Rated ‘T’ for Teens

(Editor’s Note: This is the first in a new series of columns written by Taylor Shaffer, a tenth grade student at Central Mountain High School. Taylor has a passion for writing and will produce a weekly column appearing on Tuesdays in The Express community newspaper.)

My name is Taylor Georgia Leigh Shaffer, and I’m finishing up my freshman year at Central Mountain High School. I enjoy reading, drawing, cooking, hanging out with family and friends, and most importantly, writing. I’ve been writing since I learned the alphabet, but it didn’t start seriously until a year ago.

I had been writing before then, small short stories here and there, but I didn’t know my full capacity and ability of what I could create. In Eighth Grade, my English teacher would have us analyze poetry, and then write in a similar style as the author had. At first I absolutely despised it, but as time went along I found myself loving poetry and writing as a whole.

As well as my passion for writing poetry and writing a series of stories, a friend named Bryn Miller had introduced me to a club named, “Junior Journal,” where young kids in middle school could write articles about events happening in the school, and they would have their own little page in The Express. That fueled my passion for wanting to write for newspapers, and well as being a poet.

I started writing poetry outside of school, posting it on websites to get my work out into the open. It was exciting for me to do, and it was very therapeutic. Soon after I started posting my poetry, I started writing a story series called The Mage’s Mansion. It started as a one part story, and I decided to write a second part, and then a third, and I kept going until I reached the tenth part and the series ended.

If I’m being honest with myself and others, it wasn’t that good of a series. The plot was thin and bland, the character development was floppy and all over the place, and there was a lot wrong with it. Instead of thinking the worst and hating what I had created, I used it to build off of. I looked up writing tips and asked fellow authors I knew, one being Paul Nelson, author of, “Through Fisher’s Eyes” and former music and band teacher of Central Mountain Middle School. I also asked the current English teacher I had at the time, Joseph Eiswerth, for writing tips and publishing tips for future use.

With all the tips I had been granted from people I had asked, I began a new series named The Cleric Council. It had more word count, and a more developed plot, characters that are described more, physically and mentally, better descriptions of scenery, and it had a better sense of confidence in the words. So not only did I improve the quality, but I improved the quantity. I’m only finishing up the third part as I write, but it is going amazingly.

An immense amount of people have given me a great deal of advice, support, and guidance, but my parents have to take the prize. My mothers. Nicole Hanley and Kristie Taylor, have encouraged me my whole life that I could be what I wanted to be if I put my mind to it, stayed dedicated, and worked hard towards goals I set for myself. My mom brags about me wherever she goes. Whether it be a friend she saw in Walmart, or a random person in Subway, she always manages to sneak into the conversation an accomplishment of mine. Even though at times it may be annoying, I’m very grateful that my mom supports me so much.

My other mom, Nicole Hanley, as helped me in a totally different way. She’s always coming up with different story ideas, and she writes them down on paper to share with me so I can write them. She always tells me, “I can think of good ideas, but I’m not skilled enough to write them down on paper. I share them with you because I know you are.” We have sat at the kitchen table for hours analyzing an idea she’s had, adding small details to the parts and coming up with a plot. She has given me so much support and so many ideas to work with and it’s been very helpful to me the past year.

I’ve had so many opportunities that I’ve joyfully taken advantage of. I never thought that I would have such a deep passion for writing, but it’s become a part of me now and it’s something I don’t think I could live without. I love writing so much, and I have to thank everyone who has ever helped me with it. I’m an aspiring writer with big dreams and an insatiable taste for satisfaction, and I wouldn’t change a thing.