So this is it. I’ve got not one book but two almost ready to go (not counting a short story and a novella). It’s official — I’ve started writing.
But this isn’t the start. Of course it’s not. A book doesn’t simply appear (oh, if only it were that simple).
So where did this all start for me?
Maybe it was January 2015. The start of a new year, and the point at which I decided to get serious about writing. I started getting up earlier. I took an idea for a story and planned it out. Then I sat down (I hadn’t sorted out a standing desk at this point) and wrote the thing that was to become Dark Glass, the first Dominions novel. And once I had the first draft of this one completed, I started work on the novella that would eventually be called Control.
But the ideas for Dark Glass had been knocking around before this time. And I’d already been writing. Every so often, in the evening, I would sit down with my laptop and type away. I had a few ideas. I had a start, and I knew the ending, but the middle was still a mystery. Without that route map, and without the dedication to make writing something I did every day, the story went nowhere.
So it that point, the summer of 2014, the start? No, because I already had one story completed by this point. I still have it saved somewhere. It’s about 50,000 words, and it’s pretty rough, but I think some of the ideas aren’t too bad. I might even do more work on it at some point.
But go back further, into the early nineties. At this point, I’m working seasonal jobs, spending most of the year in different places, then returning home in the winter, working shifts in a flour mill. There aren’t many of my old friends around back home now. So I’m filling in my spare time with a couple of exercise books and a pencil. This is in the last millennium. I don’t have a computer, so I write long-hand, starting at the first word and ploughing on until I reach the end.
Is it any good? No. I did edit it a few years later, but it’s a first novel, and like many such writings it deserves to rest in the back of a drawer. But it was a start.
Apart from the stuff that came before even this.
In my late teens, I’d occasionally knock out a short story. As a child I read constantly, and that went hand-in-hand with writing. I remember we had homework to write a story. I think our teacher wanted a minimum of five pages. I filled up two exercise books. And in junior school, a few of us decided to write different stories and put them together into a book. I had even seen somewhere in the town where we could get that done (oh, naive child that I was, not knowing what a Bookmakers really was!).
Probably, if I could go back far enough in my memories, there would be scraps of paper with single-sentence stories scrawled in crayon, with the rest of the page filled with a drawing. Maybe I was always coming up with stories.
So I have a couple of books out now. I’ve worked hard at them, from planning to writing, then on to editing. I’ve hired others to help with their birth. I’ve learnt about creating e-book files, and how to market. I’m treating this seriously, because I want to make something of this. I want to continue writing, putting out more books, coming up with more stories.
It’s something I’ve been doing for ages.
It started before I can even remember.