I first became conscious of enjoying writing at the age of eleven. I can remember clearly the first ‘proper’ piece of creative writing that I wrote. I was in the fourth year at junior school and had to write a story for an English test. I wrote a story about a tall, ungainly boy named Ian (modelled on my best friend, Ian Gudgeon) who was the butt of mickey-taking in his fishing village ( a Yorkshire fishing village, of course!). Ian ultimately becomes a hero when his bravery saves a fishing boat that is almost lost at sea. I don’t have a copy of the story, Mr Hydes, the class teacher retained it, but my memory of it is so vivid I could easily re-write it. Come to think of it, I may just do that.
I never considered writing seriously until about ten years ago. I had a job that gave me time to dabble with writing odds and ends, but then I underwent one of those stupendous moments of inspiration that happen from time to time, and the whole plot of a novel came to me almost in an instant. Beginning to write it coincided with losing my job, providing me with a full year in which I had little else to do but write. The novel, entitled The Circle Game, eventually ended as a mammoth, three-book story of 280,000 words. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it was rejected by literary agents, purely, I have since learned, because of its length. But I didn’t know this at the time, and after taking the rejection as an indication of the poor standard of my prose I decided to attend creative writing classes to try and improve my writing.
I ultimately became a student of creative writing at the brilliant University of East Anglia, and it was while an undergraduate at UEA that my first piece of work was published in Underworld, the first ever anthology of undergraduate writing at UEA. My anthology story is entitled Withnail, and can be viewed by clicking on the sub-page menu above, or at the New Writing website if you click Here (Opens in a new tab).