The best stories being published on the SNO Sites network

Best of SNO

The best stories being published on the SNO Sites network

Best of SNO

The best stories being published on the SNO Sites network

Best of SNO

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Inside her story

Freshman Ella Early’s journey through art and storytelling
Esta Kamau
Freshman Ella Early works to publish and display her artwork and writing, which she has practiced for years. Early learned techniques from her grandmother’s art and found her talent through writing. “I remember my teachers reading my books out loud to the class and being very proud of them. I said, ‘look, guys, I wrote a book,’” Early said.

When freshman Ella Early was in elementary school, she was often caught doodling and writing on her class notes; now, her teachers praise her for her drawings and stories. Early’s passion for drawing and writing has expanded greatly, allowing her to complete four books, including her newest 76-page story, “When Feathers Fall,” and its sequel, along with several short fantasy and dystopian narratives. Although her stories are still in progress, she hopes to share and eventually publish them for others to read.

Early’s passion for writing began with drafting creative pieces in her free time, which lengthened over the years, growing from short stories to novels.

“At first, [writing] was for school projects. We’d write short stories in elementary school, and I’d get super into them. [So] I would continue and finish them outside of school,” Early said. “Sooner or later, it became a whole thing where I [create] characters and write down everything [about them] over and over again].”

Early uses her digital art skills by incorporating her characters into her stories. She uses the program Procreate for her digital work and prefers pencil for her traditional work.

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One of freshman Ella Early’s favorite characters, Siria, is from her newest book “When Feathers Fall.” Siria is one of the three main characters in the story, and she lives in a magical city called Ensley. Her central conflict throughout the novel is deciding whether to follow Ensley’s laws or what she thinks is right. “She has a lot of strong opinions, like me. She’s a big activist, which I’d like to be. I chose her because she has the best backstory, and her personality reminds me of myself a lot,” Early said. (Ella Early)

“I like to draw my characters so that others can see what I see in my head. It also helps [me] plan scenes, their reactions to events in my book, and [how] they act in general,” Early said. “When I create my characters, I think to myself, ‘which part of me does this character represent?’ Then I’ll take that part and turn it into a character. [For example,] one character could be my creative side. One character could be my musical side. One character could [represent me] all at once.”

After Early finishes a project, she shares it with her friends and family, knowing they always anticipate her newest release. 

“[Writing] is [when] I can just relax and get something in my head onto the paper. I imagine my books a lot; It’s how I spend 90% of my day if I have something running in the back of my brain. I like the way people get interested in my books. My friends always ask, ‘what happens next?’ It gets me really excited,” Early said.

Early’s grandmother is one of her biggest inspirations; she introduced Early to art from a young age and continues teaching her. 

“My grandma inspires me to work more on my artwork. She’s an art teacher [and] does watercolor. She always helps me learn how to draw and make [my drawings] better, and she shares my work with all her friends,” Early said. “Art creates a bond we share, and it’s a huge part of our relationship.”

Early also often works with her sister, junior Emily Early, who helps Ella edit her stories. 

“I’m excited to watch Ella’s stories grow. She’s been writing for several years now, and you can see progress. She plans to publish sometime soon, which would be awesome, and I’m excited to see that. I am really proud of how far she’s come. She’s doing great with her writing,” Emily said.

Because of Ella’s passion for writing and drawing, she spends three to four hours daily devoted to her creative process.

“I want this to be my job: to write books, sell them and draw. I also really want to run a small bookstore [and] write and draw in my free time; it is [the] ultimate dream job for me. It makes me really excited thinking about having my work out there for people to see,” Ella said.

Ella plans to continue writing stories and refining her art through classes at school and practice. The best advice Ella has to offer other young writers and artists is to ignore the negative feedback.

“If someone says [your work] is not good, don’t stop; keep going. It gets easier. If people say something bad about you, don’t listen, just keep going. If you like it, do it. It’ll be worth it,” Ella said.

This story was originally published on Pathfinder on March 13, 2023.