my protagonist happened to be a skinny, shy sixth grader.
There were some differences. For instance, the boy this girl had a crush on was a green-eyed redhead, while there was nary a Ron Howard lookalike in my class. For another thing, this character associated with one of the bad girls—you know, the kind who smoked once in the girls’ room. Though I could conjure a rough tobacco smell wafting over the bathroom stall in the scene I wrote, the only cigarettes I’d come remotely close to were the Marlboro Light packs my father kept in his shirt pocket. But generally, the girl was me.
The resulting work was what the modern publishing house would call a young adult novel. I just remember it as a treat to write, with a plot that challenged me at times, but generally flowed from my hands. Continue reading