The First Book I Ever Wrote

We here at Olivia Waite can't remember the first thing we ever tried to write, but we sure do remember the first book we ever finished writing. It was a terrible high school romance written longhand on blue-lined notebook paper, and it was inspired by seeing an ad for this book in Seventeen magazine:

I knew nothing about the book and I didn't want to know. {NB: The author is still writing, and appears quite popular! Here is her Amazon page!} All I knew was that the title—Zoey Fools Around—struck me as the most ridiculous title in the world. What kind of plot went with that title?

I sat down over a weekend and wrote it.

And oh, looking back, it's clearly horrible. You know that scene in Twilight where Edward and Bella are partners in science lab or whatever? {Disclaimer: I haven't read Twilight, though I've read just about every piece of Twilight criticism on the whole wide internet.} Imagine that scene without the abstinent sexual tension and sparkly vampires. Then imagine that scene drags on for several more scenes, before ending with something even more disappointing than a whimper.

There may also have been attempted date rape depicted at one point, to let the reader know the popular-kid villain was the villain and not the hero. (He was handsome, and I didn't want anyone to get confused.) I was reading a lot of Catherine Coulter at the time, and date rape seemed like the high school translation of the forced seduction that was The Thing in romance of that era. Especially as I hadn't been to high school yet myself, but had gathered my information on it from a variety of terrible movies, magazines, and after-school specials.

It's possible this manuscript still exists either here in my library or at home in the house where I grew up. I'm a little afraid to go looking.

From such a beginning, there was nowhere to go but up. No manuscript I ever write will be as awkward, as shallow, as wooden as that first one. Damned if You Do and Hearts and Harbingers are masterworks by comparison—and hopefully those too will be eclipsed by the books I have yet to write.

It's a comforting thought. The worst book I've ever written is behind me, and I hope that the best is yet to come.