We love sharing our ASH students’ successes and showcasing the hard work they put into their achievements. Today we are sharing the story of 11th grader, Finn H. who is a budding author and in June 2020 self-published his first novel, Stale. We wanted to find out more about Finn’s passion for writing, what motivated him to publish this debut novel, and, amongst other things, what advice he would give to his fellow students about chasing their own dreams and passions.
Self-publishing a novel at such a young age is an incredible achievement and Finn shared with us how he started working on this novel and the journey he went on writing Stale, his debut novel. “Once, when I was in a car heading to the Langstraat at around the start of 9th grade, I had the idea for Stale, so I wrote the first Stale draft all throughout 9th grade (taking lots of breaks) until I finished it at the start of 10th grade. I didn’t like it though, so at the middle of 10th grade, on a trip to Greece, I spent a week rewriting all of Stale from scratch, within a 24 hour time-span. From then on I edited it for about 6 months until I moved on from it to other things. I came back to it eventually, polished it, and then published it.” This motivation to keep writing and making changes until he was happy with the novel, demonstrates Finn’s perseverance and his true passion for this project.
We wanted to know what was involved in the process of self-publishing and how Finn found the whole experience. He explained to us how he used a website called Kindle Direct Publishing that enables self-published works of writing. This included designing the front cover of the novel and entering in keywords to ensure that as many people can find the book as possible. We then went on to talk about how Finn developed the storyline of the novel and he talked about how some experiences in his life had an influence, while other parts are entirely fictional.
With a passion for writing, we wanted to know if Finn could see a career in writing or just wanted to keep it as a hobby. He said, “definitely as a career, if I can, though it feels more like a hobby than a job most of the time. I’ve been writing for a few years (beginning in 8th grade, though I never took it seriously until 10th grade) and I love it. I’m completely certain that writing is something that I will do for the rest of my life, whether or not I’m able to do it as a career.”
Finn also credits Ms. C, our middle school librarian, as a big help and supporter of his writing. “She asked me if she could read Stale, a novella I wrote that I had no intention of publishing or even showing anyone, and got back to me with extremely positive feedback and detailed constructive criticism. This enthused me to edit and polish Stale until it was done.” This really does show the impact our ASH staff have on guiding the pathways of our students.
We wanted to leave the final words on this profile to the writer himself, as Finn shares a piece of advice for his fellow students (and adults as well!). “Pursue something that you both enjoy and have a future with. A job’s never a chore if you’re passionate about it.”