Lots of people across the blogosphere are blogging excerpts from their very first book. I've looked around to try to find a few snippets of my first romance novel, written in college, but alas, I seem to have thoroughly destroyed it. (I don't really mean alas. I actually mean yay.) Honestly, that book sucked, although the first three pages were pretty good. After that, it went downhill fast. It deserved to be buried in a dumpster.
But in my diggings, I have discovered my very first book. A Dozen Doesn't, a magnificent opus of dalmatian puppies strongly modeled after The Hundred and One Dalmatians, which was my favorite book at the time. The copyright date (yes, I put in a copyright date-- what can I say? I was obviously a total geek) was March 1977, which would have made me nine. Here is a small snippet, reproduced exactly as written:
Perseus was married to Andromeda. He loved her very much. Perseus and Andromeda were dalmatians who lived with Mr. and Mrs. Lark. Andromeda was expecting puppies. The Larks' daughter was nine years old. Her name was Kathy. Every day after school she would come in with the cat on her shoulder and say, "Are they here yet?" Her mother would say, "Not yet!" Perseus barked to the dog that lived behind him, "Andromeda is going to have pups." The other dog barked, "Good!"
The next weekend Kathy woke up and went to get a drink of water. She looked at her watch, which said seven-thirty, and went out to the living room. Nothing was in Perseus's basket. Perseus was standing beside Andromeda's basket. Andromeda was in her basket and so were several small shapes. Kathy didn't know what they were at first. Then she realized Perseus was a father. Kathy was quiet for a second. Then she yelled, "The puppies are here! The puppies are here!"
There's more-- sixty-seven pages, it looks like-- but I'll spare you further pain. Note the cheerful lack of paragraphing for dialogue and the general lack of coherence. I also notice I had a serious case of passive tense going, although I have to give myself props for classical allusions, spelling, and punctuation, all of which are not bad for a nine-year-old. Not to mention the fact that at nine I managed to produce almost seventy pages of text and illustrations, which as I recall was a huge effort for me. Even at nine I knew I wanted to be a writer. Anyway, there you have it. We learn by doing, and every horrible manuscript we write in our lifetimes brings us one step closer to producing something worthwhile.
A couple of notable blog entries on this subject-- check out the excerpt from Gena's first book, which was pretty amusingly bad, and the excerpt from Charlene's first book, which was disgustingly excellent (and is her very good book from Cerridwen Press, Catalyst).