The Girl Knight and the Tattered Notebook

As the Teens Can Write, Too blog chain draws to a close, my day to post has finally come! Our October prompt was:

“What is the first thing you can remember writing of your own accord?”

The first thing I ever wrote outside of school occupies just fourteen falling-out pages in a tattered blue notebook with a sparkly star sticker on the front. It’s the start of a “novel” I began writing in the beginning of 5th grade, when I was 10 years old. It was called “Skyprancer.”

This was the tale of Amber, a young noble girl who gets the idea in her head that she wants to be a knight. (I thought that this was a wonderful, original idea–needless to say, I’d never heard of Tamora Pierce.) On her 14th birthday, Amber receives a sword and a unicorn named Skyprancer from her father, a knight himself. Amber begins her practical training, and, though determined to someday serve her kingdom in battle, is held back and forced to stay on the training ground. When her brother becomes ill just days before the king’s army is due to ride out against an enemy country, Amber takes his place in the ranks on the sly. The king dies just for the sake of having a death, and the beloved pet unicorn, Skyprancer, is killed but brought back to life by Amber’s tears. Amber rides home, a victorious and minimally wounded girl knight, and eventually marries her sweetheart.

Except I never got that far. I wrote two and a half chapters, not even getting to the fateful 14th birthday. I spent more time daydreaming about the fame and fortune this masterpiece would soon bring. I would be one of the youngest published authors ever.I would be hailed as a creative genius for years to come. I would be rich enough to live in one of the mansions of Newport. The pretty-pretty sparkly purple cover of my book would grace bookstore displays everywhere. In preparation, I selected this excerpt from Chapter Three to put on the back cover:

“I’m going to become a knight. A soldier. A warrior. I am going to train with the men in the courtyard, then at the next war between Oria and Ikerland, our enemies, I will go.

“You see, I have this inner fire burning ever since I was born, or at least as long as I remember. I received a true message of dedication a few days ago, in the form of a pinprick…”

It never occurred to be that this so-called eloquent speech was truly laughable.

I was floating in my happy bubble of impending authordom when Cornelia Funke’s Igraine the Brave came out and popped it. (For those of you who aren’t aware, Igraine is about a young noble girl who wants to be a knight, gets magical pink armor for her birthday, and rides out against a wicked knight.) The classmates whom I’d told of “Skyprancer” immediately accused me of stealing Cornelia Funke’s storyline. The idea had come out of my own cranium, but I couldn’t stand the idea of my masterwork being called a common plagiarism. I mournfully set the blue notebook aside and decided that my dreams were not to be.

I didn’t write anything else of my own for a while, but the idea of being a published author would not let go of my mind, no matter how I tried to shake it off. I then decided to give it another go. I made three more attempts at writing a novel during the 6th and 7th grades, none of them making it farther than four chapters. The first was “Stella: the tale of a girl, a goat, and me, Brian,” a study in failed realistic fiction and ill-advised titling. Next came the abominable “Dragon’s Bane,” starring a feisty 15-year-old who could be a poster child for Rebellious Princess Syndrome. (This little yarn did, however, prove immensely useful for my current WIP…) Finally, there was the planned “Pangea” trilogy, a far-fetched eco-fantasy that began during my brief tree-hugger phase and ended just as quickly. Now I’m working on the first rewrite of the only novel that’s clicked with me yet. A sign from the Fates, or just a sign of my new persistence?

But all of this leads back to “Skyprancer.” It was the moment I realized I loved writing more than any other pursuit, that lightbulb discovery that I could come up with a story without a teacher’s prompt. It’s just unfortunate that I owe so much to a sparkly unicorn…

Are you following our blog chain? If not, I encourage you to see what everyone’s had to say! Here’s this month’s schedule:

October 15th — http://delorfinde.wordpress.com – A Farewell To Sanity

October 16th — http://eatsleepwriterepeat.wordpress.com – Eat, Sleep, Write, Repeat

October 17th — http://taystapeinc.wordpress.com – Tay’s Tape

October 18th — http://noveljourneys.wordpress.com/ – Novel Journeys

October 19th —- http://greatlakessocialist.wordpress.com/ – Red Herring Online

October 20th —http://kirstenwrites.wordpress.com/ – Kirsten Writes!

October 21st — http://incessantdroningofaboredwriter.wordpress.com–  The Incessant Droning of a Bored Writer

October 22nd — http://herestous.wordpress.com – Here’s To Us

October 23rd — http://teenscanwritetoo.wordpress.com – Teens Can Write Too! (We will be announcing the topic for the next month’s chain)

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7 responses to “The Girl Knight and the Tattered Notebook

  1. Great post! I know what you mean. With each piece I write, I always am sure that this will be a bestselling novel. Good luck with your rewrites.

  2. What an awesome way to finish out the blog chain! It wasn’t a terrible book idea; someone else just got to it first, it seems. 🙂

  3. I hate it when you mention your idea to someone and they tell you it’s ‘exactly like _____’, even though you had it first. v_v … as with every idea I’ve seen this month, though, yours sounds like it was great. (: – I think when we’re younger, we let our imaginations run away with us sometimes, and the results, while we might look back on them in embarrassment or derision, were actually great at the time. xD awesome post. ^^

  4. Don’t worry- that storyline is so widely used, it’s hardly plagarism anymore. But it sounds… interesting. And, you know, my first stories were weird too. You always got farther than I did, however.

  5. Oh I know that feeling! You write something, then a book comes out AFTERWARDS that has so much in common with yours, and you’d never heard of the author but everyone else says you copied it … yes, I think we’ve all been there! After all, there aren’t really many plots to go around, so surely some are going to double at some point?

  6. It seems that all the previous commenters have taken what I had to say, just like Cornelia Funke, who does that all the time to me. Reckless was an almost direct copy of MY storyline. *Sigh.*

  7. Great post, and you sound like an awesome writer, and a (ex) literary wunderkind to boot.

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