Into that exercise book I handwrote many short, rambling stories. Each in spidery script that never improved. All are long since consigned to the dustbin of history. I read as much as I wrote: a varied diet of books, magazines and comics.
When I was a boy I loved 2000AD, The Three Investigators, Choose Your Own Adventure, Mythology and folk tales of all kinds. As I grew up I started reading Douglas Adams, Terry Pratchett alongside horror authors like Stephen King. My early work was an odd collision between all these styles and imaginative ideas. I'm sure it is hard to imagine what it is like to read a story that is a cross between The Shining and Judge Dredd with a dash of celtic mythology. The results were not always successful, but they were always interesting.
During this time my handwriting issues became less and less of a problem as I learned to type. Solid plotting, rounded characters and other features of good writing were not so quick to follow. Still I kept at it, producing about 100,000 words of unreadable tripe by the time I was 18.
For a short while I dedicated myself to scriptwriting, this helped enormously with getting my ear in for dialogue. Between the ages of 18 and 23 I produced two novels and a number of screenplays and scripts. None of these provoked much by way encouragement from the outside world. Although some of my friends told me they weren't bad. (These friends were too kind, they were pretty terrible.)
At one point I did make myself known to regular publishers with mediocre queries about a couple of ideas I'd had. One, I believe, would no doubt have garnered an impressive number of agency rejections if I had kept sending it out. I gave in and self-published it because I thought it was worth preserving but not worth distributing via a national book chain. It now enjoys its long life hanging around the dark corners of the internet read by a small number of people.
This was back in 2005 before I could be a hip indie author, rejoicing, instead, in the title of Oddball McWeirdo. The book I called this self-published opus: The Confessor's Tale and you can go and look for it if you like. (HINT: There is a free PDF available if you look hard enough, dark corners of the internet indeed.)
Also In 2005 I first had a stab at National Novel Writing Month. I polished off 50,000+ words in four and a half days. I surprised even myself with a half-decent effort for young adults called Figure of the Sorcechanic. In 2006 I repeated the word count eventually producing a monster novel called Starfall. It's such a complex piece of dark fantasy it will only see the light of day later this year (2015).
I've spent a few years (2007-2011) pulling apart the mechanics of storytelling. Along with some co-conspirators we reassembled them into narrative role playing games. Some of these are available to buy on the books page.
Since the Kindle has altered the paradigm of publishing irrevocably I have realised what it is I have been training to do since I was ten. I couldn't have known that electronic self-publishing was going to be a big thing, it is just serendipity that it is. Now I have set about directing all my skills toward producing the kinds of stories I am sorry I don't get to read that often myself.
I never predicted the revolution in publishing. I never thought more than ten people would ever read my stories. I'm still not sure that more than ten people will. I don't care. I write. I am passionate about storytelling and... well...
I would like to tell you all a story, the price of admission is low and I promise that it will be a great ride.