Pirate’s Wife never went anywhere, and it’s pretty cheesy, but I feel it is important to mention here the concept of recycling. Pirate’s Wife is, I believe, the first story I recycled. Years later, when I was sixteen, I wrote The Mask of Taranaz, that reused the idea of a pirate’s son who tries to escape from the pirating lifestyle, and ends up doing so while rescuing a captive woman.
Don’t be afraid to repeat a story, or to take bits and pieces from an old story and create an entirely new story out of it. If an idea is good enough to use twice, it’s worth reworking until it shines. That’s why it’s good to keep records and copies of your old stories. You never know what might capture your interest and revive an old spark. Let those small beginnings continue to give to you through the future.
January 30, 2001 [11 years old]
My siblings and I loved radio drama. We used empty sour cream pint containers to make the sounds of the horses’ hooves, and we had a gunshot sound on our electronic keyboard for the inevitable shoot-outs involved in a Western tale. I think we were partially inspired by our recent discovery of Bonanza. You know that old show with the Cartwrights: Ben and Adam and Hoss and, of course, the heartthrob “Little Jo.” We had also grown up with Shane and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, so we were familiar with the basic patterns of a Western story.
Honestly, Partners of the West and all the ensuing dramas were pretty stupid. The dialogue was cheesy, the action was bland, and the characters were cliché. Still we had a lot of fun, and that’s what counted.
Plus, I didn’t know it then, but those early radio dramas were the beginning of my friendship with the microphone. I am terrible in front of a camera. Someday I may get over that, but right now, I would be a director’s nightmare.
But when I’m at a microphone, I’m completely comfortable. Those early experiments with sound actually helped to prepare me for opportunities like podcasting, and they also prepared me for public speaking, which I have done and, according to my listeners, done quite successfully—and which I plan to do more of in the future. My small beginnings may have huge applications in my future.
Don’t be afraid to dabble in different kinds of media. Writing has so many applications. You might be the type who just likes to write books or blog posts, or you may be the type whose work is best adapted for radio, podcast, films, or plays. Try it out. See what sparks your interest. Writers have a lot of options. Be adventurous!