Vree’s Beginnings Again, Chapter 1

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This is an edited repost from my old blog Vree Erickson, in which I discussed some of Vree’s backstory. (Vree is a character that appears in many of my stories.)

In the beginning, Vree lived on Myers Ridge in Ravenwood, Pennsylvania. I created Ravenwood when I was 13 and thought it was a cool spooky name for a town. The year was 1970 and I was an eighth-grade student at a small high school in northwest Pennsylvania. I modeled Ravenwood after my hometown and surrounding communities. The town’s countryside was center stage for many of the characters I created from scribbled notes in my trusty 3-ring binders. Many of those notes became foundations for stories typed up on my portable Remington typewriter and shared with friends.

Vree’s character began in 1971 as Vera Erikson, a 9-year-old cousin to a 14-year-old character named Dave Evans and his twin sister Amy. Dave’s best friend was Lenny Stevens, a character whose name was a play on my names.

Eventually, I changed Vera’s name to Verawenda. Her full name had been Vera Wendy Erikson, so it was an easy transition from that to Verawenda. However, the latter was a long first name to type, so I named her Verawenda Renee Erikson and gave her the nickname Vree from her initials, VRE. This was based on an actual event where people in my hometown called a local girl Sam because of her initials.

Digital renderings of Vree, ages 9, 14, and 17, respectively. Copyright © 2022/2023 Steven Leo Campbell at stevecampbellcreations.com – All rights reserved.

An early lesson I learned as a young writer of fiction was character development. I don’t think any author completely controls their characters. Mine were always trying to change situations by doing things against my wishes. I think I learned one of the first rules of parenthood as a young author.

I stopped writing my stories after high school and took life by the horns as I carved out an art career. Along the way, I was a radio disc jockey, a hotel and restaurant manager in the U.S. Navy, a 4-year college student, a cartoonist for newspapers, an art teacher, a wedding photographer, and a husband and father.

One day, I found my old stories in a box and the writing bug bit me again. I considered them first drafts and set about rewriting them. One of the first things I did was change the town’s name to Ridgewood, which sounded like a more plausible name for a town surrounded by long narrow ranges of hills.

Because of my busy work schedule, I kept the stories short. I even wrote new ones without my teen characters. You can find these in my book Old Bones: A Collection of Short Stories at Smashwords.

2013 saw the teenagers Vree, Dave, Lenny, and Amy in revised short stories at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Many readers well liked the books. Most notably were “Night of the Hell Hounds” and “Trespassers,” both of which I revised again for Tenth Anniversary editions at Amazon. More Tenth Anniversary books are on their way, so keep watch of them here at my blog.

I’m a kid at heart, so I enjoy revisiting my childhood when I write about Vree and her friends. I’ll have more information about them in the second chapter of this series of posts. Meanwhile, I hope you check out my current books available at Smashwords and Amazon. Until we meet again next week, have a great one.

Steve, 5/16/2022; revised 5/16/2023

This post “Vree’s Beginnings Again, Chapter 1” copyright © 2022/2023 Steven Leo Campbell at stevecampbellcreations.com – All rights reserved.

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4 thoughts on “Vree’s Beginnings Again, Chapter 1

    1. Hi Mark, Always glad to hear from you. I think you were my number one fan at my old blog. Glad you enjoyed my writeup. 🙂 I liked your latest post about Teddy Roosevelt. We could benefit from someone with his caliber in the White House right now. But…

      Liked by 1 person

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