Writerly Navel-Gazing ~ Week 4: Question 4

Part of the 30 Week Writing Challenge. Click here to view all questions.

4. Tell us about one of your first stories/characters.

The very first stories I wrote were about a furry action-duo called Dash and Pal.

Dash was half woman, half fox and 100% kick-ass. She was ripped off mostly based on Lara Croft — because I was and still am a massive Tomb Raider nut. However, with hindsight I can see that she was probably also inspired by Naughty Dog’s Crash Bandicoot. Pal meanwhile was her half-cat, half-dragon companion — a species I creatively called a ‘catgon’. They went around shooting laser guns, recovering artefacts and saving the world from evil Ancient Egyptian cat goddesses.

Don’t laugh, they were totally awesome.

I was writing Dash and Pal for a long, long time — pretty much from the time I was able to pick up a pen up until I was 12 or 13 years old. I’m still able to doodle the characters on demand. In fact, I’ll draw them for you right now:

Dash & Pal
I’m not kidding, I literally just drew this from memory whilst writing this blog post.

I’ll even provide you with an entirely unedited excerpt so you can laugh at my less-than-developed early writing skills. These are the opening paragraphs from the first book, The Hidden Temple, first written circa 1998 when I was 9 years old or something else ridiculous:

Dash and Pal were sunbathing on the beach. It was their day off work. They were local police officers and in their summer break, which was coming up soon, they liked to do something exciting, like going off on various missions and taking high risks. Dash liked living life on the edge.

Dash’s boyfriend Gary was taking a holiday in Greece away from London where he lived. He lived in a flat which Dash had never visited, and didn’t want to either. Not when she and Pal owned a massive mansion. They had won the lottery and Dash, before she took up the police job had been a full time supermodel. She still did it part time.

Dash was half fox and Gary was half dalmatian. They were created in a science lab and had been friends ever since. Pal was an animal called a catgon, which is a cat with little dragon horns and wings. He was brown and his dragon features were a pale red.

I just died a little inside reading that back. It is my fervent hope that my writing skills have drastically improved since then!

After Dash and Pal, thanks to L.J. Smith (The Night World) and Celia Rees (Blood Sinister) I then became obsessed with vampires — as is obligatory for teenage girls everywhere — and moved onto something decidedly less childish.

S.E. Berrow

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