I wasn't sure what to write about this week, until I hit upon something I haven't seen very many of we writers talk about: what was the first book you ever wrote? Not early stories, not something that started off just for fun and somehow turned into a book along the way, but the first result of you deliberately sitting down to write a book.
My first book had the unfortunate title of THE BLESSED, and if I ever have a writing career, I will credit it with this book never seeing print.
The book itself was classic fantasy. Heroes with swords and other medieval weapons, lots of riding around on horses, dark forces at play, and dragons. So many dragons. Much of the plot (at least as I can remember it) involved both the return of dragons to the lands and the arrival of an unusual kind of magic. These two were of course linked, largely via a group of dragon-worshipers, and it was up to five heroes (the titular Blessed) gifted with the power of five of the world's gods to track down the source of these happenings and put a stop to them.
This story took me three years to write, and I had no idea what I was doing.
A lot of the plot was inspired by the early Final Fantasy games, which were my favorites back in the days of the NES and Super NES, so the book had kind of a classic RPG feeling to it - building the party over the course of the adventure, everyone with a different elemental power, stuff like that. It was also an enormous story, easily over 200,000 words judging by the file size.
No, I'm not opening up the file to check. I don't want to see how bad I really was back then. Because trust me, I was bad.
I opened the story with the main character waking up from a dream. The heroes found each other because destiny said so, almost literally. Every single character had their own POV sections, often swapping from one to the other without warning in the middle of a chapter and swapping back with even less warning. I had no idea how to decide what scenes belonged in the story and what didn't, so I included everything I thought up. And not only did the book have five different chosen ones, there was a sixth person who believed he was chosen and went about telling everyone that he was.
I killed that character off at the end of one chapter, having the group's main adversary gut him while the two of them were fighting. That was the last chapter available at one point when I let Rena read it, which led to her stepping into the middle of a fencing match I was in to threaten my soul for the next chapter.
Maybe I wasn't very good back then, but I did know how to pull off a cliffhanger.
It's been years since I gave this book this much thought, and it is kind of fun to look back. I tried re-plotting the book once, with a better title and a darker way of going about things, and it worked out all right at the time; I still think of redoing that tale from the antagonist's point of view. But considering how many stories I have warring for dominance in my head, it's not high on my list.
So! Your turn. What was the first book you ever wrote? What do you remember about it? How did it go? And would you ever let anyone read it?