Okay, not in a galaxy far, far away but it seems like a long time ago! I began writing fan fiction when I was at university (Essex University in Colchester) reading for my law degree. This was a time when David Eddings and David Gemmell were my ultimate heroes. My characters would plough into fantasy hack-n-slash scenarios, defeating hordes of hapless warriors, their actions worthy of song. It was awful.

I remember the late, great David Gemmell saying at a signing session (at Forbidden Planet in London) that a writer needs to churn out at least 100,000 words (a whole book’s worth) just to get the rubbish out of their system. There’s all manner of scenes floating around in a writer’s head that are awful and need to be excised. I hope that I did that in my early fan-fic days. I parodied all sorts of scenes from what I had read before and, frankly, loved every minute of it.

It was a way for me to create a story that, for me at the time, mirrored my favourite authors enough to convince me that what I had produced was pretty darned good. It wasn’t, not really, but I loved the process. I loved making stuff up.

After that early foray into the world of writing fiction, I backed-off and began my career in law. It took over, though I kept reading. I stayed with David Gemmell and added many others. Conn Iggulden, Robert Harris, Star Wars tie-ins and GRR Martin stand out as favourites that I devoured and my desire to write never went away.

Then, about 10-12 years ago (yes, that long…) I thought it was time that I went back to trying to write. I had this idea for a fantasy novel that I thought was a cracker. The only problem was that I had no idea where to start.

Writing a novel is a HUGE undertaking. This seemed obvious to me and, being the lawyer that I am, I knew I needed to prepare properly if the entire venture wasn’t to be, a) utter pants and, b) a waste of my ‘spare’ time for many years to come. I had read many fantastic stories since my early teens, and some terrible ones. I had never studied English literature (other than at GCSE – of which I had little memory) and had no clue what made a good story as opposed to a bad one. I needed to go back to school.

So, I went to Amazon.co.uk and I ordered some books on how to write.

More on that next time…