Publishing · Writing

My First (handmade!) Books

I started self-publishing early and, as it turns out, I was writing fantasy and science fiction right from the start! My first books were small but ambitious, and lavishly illustrated. In Write Like a Beginner I shared one of these stories – Creepy Castle – which wasn’t really a book, more a couple of sheets loosely tied with pink thread. But the stories in this post are something else – they’ve got proper covers and everything. May I present: The Book of Giant Stories and Life on Mars.

My first books
Handmade illustrated gems

As with Creepy Castle, I don’t know when I penned these classic tales but I think, based on the handwriting and spelling, it goes: Giant, then Castle, and finally Mars. All three stories share my inimitable humour and violent tendencies, as you’ll remember from Creepy Castle where a rat was prevented from shooting a duck after being pushed into a moat (obviously).

The Book of Giant Stories contains a total of one whole story: The Giant who had no Senses. As stories go, it makes no sense – which is to be expected under the circumstances (I could barely hold a pencil or spell, as you’ll see if you take a closer look at the pictures below). Here it is in all its mad glory, complete with avant-garde spelling and random punctuation…

The Giant who had no senses
The Giant who had no Senses – carefully crafted in pencil

The Giant who had no Senses

Once upon a time there live a GIART. and he lived all on his own. and after two days a witch came to that country. and she made a spell which made him have no senis and that ment that he cade not spek or heer or smell or see or touch or run. Poor Giant.

and the Giant said “I have not got no senis.”

So he went home. But he cade not go home because he had no sense of runing. So he had to stay there. Poor Giant.

Suddenly a lovely princess came up to see him. and she said very kindly, “What is the mater”

But the Giart did not say enerthink because he had no senes of speking.

and suddenly all of his senes had came back. and he was very happy and they cote marid the eed

An interesting first draft, I think you’ll agree 😉

My spelling improved for Creepy Castle, but I still hadn’t mastered punctuation or the delicate art of writing in a straight line. You can read that thrilling tale here.

Life on Mars

Now we come to Life on Mars. This little pamphlet is unclassifiable – it’s kind of nonfiction science fiction and reminds me of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (perhaps that’s what inspired it – I don’t remember). The cover boasts that it’s “A History series”, although I only wrote one of them, and that it’s set 3,000 years ago – a controversial reference to the Alien Astronaut hypothesis, perhaps 😉

The inside cover announces: “Information from Mars by Captain Ketchup” and then gives us some facts about the planet, one of which is wrong: “Mars is the 4th planet away from the sun. It is made of rock, and it has two moons. It is the smallest of the planets. The two planets that are next to Mars are Earth and Jupiter.”

I clearly hadn’t done my homework. We didn’t have Google in the olden days, you see. Now it only takes two seconds to verify that Mercury is the smallest planet. Moving on…

Next are three pages of brilliance, even if I say so myself. We are presented with three examples of Life on Mars: the flower, the person, and the tree. You can see the flower in the picture above: “This flower was found at the west side of the Bangong crater. It is poisonous.

Next: the person is obviously a transvestite with hooks for hands. “This person was seen by a gun tree. This person is dangerous. If he sees you he will run up to you and stick his hooks into your chest and you would die in a matter of seconds.”

Finally, the tree has guns in the place of leaves: “This tree is called a gun tree, and you can see why. If you go near this tree it will shoot you.”

You have been warned!


3 thoughts on “My First (handmade!) Books

  1. You are very lucky if you still have your first books. I cannot recall the last time I saw the ones I made. I remember being very young. I initially quoted my first as being from the age of 5. But, I couldn’t write sentences back then. So, it had to be age 7. It was about how the world was made. Each page had one or two lines and a unique explanation. I can remember two pages with a wizard and a triangular globe. That is all. I may have given the book to an aunt. I remember starting several other books. ‘Not sure if I finished them. Some were tossed by my mother who thought I’d never finish what I started.

    I don’t know if I should be in awe or cry.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Maybe, but there is no way I can recapture where my mind was at then without reliving this life–which scares me just to say it–or going back in time (not sounding like a good idea, either). The new versions would not be the same. And, I am not exactly eager to turn them into kids books at this time. As much as I’d like to make kids books, the market just seems flooded. I’d do better handing them out to people I know and praying they took the time to really appreciate them.



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