The first time I wrote a serious fictional story happened when I was down with a flu, when I was still trying to figure out where my life would lead to. I was somewhat depressed then.
As a college freshman, taking a course not by choice but by necessity, I felt torn apart. Except for the general subjects similar in all courses, there were special ones connected to the main course. That meant learning something against my will.
I had trouble swallowing the bitter pill of compromise: study or not. Study was what I chose even though it was like mental torture. (In our time, parents had a say as to the course we should take: they shouldered the expenses.)
By the way, the title of the story was Resistance. Understandably, it had different shades of meaning, inspired by personal circumstances.
Once I finished part of the draft, I gave some of my classmates the chance to read it. There were mixed reactions, the majority laughed it off as a science fiction disaster. Only one believed my talent. (He was the mind reader, remember?)
Those were my first tastes of criticisms. Painful to the ears when even light banter had a ring of truth in them.
Not to be defeated, I changed tact. If those I knew would not take me seriously, it was time to ask others for opinion. I showed it to a stranger, someone I met for the first time.
She sat under a tree, trying to pass time, waiting for someone. Its her scholarly glasses that gave me the hint that she would be receptive to my offer.
I was not disappointed: she accepted.
“I don’t understand a word of it,” she confessed after reading, but added, “You can rewrite it and make it simpler.”
That was the most important advice I received.