Beginnings and New Stores

I don’t remember why I wanted to write, I just always have. I can’t remember wanting to be anything else. I’ve always been reading something, from the second I could actually pick up a book. I know it wasn’t the first one I read, I would have read others at school, but The Iron Man by Ted Hughes was the first book I can remember reading. After finishing that I moved onto the Narnia books and Harry Potter. Most of it went over my head, but the basics stuck with me. I cannot remember not having a least one book with a bookmark in somewhere near my bed or desk, and I’m guessing that’s why I want to write. I love the way of telling a story through written words, nothing can beat it.

One of the first things I wrote was the start of a fantasy novel called The Locky Locky Lock Tree. I wrote it in year four, when I would have been 8 years old, with my best friend at the time. I still have the small stack of A4 paper we wrote it on in a chest full of other stories. The Locky Locky Lock tree was based upon both The Magicians nephew (1st Narnia book) and The hobbit. Our teacher at the time read them to our class. It would have also been just after the first lord of the rings film was released, and I was obsessed with it. The story consisted of a young boy playing in a park, and hearing a noise come from a tree. When he investigates the tree he finds a door with 3 small keyholes. He peers through the keyholes and sees an owl inside. The owl tells him that he must find the 3 keys to fit the lock and then he can free him. It was around here that the story gets odd. Even though the story was set in a park near where we lived, so towards the centre of town, the owl gives the young boy a map which doesn’t have any reference to a town at all, but instead a large field with a river in the middle. We were trying to recreate the maps at the start of the lord of the rings books (Three books, I still can’t believe I have never read, despite having read the hobbit more times than I can count). This is as far through the story we got. We used to rewrite that opening section over and over again, with slight variations (I think one time we set it in a car park). We took it in turns to write it, each of us adding something else. But we never got passed that opening passage.

My writing has continued though, for over 10 years (A strange thought). That simple element of fantasy and adventure has continued. My obsession with the hobbit, Narnia, Potter, Darren Shan, Dune and everything else I’ve read has continued. The only difference I can see is that the story we wrote a decade ago was innocent. There was no obvious threat. My writing now is much darker and more violent. I haven’t started a novel in about 6 years where someone hasn’t died in the first chapter. I like dark fiction, but I find it interesting to think that little more than ten years ago I thought people would be interested in reading a story about an eight year old walking around a field looking for 3 keys to free an owl that has been locked in a tree, for seemingly no reason.

Thanks for reading,


I have also uploaded the second short story. This Story was originally written for my creative writing class, and was called Dan and Sarah. However most people didn’t like this name, and I ended up calling it Payback for when I submitted it. I really didn’t like the name Payback, but I couldn’t think of anything else to call it. I prefer Dan and Sarah and have reverted back to this original name. It might be interesting that this story started out as a dialogue only piece of fiction. I added in the description later, just to make it easier to read. I will be uploading stories every few weeks, if you like this one you can follow the blog via email to get updates. I hope you like it, and here’s a link:

About ashleymanningwriter

Young Adult Fiction writer. Horror and fantasy blended together.
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