Hello there and welcome to the first instalment of blogs that are centred on my writing.
I think the best way to introduce this blog is to start from the beginning.
I don’t think anybody started writing without having a background in reading. I was hooked on books from an early age. My first great obsession were the Gumdrop books; written and illustrated by Val Biro. They were about a car; a 1926 Austin 12 hp; that got into a thirty-seven story long series of adventures. They captured my youthful imagination greatly.
Roald Dahl’s many offerings came along next. How any child could resist these incredible tales is beyond me and yet there are some that do. From The Twits to James and the Giant Peach; from Esio Trot to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. There wasn’t a book by the great Roald Dahl that didn’t ignite sparks in me and fill me with some kind of wonder.
There were many passing fancies in between, but my next great reading obsession was the works of Brian Jacques. The Scouse author who passed away in 2011 really was the one who lit the fire for me wanting to become a writer. I was captivated by his Redwall stories and read many of them cover to cover in my pre and early teens.
The first story I ever wrote off my own back was based on the Redwall series and featured characters that were somewhat similar. While my imagination was lacking as regards creativity, I at least had the bravery to start somewhere and prove to myself I could do it. I enjoyed writing the first one so much that I wrote a second shortly after that ran alongside the first. Sadly the name of both stories escape me now and I believe they’re long since eradicated.
I used what I gleaned from writing that story to co-write one for an English assignment with my friend and in the process earned us both an A grade. It was an original adventure story and the main characters were all birds of prey. My English teacher was agog as she had no idea where this creativeness had suddenly burst from. I did and I thank Brian Jacques for it.
My next mini venture was to start writing a Dirk Pitt story. Those of you who are unfamiliar with Dirk Pitt will not be familiar with Clive Cussler. After Brian Jacques, I started reading Clive Cussler’s novels and became immediately hooked. I’ve gone on to read every Dirk Pitt story bar the most recent ones and they’re the best books I’ve ever read. I had a crack at writing one as sort of an experiment. I didn’t get far, but Cussler had laid his influence on me in a big way.
I was off now. I knew I wanted to write stories, but what next? At fourteen years old my interests were a weird mishmash. I was a keen and regionally successful swimmer. I loved watching horror films, Bruce Lee films and Beavis & Butt-Head. I had just got into dance music and had developed an obsession with Ibiza. I was also probably a little obsessed with the fairer sex. In fact I definitely was!
In the end I settled on a horror story. A horror story set in Ibiza. A horror story set in Ibiza where the main protagonist was a tall, muscular, extremely tough blonde guy who had gone on a group holiday with a bunch of friends. The antagonist was a mask wearing, machete wielding maniac. Not original, but I was happy that the setting was at least.
I called the story (somewhat unimaginatively) Horror Holiday. I got really stuck into the writing and believed in the story greatly. When I finished it I wasn’t happy. Not with the story, but with the fact that the story had come to an end. So I rewrote the ending and then immediately started on a second instalment.
I ended up completely rewriting the first one a few times so that the continuity was there for the second. I took it so seriously and had really big ideas for the series. The second one ultimately became a huge delve into the psyche of the antagonist and there was a massive injection of intrigue. I also part planned a third story.
However, now I look back on Horror Holiday and Horror Holiday II some ten years at least after I last added to them, I realise that the whole exercise was mainly just a chance for me to put some lewd sexual fantasies in print as well as some super detailed gore. I actually enjoy reading back over what I wrote, but more in a patronising, ‘was I ever that young’ manner than thinking I was actually onto anything worth continuing.
By this point I was in my twenties and writing was rather pushed to somewhere near the back of my list of priorities. I had a bash at co-writing a comedy series with one of my best friends. I still uphold that our product was a good one and we had some really good fun discussing ideas and bandying them back and forth; often taking long walks together just to talk it all out. We’d then sit in his conservatory on his laptop and type out what we had.
Ultimately, our attempt failed when BBC decreed it not to be something they would consider for the then youthful BBC Three; something which has since boggled my mind given the absolute drivel I’ve seen them air on the now online only channel. I still have the scripts stashed away and I’ll never part with them; for the memories if nothing else.
I began writing another story during this period. It was the first story I started typing in what is now my story writing format. I won’t give away too many details as it may be something I go back to one day, but I had a crack at something more romantic this time, albeit with a hint of tragedy. I got almost 30,000 words into it when I must have lost whatever connection I was feeling. It’s been perhaps over seven years since I last added anything to it, but it obviously sparked what was to become my greatest writing achievement to date.
And that brings me right up to the present. Six years ago I began working on the story that I know is my ‘make or break’. I finally finished what is the first instalment earlier this summer after years of procrastination and making excuses. I believe my story is a good one and I know that if I can’t live my dream of becoming a published author with this one then I probably never will. Work has already begun on the second instalment in spite of the fact that my unofficial proof-readers haven’t yet got back to me with their verdict about the first.
Maybe I’m so confident they’ll think it’s brilliant that I’m just diving in blindly and ignorantly. Maybe it’s impatience because the proof-readers are taking rather a long time to give me any feedback. Or maybe I’m just so in love with my story that I can’t actually bear not writing it. A little of all three I’d perhaps wager.
I love writing and always have; even during those times where I was too busy doing anything else. It was always in the back of my mind to get on my laptop and hammer away at the keys. Now I’m here blogging in the hope that it’ll be a stepping stone towards the dream. I thank you for sharing my journey and I hope that, one day, I’ll arrive at my destination with you all.
I’ll be back soon with more Living the Dream. If you have anything you’d like to say then I’d love to see your comments and I’ll endeavour to respond as soon as possible like always.