It’s been a while since I hit you with a blast from the past. Usually I talk about things I used to like (books, music, etc.), but today I’m going to do something a little different. I’ve wanted to be a writer ever since I found out that was something you could do for a job. Sure, there was a brief period of time I wanted to be an astronaut and I went through the obligatory pop star phase, but I was still writing stories. In fact, I had ongoing projects. Today, I’d like to tell you about a few of them. Some of these I was very serious about, others were just for fun. But, either way, I love exposing my own embarrassment, so let’s travel back in time and check out the writing projects I once dedicated my time and talent to:
- Fake Journalism: You’re probably thinking to yourself, “What the hell is fake journalism?” Well, it’s when you play pretend with your sister and all your characters live together in a gigantic mansion and said mansion has not one, not two, but three newspapers. The first newspaper was called The Daily Doings (taken from a Bratz movie) and it featured such recurring articles as “Tips,” “Advice,” “Gossip,” and “Interviews.” It was discontinued when my sister and I got bored. However, when we moved to a new house (and thus our characters moved to an even bigger mansion), we started a new newspaper. This one was called The Mansion Times and it was slightly more eclectic. However, it still featured a gossip column (titled “Secrets REVEALED”). The rest of it was mostly nonsense. Then we decided to start a rival newspaper called The Mansion Post. This one was also mostly nonsense, but it also had a gossip column (this one titled “Chef Secrets”). Both were discontinued when I lost interest in playing pretend with my little sister (on account of being in high school and also a teenager and, thus, awful). I mean… it was wild.
- The Wizard Kids: As you can probably assume, based on the fact that I’m me, high school was not easy for me. My friends were in a similar boat. How did I cope? I pretended I was tougher than I was. How did my friends cope? They pretended I was tougher than I was. Also, I wrote this ongoing series about us as students at Hogwarts. The Jonas Brothers were also Hogwarts students (well, Joe and Nick were). And this series was a trip. My character was very probably a psychopath, using Unforgivable Curses on anyone who was mean to us in real life. And also, for some reason, Nick. No idea why. It was… alarming. My character was also in a committed relationship with Draco Malfoy, who was dumb and self-absorbed (in other words, completely out-of-character). One of my friends was in a relationship with Joe Jonas. We went on lots of crazy adventures, including, but not limited to, getting our own Disney Channel shows, visiting Azkaban, and escaping from a Muggle school. After abandoning the series for a few years, I picked it up again for a brief period in college at had our characters go to the London Institute and hang out with characters from The Shadowhunter Chronicles. The series was intentionally weird and silly, just a way to preserve inside jokes and cope with life. I do kind of want to write a big finale for it though, especially since my character ended up with a guy (Will Herondale) and I’m a lesbian. I would combine it with Star Wars because of course. I almost want to post these stories (just for fun), but I don’t think I want to expose myself that much. Yet.
- What Friends Are Worth: This was a series I started in the fifth grade. It wasn’t even a full page long, and yet it immediately spawned a sequel. By middle school I had the first four finished (the stories getting progressively longer each time). By tenth grade I had the fifth one started and fully plotted out and ideas for the sixth one. The series follows two best friends named Misty and Amber who are secret agents. When they’re not fighting the organization led by the evil Dr. Moonraiser (named Dr. Butt in the original draft, on account of I was ten and thought butts were hilarious), they’re going to school and falling in love. Honestly, this series has some real potential. Someday I may even want to revisit it and turn it into a television show or something (I think it would work better in visual media than book form). But for now, it’s a silly project from my past.
- Devin Vegas: In tenth grade, I took a creative writing class. For one assignment, we had to pick a location and build a character and story around it. I had just done a cybercafé unit in my Spanish class (the vocabulary for each unit was always based around a place), so I picked that. The character I created was named Devin Vegas and his whole thing was he worked at his father’s cybercafé and had a secret side job of helping people get revenge. The vengeance on the docket for this story? Helping a young girl named Travis avenge local skateboard shop owner Master Kickflip who was framed for murder. It sounds cool, but it was not. First off, why not just go to the police, seeing as she knew who the real culprit was? Of course, she actually didn’t. It turns out Master Kickflip actually was the murderer. And then, of course, Devin’s father finds out about his son’s secret operation and grounds him. However, part of the assignment was to create a series. We were to write the first story and then write brief summaries for what the rest of the stories would be. The rest of this series mostly just involved Devin having a crush on Travis and not knowing how to tell her so… more non-excitement! I wrote a lot of stories I was serious about then but am embarrassed by now, but this piece of contrivance really takes the cake.
- The Evil Game: The story behind this one is a bit of a doozy. It started in that same tenth grade creative writing class. We all had to write a one-act play (as did the drama class) and enter in a schoolwide competition. The first, second, and third place winners would have their play performed by the drama class and win a monetary prize ($300, $200, and $100 respectively).
Naturally, being an angry teenager weirdly obsessed with villainy (though in reality I hated violence and was afraid of everyone), I wrote mine about evil twins who had taken over the world. The brother, Skylar, was technically the king and he was cowardly and ineffective. His sister, Phoenix, headed the army and was far more conniving. One day, however, a do-gooder named Jack breaks into the castle in order to overthrow the twins. Skylar cowers and backs down, while Phoenix kicks his ass. Except, PLOT TWIST! Jack is actually Phoenix’s evil boyfriend and it was a scheme the two of them cooked up so Phoenix could take over as leader! Due to The Evil Book of Evil Rule, this meant that Phoenix had succeeded! Hooray!
About a month or so later, I found out that I won! I was so happy! About a month after that, I received the tweaked script that the drama class was going to perform. It was more or less the same, except for one glaring issue: the ending was changed. All the events are the same, except it is revealed that, due to her victory being through trickery, Phoenix actually did not succeed. Skylar remained the de facto leader and Phoenix lost her position as army general. I was floored! Why was my ending changed? I went to go speak with the drama teacher and she explained that it was because Phoenix was obviously more evil than Skylar, so she was worried about the message. Personally, I was thinking of it more from a “girl power” perspective, but I saw her point. Still, I was upset.
So, she gave me a choice: either her class performs her version or they don’t perform it at all and my story retains its integrity. She even allowed me to come to her class the next day to watch a rehearsal. Ultimately, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to see my play come to life. I agreed to allow the class to perform my play with her changes.
On opening night, I finally got to see my play in full costume. I also met the two women who judged the contest. After my play concluded, they asked me why I changed the ending. I said that I hadn’t, that it had been the drama teacher’s choice. And guess what? They preferred my ending! In fact, all that “girl power” was the main reason it won! Later that evening, they shared their displeasure with the drama teacher. It was kind of awesome.
Regardless, I don’t even like the play anymore. I don’t think it’s very good. Granted, that’s mainly because I’m a different person and my writing has improved, but still. Anyway, that’s why this play is on this list.
Do you have any embarrassing or otherwise projects or endeavors you’d like to expose? Share in the pain and hilarity down in the comments!