This past Monday, I was interviewed by Rivera Runs Through It. The topic was “First Book Love.” During the interview, I credited my father with introducing me to “The Hobbit” and starting for me a life-long love of books and reading. Go read the interview and then come back.
I can credit my father with much more than just introducing me to reading. In the third grade, a classmate brought to school a rule book and game module for a “new” game – Dungeons and Dragons. I say “new” because it was new to me. I didn’t know it had been around for a number of years already.
Within the pages of that rule book, I found a game that let me play in a world that was so similar to Middle-Earth as to be almost no different. I spent a Saturday afternoon at my classmate’s house and learned the basics of how to play the game and fell in love with it instantly. When I came home that day, I asked for my own set of D&D rules for Christmas.
Christmas came and so did my shiny new D&D game. My father, brother and I played every Saturday for quite a while. We collected more rulebooks, adventure modules, monster cards and figures. We played all the time.
Then my dad came home from work one day with this:
It was an older version of the D&D rules that he had kept in his desk at work because he played it during his lunch breaks. Yes, my father had been playing D&D for longer than I had even known about the game. (I am now the owner of that old rule book and it’s worth some cash.)
Not only did my father introduce me to the fantasy genre, he encouraged me to play a game in which my imagination could run wild – a game that allowed my imagination to come to life.
When I tried to write my own stories, they weren’t very good at first – I think I was in eighth grade when I wrote my first short stories. Hang on a minute ….
Yep, found them. Eighth grade. Just found two of them – one hand written mystery story and one fantasy story printed on a dot-matrix printer (remember those?). Trust me, they’re garbage. However, the fantasy story I had submitted to a children’s magazine (stories written by children that is – I think it was called “Merlin’s Pen”) and it got to the second editor before being rejected. So, that’s something, I guess.
Getting back -
My dad didn’t show much interest in my writing at first. Not openly, anyway.
I can’t really pin point when it started, but he began to give me story ideas. Little germs that he would think of but couldn’t write down, because, by his own admission, he “stinks at writing.”
Over the years he’s given me many and many I rejected as unworkable for me (sorry Dad, I know you’re reading this). Other’s have been jotted down as something I felt I could do something with in an ever growing notebook specially for Dad’s ideas (didn’t know that, did you, Dad?).
That picture up there? I remember that day. We were talking about a story idea I had where giants would be the main characters. It was at my aunt’s house and asked her for some crayons or colored pencils and drew a rough sketch of a map for the world my dad and I were discussing.
I never wrote the story, but did adapt most of it into a D&D world that was used many years later.
He’s still coming up with ideas and still throwing them my way.
In fact, the book I’m writing now is based off an idea of his. A very cool idea that I don’t think has ever been done in the fantasy genre. Yesterday, I wrote over 2,000 words. Not much really, but it’s the most I’ve done in years. I’ll be writing more when I finish this post.
One of the books I abandoned that came from a talk with my dad I was bold enough to write a dedication to:
This book is dedicated to my father, Richard Storch,
who took me on my first trips to Middle-Earth,
the world of the descendants of Jerle Shannara,
the Land of Thomas Covenant
and many other places that exist in our imaginations.
I would never have done this without you Dad.
My current book has no title as yet. Titles come last.
What comes first is that Dad gets to read every word right after I’m finished for the day.
It’s the least I can do.
Linking this with YeahWrite 42 – I feel it’s important enough.