Stories, whether via books or my imagination have always been a huge part of my life. I love to read and love to invent my own stories.
I still have one of my earliest forays into the written word – a handwritten and illustrated story when I was around 11, about the Adventures of Super Mutt. I think from memory it was a school entry for the local show. I based the story on our neighbours’ dog, Tiny ( we didn’t have a pet – other than a goldfish). Tiny was our ‘Clayton’s dog’ – if anyone one remembers the old Australian TV ads from the 70s about the Clayton’s brand drink with the tagline, “the drink you have when you’re not having a drink”… well Tiny was the “pet dog you have when you don’t have a pet dog.” Our neighbours found him one night on the side of a country road and he became part of their family and ours as well. They had adult children, so Tiny was always playing with my two brothers and I. We had all the fun and none of the responsibility! Anyway apparently Tiny acquired a cool black cape and used his superpowers to peg washing back on the clothes line, rescue a cat in a tree, recover some stolen bones and find a lost puppy. It didn’t win any prizes – but hey I had a go.
In high school, in one English exam I managed to score the highest mark in my year level for the story writing component. But that was a one off. I enjoyed writing even if I didn’t always get top marks. Besides the content there was always the pesky punctuation and grammar to contend with.
I wasn’t one of the popular kids at school. As a red head, I always copped a lot of teasing and if it wasn’t the red hair it was something else – so stories were my escape. My teenage years, full of the usual angst, included writing poetry as well as stories. In bed at night time, in my mind, I would write myself a part in my favourite television shows – more often than not as someone’s kid sister or cousin. I remember roles in ‘The Sullivans’, ‘The Young Doctors’ and ‘The Flying Doctors’ as well as American shows like ‘Eight is Enough’, ‘Simon & Simon’ and ‘Barnaby Jones’, to name a few.
I still write stories in my head at night – I’ve been doing it for so long now – its just part of who I am. Some nights I manage to get a line or two before succumbing to sleep – other nights several scenes. I can try out the same scene in a variety of different ways. I might get to the end of a story (over many months) and start over. Sometimes I chop and change between several stories.
My eldest also has a love of writing. Apparently instead of sleeping when he was little, he was making up stories and acting them out with his toys.
The appeal, I think, unlike real life, is that I can control everything. People’s reactions for instance. I know how people think and feel. If I don’t like something someone does I can easily change it. I can add characters or write them out. I get to choose who falls in love with whom. What I decide goes.
Fiction writing as a hobby is also fairly cheap – a pen and paper plus a vivid imagination are the only requirements. Unless of course you want to go a bit further and maybe put yourself out there and actually have something published….