To be ‘a writer’

The glittering sea and Brighton Pier

The glittering sea and Brighton Pier

There’s an old English saying that everybody has a book inside them. There are at least five novels in me, sitting patiently in my mental inbox as they wait for me to have the time in my life to get on with them. One has even been started and is already seven chapters in, though it’ll probably take several  more years before it’s ever finished. At least one of the good things about writing over rock ‘n’ roll is that it doesn’t really matter what age you are when your work is issued – if it’s good, it’ll stand up on its own.

Being a writer (particularly of fiction) requires taking the time to learn the craft. Short stories are a good way to start. They can be any length, give a chance to provide sketches of characters, plots or settings, and are generally much easier to finish than novels. This is where I’ve begun my journey with fiction writing. Don’t hold your breath though, this one’s a marathon, not a sprint.

Getting down to business

Americana collage by Dom Pates

Americana collage by Dom Pates

Although I’d dabbled with short stories for several years, it took a long time to actually finish one. Living in Tampa, Florida in 1994, I started the first short story that would both get completed and be of a certain standard (see ‘Sylvian’s Crash‘). Looking back on it now, it reads as a story written by a much younger man living quite a different life to the one he currently lives, and very clearly influenced by the writers I was reading at the time. It was a good exercise in writing though, and very satisfying to finish it. Some of the short stories featured here also originate from that same time.

Following on from the mid-90’s kick-off, it would be several more years before I got down to writing any more. The next batch were crafted whilst living in Tokyo and I managed to go one step further this time by actually getting one of them published (‘My Little White Box‘). There must be something about the experience of expatriation, of living in a new land and trying to interpret that which is going on around you, which is conducive to writing well in character. To me, it’s what made writers like Henry Miller and Graham Greene what they were.

Using this page

Detail from a bridge on Tokyo's River Sumida

Detail from a bridge on Tokyo's River Sumida

By selecting ‘Fiction‘ or ‘Short Stories‘ (there are currently only short stories) from the drop-down Categories menu on the right of this page, you can find some examples of my fiction writing.

If you’ve liked, loved or loathed any of the stories you’ve found here, have any questions or comments about them or would like to commission me to write a story for your publication, please submit a comment below.


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