I spent much of my 22nd year writing a 400-page supernatural thriller set in a fictionalised version of my secondary school
All writers start out bad. This is one of those immutable laws against which there can be no appeal. James Joyce, aged 18, wrote a dismal pastiche of Henrik Ibsen called A Brilliant Career, which – with a Dedalian flourish – he dedicated “to my own Soul”. Gustave Flaubert, before he embarked on Madame Bovary, devoted five years to the composition of a chaotic 800-page historical fantasia called The Temptation of St Anthony.
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