J. L. Willow

Author ~ Blogger ~ Storyteller

I was cleaning out my writing cabinet a few days ago when I came across my very first manuscript. Not just the first one that actually had a coherent plot and decent characters — I mean the very first story I wrote. To give you an idea of how long ago this was, this was also when I taught myself to type on a computer. It was a slow and tedious process, but I eventually got the eleven-page story onto paper.

The “book” was titled 2,000,000 Miles to Sqigmire (exactly as I spelled it). I was dead-set on it getting published at the tender age of six. My writing style was evolving so much during this time that, after I finished writing it, I could already see that what I had written was not as good as I originally thought. Subsequently, I moved on to other things and left it in a folder. Looking back now, I’m actually proud of the work little me accomplished. Although I wasn’t a writing prodigy I was able to create a world and put it onto paper. You can see some more adult phrases and vocabulary that were actually used in correct context.

I’ve decided to have a little fun. I’m going to type up the first two paragraphs of my original work (word for word) as I wrote it in first grade. Then, I’m going to rewrite it as my current self. This way, you can see a direct comparison to how far my work has come! You’ll see some interesting things in the original work, including characters named after Harry Potter characters and a complete lack in understanding of tenses. 🙂

I’m actually very excited. This is going to be fun!

First Grade:

Crack, crackle boom! Samantha’s tent was up in flames. Sirens were screaming. You could feel the terror. Samantha saw animals running everywhere. Tiny black dots in the sky were hurling fireballs and blowing fire. Fighting back tears, Samantha yelled, “Wake up!”, and back in her bed she went. You see, Samantha has special powers. She can go from one world to another whenever she wanted to. The world she could go to is called Squigmire. It was the home of Squigglemiffs. Squigglemiffs are bird like creatures that have one foot, but they act and speak like humans. They all have wings and long tails. Her best friends were the pink Sqigglemiffs- Harry, Dominic, Jared, and Jenny. The only way to get to Sqigmire was to say five magic words (I can’t tell you what they are because they are secret!) And cross your hands in the symbol of piece, or whatever the Sqigglemiffs call it.

Samantha was breathing hard. The dragons had come to the Squigglemiffs village. This race of dragons was invisible, two inches long, and can shoot fire the size of your kitchen table. Samantha made sure that the golden necklace was around her neck. She said the five magic words and was plunged into brilliant light. The brightest light you could imagine. When the bright light faded, Samantha was in another world- Squigmire.



Tongues of fire snapped in the wind, releasing clouds of choking black smoke into the already thick air. Singed remains of cloth fluttered down to lie among dying embers. Indecipherable figures backlit by flames scampered across the ashen ground.

Amidst the chaos, Samantha stood frozen, a single point of stillness surrounded by frenzied movement. She was unable to help, unable to move. All she could do was watch as the terror unfolded before her.

A burst of blue-white fire erupted from the middle of the sky and another tent was reduced to ash. Screams tore through the night. Samantha slammed her eyes shut against the sensations bombarding her senses.

“Wake up!” It took a moment to register the voice as her own. By then, Samantha could already feel the covers wrapped too tightly around her. She shot up as her eyes scanned the surroundings. The door, the dresser, the familiar view from the window. She was home.

Her breathing slowly returned to its normal pace. She repeated silently to herself, A dream. It was a dream.

But even though she tried to push the images from her weary mind, the feeling of helplessness remained. There wasn’t a chance at her getting a second’s rest without first confirming everything was safe in Sqigmire.

Samantha’s shaking hands found the golden charm hanging around her neck. Closing her eyes once more, she whispered the words she knew by heart.

A flash of brilliant white lights burned her irises even behind their lids. She could feel the world churning around her, but her gaze remained cloaked in darkness. When her eyes adjusted and she felt safe enough to open them, she was no longer on familiar grounds.

Pretty big difference, huh? I tried to keep as close to the original story as possible. It’s funny, I can actually remember what I was thinking as I wrote this scene and how I pictured it in my head. Even after all these years!

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this. It’s important to remember that writing doesn’t come easy, and everyone starts somewhere. From Sqigmire to the Scavenger, it’s pretty obvious I’ve come very far. I can’t wait to see where writing takes me next!

— J. L. Willow

2 thoughts on “First Grade to Now Writing Comparison

  1. Laura Wierzbicki says:

    So cute! You had a really vivid imagination for a 6 year old. Keep cleaning! Who knows what other gems you may uncover?


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