Writing a Novel! From Childhood Poems to a Novel

For as long as I can remember, I've loved reading and writing. As a girl, I used to stretch out like a cat in front of our wood burning stove on a rug and read for hours on end. My dad commanded the remote control at all times, so rather than watch sports or documentaries-which I was not particularly interested in-I would consume books. We lived just one mile outside of our small town in Nebraska, and I would often ride my bike into town and pick out some books from the library. The librarian always looked upon me kindly as I nervously asked if I could take home more and more books at a time. Why was I nervous to ask to take MORE books home than was usual? No idea. But at the time, it seemed pretty damn scary.

We had writing classes in elementary school, which meant even more exercise in stories and creativity. I loved making up stories and poems. The exhilarating freedom of creating a world or person from thin air and writing it down as truth was tantalizing. But I never dreamed of writing a novel.

One day last year, I found a poem I wrote in fourth or fifth grade I thought I would share. It’s pretty weird.  But hey, most creative people are a little strange.



The Thing

By Samantha Peterson (Year: 1995)

The Thing came from beneath the sink, It was slimy and oily and boy, did it stink. I’ve always tried to avoid that place, With that slimy green thing and it’s purplish face.
But one day Mom said, “I really should think,” “That’ you’d notice what a mess is that porcelain sink,” “Please help me clean it I don’t have the time,” “If you clean it well I will give you a dime.”
“And now,” said my mom, “I am off to my job,” “Don’t spend all day playing with your friend Bob,” So I picked up the phone and called Bob, my friend, “I can’t play till two,” he said, “I have clothes I must mend.”
“Well bye,” I said and hung up the phone, And that is when I heard the loud groan. I walked to the sink and thought it must be the thing, It gave out noises and grunts and even a ping.
Then all was quiet and I knew that I must, Clean the sink well before it started to rust. So I got out the scrubbers and started to scrub, And then on my leg, I felt a strange rub.
It was tiny at first, and ever so small. I refused to go, and I reached for the wall. But the thing pulled me into the sink’s dark place, I saw that slimy green thing with its purplish face.
I shrieked and I screamed, I raised quite a fuss. But I was no match for that slimy muss. And then that green thing, just pulled off my face. And smoothed it on him with his own embrace.
Then he took all my clothes and got all dressedup. He looked at my things, even my plate and cup. Then he called my friend Bob, and said, “Come and play,” And that thing and Bob played all the rest of the day.
Then Mom came home and said, “Here is your dime,” “Thanks for cleaning the sink, I did not have the time,” And so now I’m the thing beneath the sink. I am slimy and oily and boy, do I stink.
Everyone tries to avoid this place, Cause I’m a slimy green thing with a purplish face. And OH! How I’m looking for a child to take, too. Are you absolutely sure that it is not you?

Like I said, I was a creepy little kid. But hey, my mom liked it. And that's good enough for me.

In any case, reading through poems and short stories I constructed as a child helped me gain the courage to begin writing a novel, my first! After all, if I was that unabashedly weird at such a tender age, why should I change now?

And so, in late November 2012 I sent out on a journey to write my first novel.