Hello all,

My name is Matthew (although I've been known as Fred or Freddie to most of my friends since my teens) and I live in the UK.

I've just finished writing (and completed the first edit of) my first novel and I've joined the forum to get a general feel of what I should do next. Whether that is endless editing/re-writing, face the inevitable rejection of editors/publishers, self-publish in obscurity, build a website for my novel, start my next novel etc!

I started writing after deciding to give up online first person shooters (computer/video games). I realised that I was wasting a staggering amount of time and had nothing to show for it. I'd always had ideas about characters/stories that I used to play about with in my head, and over a period time I decided it might be fun to try and form them into a complete story. Fast forwards several years and I have my first draft.

From reading elsewhere on the web, I know my novel is way too long to be considered commercially viable. This means I need to cut some characters and sub plots and try to fashion it into either a single book or into a two part story. I figured while I was debating/putting off doing that, I'd join a forum and get a feel for the world of writing.

What genres do you write?
What do you like to read?
Crime/Thriller - although I'm open to most things
How long have you been writing?
Since I started my first draft about 6-7 years ago
Do you beta read?
Happy to read and offer my thoughts, however I wouldn't suggest that I'd make any sort of editor
Do you have any particular hobbies? Are you expert in any particular field or craft?
This is where I might actually be of use!
I've studied and taught martial arts/fighting for more than a quarter of a century. I'm a former kickboxing champion and I was also a nightclub doorman/bouncer for more than a decade - in some very unpleasant places. In short, I spent a lot of my formative years either fighting or stopping fights - so it's something I know a lot about.
I have also been into target/practical shooting for more than a decade and have a wide experience/knowledge of shooting/guns etc. What's more, if I don't know, then I have friends (some in the military), who might be able to help.
My day job is IT. I'm a technical/service delivery manager and in previous roles, I was a software developer. So the same applies if you have a technical question.

Lastly, my wife and I live together with our beloved Rottweiler Ted (who is my constant companion and also my avatar).

Nice to make your acquaintance!