This week’s YA Highway Road Trip Wednesday poses this question: Who has helped you on your reading/writing/publishing journey?
Be warned, ahead lie Harry Potter spoilers.
I’m probably going to miss people out here, but here goes anyway. To give an accurate answer to this question, I have to travel back more than ten years to creative writing classes taken as part of a gifted students program, because I’m awesome like that. I don’t remember much of the classes, but they did encourage to write me my first stories about Princess Flower and her unicorn called Rosie, who was later amended to Buttercup because I thought a golden unicorn was prettier than a pink one at that particular point in time.
After those classes ended, the next major influence in my writing is J.K. Rowling. I give Jo a lot of love on this blog, but let me rehash how she changed my life. Before Harry Potter, I read for school because it was expected of me, but all the books SUCKED. I’m not even kidding. Schools can have the worst taste in books sometimes, as I would continue to discover through the remainder of primary school and the entirety of my high school education. The first Harry Potter movie came out about eleven years ago and I immediately turned to the books upon leaving the movie theatre. My first lengthy works of fiction were Harry Potter fanfics where I was particularly inspired by Sirius’ death at the end of book five. Without J.K. Rowling’s wondrous books, I might not even be writing, or reading, or blogging. I would have never started writing Coldfire.
On the topic of fanfiction, some of my greatest helpers were moderators from the MuggleNet fanfiction website. This particular website has a set of guidelines fics have to satisfy to be displayed on the site, like decent grammar and plausible scenarios (of course “plausible” requirements depended on the section the fic belonged in). I distinctly remember one of the moderators teaching me how to write dialogue in a rejection email when I was twelve or thirteen. These moderators helped me improve my writing greatly. I no longer write Harry Potter fanfic and I never actually completed one, but I look back on it fondly, even though at the time the rejections were a little upsetting.
Closer to home, my parents have always encouraged my writing and supported me. A number of my friends were interested in my writing and the guy who later became my current boyfriend often let me use him as a sounding board for ideas. He was, and still is, a great audience and incredibly encouraging. I’m incredibly lucky to have all these people in my life who are so supportive, and I am also grateful for the strangers on the internet who helped me hone my craft and also for the gift that J.K. Rowling brought into the world.
Basically I’m just throwing out love to anybody who said nice (or sometimes no-so-nice but still helpful) things about my writing and have helped me get to where I am now, and to the people who continue to help me on my writing journey. To anyone who is reading this, I love you too. Feel free to share your own answer to the question in the comments here or on the YA Highway blog.