I can remember my first ever "completed" story. It was about 27 years ago but still I remember the main character being Brad Stone. Such a hard solid name, so much better that Lorne. And his girlfriend was Courtney Kreiger. Her name was taken from 2 G.I. Joe characters. Brad's best friend was Joe Taputapu. Oh yeah, Love and Jr. High was the big time. I finished that story, amongst looking for the greater meaning in episodes of Doogie Howser M.D., and was so proud. I had written a book. Sure it was only three or four pages but how different was that from being like Stephen King, really? It had a hand drawn cover with balloon letters stating the title and was written on lined paper in a #2 pencil.
Okay, it sucked. I think I still have it hidden away in my parents house along with almost every story I had written on paper. When I was a kid my school district had this thing called "Young Authors." We would meet every Wednesday and talk about writing with the librarian or learn how to type and format on the state of the art Comadore 64's. It was my Glee club. Once a year, May I think, we would get to go on a field trip to the big city (I was in a rural school out in the boonies) for the Young Authors Conference. There would be workshops all day on everything writing and then a published writer would read his/her work in the big auditorium. It was great. I don't think they still do that, but I hope they do.
That first story was 4 pages, double spaced, only on one side. My novel is over 300 pages on the computer and over 111 000 words. Yeah, I think I've grown as a writer.