The First Steps
I was a competitive child. The first “significant” piece I wrote was a poem in Spanish, at the age of eleven (no, I wasn’t any kind of genius; Spanish is my first language). That poem was inspired by another poem, written by one of my mother’s students. I wish I could say I was inspired by his beautiful imagery, but if I’m being honest with you, I was a little jealous at how much my mother liked his poem. She didn’t intentionally cause my jealousy—she is a writer, and she likes poetry. Still, I wanted to brag to my mommy and say “Look what I wrote!” And to myself I wanted to say, “See, I can write too!”
Of course, I never told my mother of my secret intentions. I simply handed her my poem. She loved it. I have written so many since then I wouldn’t be surprised if she didn’t remember that first poem. Like every supportive mother, still she continues to read every single piece I give her.
I grew out of that little competitive obsession—for the most part at least. However, I never grew out of writing. Instead I grew into it. After years of poetry I switched to prose in English, and became passionate about fiction. Since then, I have written in the genres of mainstream, slipstream and speculative fiction. I began with young adult fiction, and then I wrote adult fiction too.
While my passion grew, I went through that natural process of “I want to do this with my life. No. Wait. I want to do that.” That process is not yet finished, but I have arrived at a conclusion of sorts: I don’t know exactly how I want to do things in life, but I know I want to write.
That one realization was enough to spur me forward. I sent out short stories to magazines and anthologies. I began doing research, and the research made me confident enough to start Zora’s Writing, a blog where I share writing advice and updates about my own writing. Somehow, I also managed to get an internship in the Association of Literary Scholars, Critics and Writers (ALSCW) during my freshman year of college. Then, after reading Write Anything for two years and randomly participating in Fiction Friday, I am now a columnist here.
I am here to write about what I have learned so far, and about what I am slowly discovering. I will write about dialogue, because it is one of the most wonderful but difficult elements of prose fiction. And I will certainly write about how the rules of writing are meant to be learned, and how they can be broken. My opinions may differ from those of others, but I am always willing to listen and I love getting feedback.
I am a young writer, and a beginning writer; but for being 18 years old my experience isn’t bad. Is it?