When Did I First Write The Story of Apollo And Ling?

The first time I attempted to write the stories of Apollo and Ling down, I was ten years old. I spent weeks one summer, writing their adventures in a notebook. The story I wrote back then was largely the very same story that is in Shā-Shǔ The Dragon. Except that it started earlier in the arc, and ended later in the arc then the what was eventually published.

After spending so many weeks writing in that notebook, I sat down to read what I had created, and was horrified by how awful it sounded. The story I had written was nothing like the story in my mind. It sounded immature and full of cliches. Frustrated, I threw the notebook away, and got on the phone to call my favorite author for advice (true story).

A ten year old has no idea that they are not supposed to call famous authors for advice! I picked up the phone, asked the operator to connect me to Orson Scott Card, which she immediately did. Within a few moments the legendary author of Ender’s Game was speaking to me. He spent the better part of an hour talking to me about my characters and giving me advice on how to write. At the end of the call, he encouraged me to not give up, and to keep writing.

I wrote other books, but never again attempted the story of Apollo and Ling until around 2017, when I wrote a short story, more from the perspective of Ling than Apollo. Which I never shared with anyone. Then during the pandemic I sat down and finally once again attempted to write the story of Apollo and Ling. Which resulted in Shā-Shǔ The Dragon.