Friday, June 12, 2009

To Scratch and Scribble Part 2

Before I start, let me just say that I appreciate the comments and the stories you, the readers, share with me. As I always say, us writers have to stick together.

Couldn't find my little red book, but I will continue to look.

After dabbing my hand in the scribble bucket of paint, just beginning to find out what my imagination was capable of, I discovered that I had a love for reading. And it was picking up fast. My brother was also, at the time, an avid reader and just discovered a series that I couldn't get enough of. He started off reading two or three of the books. Me being his little brother, not only did I emulate him and shadow his every step, but I was also a little bastard of a competitor. With videogames, my brother would royally hand me my ass several times over. And that was just with Atari and Sega Genesis, people. But I would not be defeated when it came to outreading him (if such a thing could actually be done).

Like a junkie with a fix, every few weeks I would visit my local Target store and stock up on two or three books. I remember strolling in, seeing the stand with six shelves full of new titles and scooping up the copies. These books were great. They were my life.

I'm sure some of you have heard of them.

They were the Goosebumps books.

That's right, I stocked up on all of them. I always had one of them in my back pack. When in the middle of the series, I wrote R. L. Stine a letter, telling him that I loved his books thus far and had an idea for another one. Inside, I included a picture of me holding my two dogs called Bunny and Buster. I never mailed the letter. I was afraid to. I was writing an author who I not only admired but whose sanity I questioned.

By the time I was eleven, I had built up my courage and asked my teacher of a unique favor. Every day, we would do journal entries. We could share funny stories, read them aloud if we wanted. I had the bright idea of writing a Goosebumps book of my own. I thought it would be a snap. I'd release a chapter a day.

My teacher, being one who I could tell didn't care one way or the other, gave me the permission and I was off to the races.

To this day, I don't remember the title of my own story. Also, to this day, I cringe knowing that I stood up, in class, to read aloud my own piece of fan fiction. Plus, I had to write each day, otherwise I was sunk. That put my head in a spin, constantly writing longhand chapters the night before, averaging two to three pages. In the end, the story was finished in twenty chapters. I briefly remember someone else in the class doing something similar, writing a book for his journal entries, but the teacher told him not to because she didn't want everyone to do it instead of their journals. The poor kid grumpily sat down.

The whole story revolved around a boy having nightmares of this monster who is constantly trying to kill him (for whatever reason) and he constantly keeps getting beat up as the creature exits his dream and comes into the real world, fighting him. I even wrote it in the traditional R. L. Stine fashion which, I'm sure, we've all grown to either love or hate. I'd end one chapter with a battle with them on the roof of his house saying, "The monster was fiercely fighting me. He wound up his huge warted arm and tore off my head."

The next day, the chapter would begin with, "Okay, so he didn't tear off my head. I'm in the hospital now with a torn shoulder." What a rip-off, right?

But my classmates were loving it. It was a horror story as well as a satire and they were ready for every second of it. Towards the end I got lazy, like all kids do, and I haphazardly made the excuse that the main character, whilst in the hospital, entered a room where all manner of medical experiments were taking place. The shelves were stocked with vaccines and poisons. Leave it to me to make him find a bottle of stuff called . . . no joke . . . Monster Die . . . which he feeds to the monster to kill him. It was lazy, I know, but I just wanted to finish the story. I was writing every day for 20 days straight and I think I burnt out my brain.

But it was fun. I even like the show that followed, though it was cheesy.

Looking back, I see now that my story was a combination of How to Kill a Monster and Monster Blood.

So what Fan Fiction have you written? Were you a fan of the Goosebumps books?

"Read. Read. Read. Just don't read one type of book. Read different books by various authors so that you develop different styles." ~ R.L. Stine

1 comment:

Alissa said...

As a former children's librarian, I can say that Goosebumps books are still well-loved. I do recall being obsessed with the Babysitter's Club books and having to go out and buy everyone. I think my first attempts at fan fiction was trying to write in the vein of Ellen Raskin. I had this plan where I was going to write a page every day for a year, and by the end would have a 365 page novel. I don't think I last more than a month. As I recall, all I had was a bunch of eccentric characters but no real story.