The Oldest Piece of Writing: The Haunted City (Reader Participation Encouraged)

The Oldest Piece of Writing: The Haunted City (Reader Participation Encouraged)

The Haunted City, by my fourth grade self.
The Haunted City, by my fourth grade self.

I was obsessed with Sailor Moon and Harry Potter back when I was in the fourth grade–as was just about any kid. They heavily influenced my writing. Since I wasn’t much of a reader, I really only had Harry Potter as an influence. I wasn’t wild about books for my grade level, which were, well, fourth grade level books. You couldn’t read outside your grade level at my school, even if you had a high reading level, which I naturally did. It wasn’t until fifth grade did I fall in love with reading because *GASP!* I had one teacher who had middle grade AND young adult. Books my grade level just didn’t challenge me.

But because I only had Harry Potter and Sailor Moon as my current influences, I wrote a series called The Dark Cat series, which spanned like 30 some odd installations. Needless to say it was all bad, but I was just beginning to flex my writerly muscles with no intentions of pursuing publication with it. Luckily, in fifth grade I wrote my first novel, influenced by all the new material I was reading. It was called “The Ancient Book.” I don’t think I have any copies, but my writing did improve a lot and I began taking it more seriously.

And as you can tell with the picture on the left, I did all my own illustrations. I hate drawing now, but I do love photography and painting.

In any case, I’m going to torture you all with an excerpt from “The Haunted City,” just so I can show you how I got my start as a writer. Here it is:

We had to get ready to go to a haunted city. We flew on our wands. Selsies finally had her own wand.  We arrived at dawn. Electrical things were broken apart. The place had broken windows and such. A black cat crossed our path. We were relieved that it was Tarina. “Dark…cat…power!” me and Selsies said. We were all in our dark form.

The sky was all shady and black. “Watch out!” yelled Michelle. An evil mayor came behind us and almost killed us. I saw two shadows. “I am Dark Forest!” said Sary. “I am Dark Raven!” said Marietta. “You never told me you were witches,” Amber said. “We thought you were not a witch,” they said. “Forest poison,” said Sary. It poisoned the mayor. “Dark cat,” said Marietta. “Right!” she said. “Spurow, protector of Maize. Dark scream. Three elements destroy!” Amber called out.

There are so many things wrong with this that make me laugh. For one thing, the dialogue isn’t standing on its own (because, really, they don’t teach this type of stuff well in school anymore. My brother actually taught me). The story is also clearly first person, but I keep referring to myself in the third person (Amber). I do nothing but tell. Since the dialogue is all clustered together, it’s difficult to even tell what’s going on. Also, the fact that it’s clearly a Sailor Moon rip-off doesn’t help. And an evil mayor…the whole thing makes no sense period.

But it’s cool to look where I started and then to see where I’ve come today.  This story I posted a few days ago on this blog is a perfect example of how far my writing has come. Of course, I’ve improved even more since this story, but that is a surprise I’m saving for Tuesday.

I would love it if you guys posted examples of some of your earliest pieces of writing in the comments below. It’s just great to see where we all started and where we’re all now.

3 thoughts on “The Oldest Piece of Writing: The Haunted City (Reader Participation Encouraged)

  1. I got my start in poetry, so I shall share a poem I wrote in 8th grade. Beware, it’s pretty horrible, in every sense of the word.


    Sadness is a dead bird,
    killed by the power lines.
    Sadness is the grave
    it is buried in
    and the dirt that’s
    thrown over top.

    It’s the song the bird
    will never sing
    and the eggs
    that will never hatch.

    All because of a power line
    and I am
    the power line.

    See…I TOLD you it was horrible! hahahahaha It’s so bad it hurts.

    1. That’s so funny! It starts out so serious, but then you talk about the eggs never hatching because of a power line and you are the power line and you’re trying so hard to be symbolic that it comes off funny.

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