MY FIRST STORY is the topic for the third day of #InstaWrimo (see prompts below), and I’m surprised to say I actually do remember my first “real” story.
I was nine or ten at the time, and I had been told stories about Gudmundstjärn, a woodland homestead in Indal, Sweden. It was a fascinating place to spin stories around, as it was the last self-sufficient homestead of its kind in our area. The fact that I knew one of the last children born there, Tant Thea, a graceful old lady when I was a child, and her family made it even more interesting.
My grandfather and Tant Thea used to tell us stories about what life was like “back in the day,” and the idea of people living in a place where they had to do everything themselves was nigh on unfathomable.
What? They couldn’t just nip to the shops if they were out of milk? They had to make everything themselves? Without electricity, running water and machines? Wow, that’s pretty cool…
My young, fantasy-prone mind was infatuated with the whole concept. It was like a completely different universe had existed there in the forest, not too far away from where we lived. But then, they added the plot twist that sealed my fate as a fantasy writer. The most interesting of the old yeomen on the homestead wasn’t some old geezer, but an ingenious woman called Sara-Lena. Hel, yeah, I was hooked!
My first story began exactly as prescribed by Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat beat sheet. The Opening Image showed Sara-Lena running up from the woodland lake that gave name to the homestead, wildly shouting for her husband, Erik, to come see what she’d found down there. And that was the intro to a fantasy/mystery that I kept working on, on my father’s old typewriter, for weeks.
But it gets better.
The inciting incident, the thing that actually kicked me down the rabbit hole, was the teacher who told us to sit down and write a story from our imagination. I remember getting that blank sheet in front of me and feeling how it called to me. I felt the story demanding to be told. Before I knew it, my pencil was hard at work and I was just the vessel the story flowed through.
I also remember being praised by a teacher who didn’t exactly wax lyrical about anything. I positively beamed with pride, until she concluded her “review” by saying I had the makings of a good writer and I’d better not waste it. Like my father, who became a “fucking journalist.” She liked to point out the failings of our parents, and journalists and farmers were at the top of her list of despicable “professions.” She also liked plying older students with blackcurrant wine…
Anyway, the long and short of it is that we all have stories, real or imagined, in our heads. And with a gentle kick in the backside, you could pick up a pen (or open up a word processor) and let yours out too.
Hop aboard the Resilience, my imaginary ship, or make yourself comfortable here in my pandemic panic room, and let’s write. Who knows, we may become each other’s writing buddies in the process.
Here are the daily writing prompts for NaNoWrimo’s preptober challenge. It’s never too late to start, so let’s get into it. Together.
Let’s talk! Tell me about your first story, whether it’s been written already or is still in your head, and please share the links to your posts using today’s prompt in the comments below.
© Evalena Styf, 2021
Writing prompt from #NaNoWriMo Preptober InstaWrimo Challenge: 3 October, 2021. “Your First Story”
The #InstaWrimo is a photo challenge for Instagram, but it works just as well as a daily writing prompt.