To begin a journey through too many longer stories, we should start at the worst of the lot.
The very first long story I ever wrote was when I was in year 6 at school, aged about 10 or so. My memory of it is rather hazy, but it involved a bunch of people who managed to get into a spaceship that took off before the Earth exploded or something. I don’t know what happened to it, though, but it was, most likely, really awful.
The second was the following year, in year 7, at age 11. A little back story first, though. Our teacher wanted every member of class to show the class something they could do well. We had cooking, we had art, we had people bringing in sports trophies, the works. Well, I wrote a book. Again, my memory is hazy, but it involved me and a bunch of friends in a matriarchal society based in Adelaide, going off to kill the evil queen. Seriously. And the teacher read this out over a period of a couple of weeks – I think it was about 25 pages long. The feedback was interesting to say the least. She never gave me any indication about it, my friends liked the fact they were in it, but I think it was essentially crap.
And so that brings us to the stories I have copies of.
In 1985 (age 14) I wrote a story called Crossed Swords. 29000 words long. It was based on the fact that at about this time I had discovered the joys of Dungeons And Dragons, and so this started off as, essentially, fanfic. But it went beyond that to take on a life of its own. The whole thing reads like a 14 year old boy’s version of high fantasy, with some appalling sex scenes and more cliches than you ever knew existed. Oh yeah, this is not a good start, but a start is indeed what it is.
Let’s fast forward a year, 1986 (15 years old), and a tale called Stuff Of Friendship. At 28300 words, a little shorter, but a much more satisfying story. Horror, with characters based on those I was going to school with at the time. You could pick them a mile away if you were at the school. In this one, a guy is seduced by a succubus while his friends try to save him. And for the first time – subsequently revisited many, many, many times – a lot of the action takes place in country South Australia. Again, poorly written, cliches abound, but there is a small underlying charm to the whole mess.
Very, very brief overviews of the first long stories I wrote. Nothing great, but everything has to start somewhere. And for my adventure in writing the long form, this is my start. My first novels/novellas were crap… but that’s okay. Because I could really only get better from here.