When did I begin writing?
That was so long ago that the first instance is long forgotten. I can tell you that the first times were when I'd write new endings for books I'd read. New endings does not imply that I tore out the final chapter to make it more the way I wanted it to be, but sometimes I felt the story lacked a proper ending. I wanted more. So, instead of tearing out chapters to do a re-write, I would add a chapter that brought closure to the story. Ironically, most of my own writing is leaving that bit of room at the end as well.
The definition of writing usually includes a couple version of making marks on paper. Realistically that's true, but nothing says that the paper has to have a physical form. When I was reading those books and extending the stories, I almost never had a pencil and notebook in my pocket. A lot of the time those stories were written on the parchment in my mind. To me it was like watching a movie with a split-screen. One screen would have the words flowing onto the page, while the other was a visual of the characters playing out the scene like a movie.
Imagination is one of those traits that need feeding. Thus when I discovered a new style of adventure in the form of Role-Playing games many long years ago, it was only natural that I would dive into it with gusto. I went with a friend to a little shop that doubled as a comic book shop and model shop. A small group of them had been getting together every Saturday for a few weeks. The owner of the shop had opened up the small empty shop space next to his as a gaming room for them to play. That first game was D&D when it was still in three small paperback booklets. Since that time I have lost count of the number of games I played, many of which have fallen into obscurity.
This was so exciting to be able to act out my own book! We would create these avatars to go on adventures while we shared in the thrill of that adventure. It didn't take long before a large blank spot in the story began to make itself noticed. That blank spot was the avatar's origins. The games only called for creating this character that had such and such abilities. I began to develop backgrounds for the characters, and giving them a reason to embark on adventuring. Many times I would add in little quirks as well. My creations were almost never the biggest baddest ones on the field. I had a wizard that was atheistic and would refuse any form of holy healing. I had a starship captain that painted her ships neon pink. Often times the quirks would draw groans from the other players that liked the simple method of smash everything in sight, but nobody ever claimed it was boring.
Some of the stories I have now are ones that evolved from characters that began their existence in games many years ago. In many cases the games are long gone, but the characters were ones that I loved enough to keep their story going. They had developed lives of their own. When they moved out of the game context, it was into fresh worlds I had designed; those worlds naturally came with a host of other characters that never had time in any game.