42, the answer to life, the universe and everything (including the question, how old were you, when you decided to write fiction other people could read? – at least, in my case).
When it comes to writing fiction, I came late to the party. Before then, I’d come up with lyrics to hundreds of songs, but never had the slightest interest in writing a novel.
Even when I did start, it wasn’t exactly a burning desire – more of an ‘I’m looking for something to do. I think I’ll have a bash at writing a book.’ thing.
I couldn’t say when exactly, but somewhere between typing ‘CHAPTER ONE’ and the ‘THE END’, the idea that I would like to see my hard work snapped up by a lucky agent and publisher took hold.
I bought a copy of the Writer’s Digest Guide to Literary Agents: 2003. After a quick spell check, I mailed the first three chapters of my manuscript (along with what was probably the worst query letter in the history of query letters) to the lucky agent I had chosen to represent me.
Two days later, I got the infamous ‘John Gubb’ letter, which I often refer to during my writing presentations and workshops.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but that letter brought me to what author/teacher extraordinaire, James N. Frey, would call my ‘You stink’ moment.
The ‘You stink’ moment is the T-junction all writers come to at least once in their careers. It’s when reality strikes and you realize your writing sucks, big time. At this point, writers get to make a decision: We can either quit, or we can work to acquire whatever writing skills we lack. I decided to work.
In 2009, Echelon Press offered me a contract for Fur-Face, nearly seven years after I decided to write a book, at the not so tender age of 42.
How about you?
How old were you when you decided to write fiction other people could read?