I am the author of the young adult novel The Ugly Inside, book one in the Jenica Aimes series and the upcoming Dragoon series. I started writing due to my older brother. I was young enough that watching my parents swoon over his writing talent made me feel like a dog in a meat packing plant. I wanted a bite.
However, my writing was terrible. Oblivious, I continued to write. Honors and AP classes mixed with low expectations from jaded English teachers who pat my head with good grades only served to keep me in the dark. The cold water of reality wasn't dumped on my head until my freshman year in college.
That was the grade on my first paper. In angry red script the professor had written something like, "This is the most unscholarly piece of garbage I have read in a long time." I admit the news tore a hole in the sparkly image of myself, but as I re-read my own work from that time, I have to agree. Although I had been intent on a career in architecture, I changed my major to English--determined to polish a turd.
The work was rough, but I'm happy to report my writing improved considerably. I ended that class with a B-, and I was more proud of that grade than any A I had received. So here I am, still polishing and hoping to make a difference.