I realised that I wanted to be a writer when I was about 12. Just around the time I realised that I had as much artistic talent as a mollusc with a club foot. School teachers seemed to think I had a future as an artist, because I drew all the time; but they were either stupid or being nice to me, because I knew that drawing wasn't going to get me anything. I was pretty much crap at it.
At 15, I discovered the likes of Stephen King and Peter Straub and I decided that I would be a novelist. It was a fait accompli; I had ideas and imagination, what could go wrong?
Well, not writing much between the ages of 20 and 30 for a start; mainly shopping lists and mixtape track lists. But a lot of it might have had to do with the fact that from the moment I left school I never attempted to write anything fictional in the short form. I have never started and finished a short story. The format has never appealed to me and because I've always had huge, expansive ideas, I've rarely come up with a decent idea that didn't want to turn into a trilogy.
On Wednesday, I walked the dogs in the usual place and had an idea. I could tell you how I come up with my ideas, but it's actually pretty much the way my sometimes abstract mind works. just because I see something inspirational doesn't necessarily mean it will even remotely resemble the idea I end up with.
By the time I got back to the car, I had a fully formed story in my head; a beginning, a middle and an end.
Yesterday morning I opened up a new document in Word and started writing; by the end of the day I had written a little over 7,500 words. Just before midnight on Friday, I put down the final sentence. It weighed in at just less than 15,000 words and while it's nowhere near finished (it needs editing, rewriting in places and probably 500 words taking out); it's finished! The first ever short story wot I wrote with a beginning, middle and end.
How awful is that for someone who has always fancied his chances of writing best sellers?
It's a sort of dog walking ghost cum disaster story. It tips the hat to MR James and at the moment I quite like it. It gave me chills writing it.
I'm going to do something else I've never done before next week. To go along with baking my first loaf of bread and writing my first short story, I'm going to give it to the wife to read. We've been together 28½ years and I can't recall ever giving her any prose to read.
Before that happens, I will of course give the story its first edit; check for bad grammar and make sure it flows and makes sense; but I'm going to rely on her to sub it for me. Then, after I've made any corrections, I'm going to publish it on here. But first I'm going to ignore it until next Tuesday; allow myself to grow a little unfamiliar with it.
Next Wednesday, if this post has suddenly disappeared, you'll have a pretty good idea why.