The Second Draft.

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I’ve finally finished editing the first draft of 1:58 and if there is anything I have learnt from this experience of using a red pen on my own work it is this – I can be brutal. Many writers say that they don’t like to ‘kill their darlings’ but I found it quite easy to use my inner-editor to cross out sections that didn’t work, be brutally honest about my use of clichés and accept that there were parts of my novel that just didn’t work.

I had a dream a few nights ago about my novel, when I woke up I realised all of the mistakes I was making with my story and I quickly jotted them down. I’m going to make some major changes, from the name of the novel to the events that take place in the narrative. It’s still the same story in many ways and I am keeping the characters that I have grown to love but the novel didn’t excite me when I read it back. If it doesn’t excite me, then it’s definitely not going to excite a reader.

This is the first time I have completed a novel and edited my own work, so it’s an entirely new process for me. I am excited to get started on the second draft, it may take three or four drafts before this novel is ready but I’m willing to put the hard work in to really create the best story I possibly can. No one said it would be easy. Ernest Hemmingway once said “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” A little dramatic but he definitely has the right idea.

 

 

 

 

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Letters To Emily

I’m still amazed that I completed NaNoWriMo in 2014. I set myself the challenge to write 50,000 words in 30 days. I completed it and now I feel like I am ready to write another novel. Writing 1:58 was an amazing experience, I finally finished a novel. It was a big achievement to actually finish something. 1:58 is technically a novella but it’s definitely given me the confidence boost that I need to move forward.

I learnt a lot from the NaNoWriMo experience, I found that discipline was extremely important and I learnt to turn off my editor voice in my head and just write. I really loved the characters in my story but once I wrote the finally word and ended it with a full stop, I knew that the plot definitely had to change. My original story fell flat and I knew I could do better. That’s when I started to plan Letters To Emily.

There were many different titles but I’ve decided to settle on Letters To Emily because it fits the idea I have in my mind perfectly. I’m still using the character’s Eleanor Hemming and Lacey Collins because I loved writing about their lives in 1:58. However, instead of the story being centred around two babies that were switched, I’ve decided to change it to a child that is taken.

Now, I know that the idea has been done many times before but there are a few twists and turns that I have planned to make sure that my novel stands out. There will be many different forms in the novel. Letters and messages will be embedded into the narrative and the story will not only focus on the lives of Lacey and Eleanor but their daughters Charlotte and Erin and let’s not forget Lacey’s husband Ben.

A big secret will change the lives of both families and I want to focus on how a tragedy can effect a family. I also want to write about the bond between mother and daughter and another layer to my story is how the internet has become an important part of our daily lives. Charlotte and Erin meet on an online chat room, they become friends and confide in each other about the daily problems that they both face. Erin feels disconnected from her mother Eleanor, they never stay in one town for long and she finds it difficult to meet new friends. Charlotte is tired of constantly being in Emily’s shadow, her mother is still obsessed with finding her daughter even though ten years have past. Ben doesn’t know if he can save his marriage and Lacey is either running her bookshop or posting in an online forum about missing children.

I am confident that this is the book that I want to write. I know that 50,000 words is achievable in 30 days so I shouldn’t have an issue with writing 80,000 to 100,000 words with no deadline. Of course I would love to finish the first draft of the novel by the summer, so I can edit it and make it better and hopefully get it ready for publishing by the end of this year.

Learning To Move On

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The frosty air is icy cold against my skin; it must be time for winter once again. I walk down a familiar street. I have my scarf wrapped around my neck and earmuffs protecting my ears from the howling wind. I try and look ahead but the pressure of the wind is gushing against my face. The air smells fresh, I can smell damp. It must have rained earlier that day, I thought. I can still taste the hot chocolate I had moments before and I still feel its warmth. The wind intertwines with the branches of the nearby trees.

I’ve been walking for a while now and the air appears to be getting colder. I look up at the pale white sky, no patches of blue in sight. A few minutes later I feel a snowflake land on my cheek, the snow begins to fall softly at first. I don’t have far to go now before I reach the place I have been longing to visit. I couldn’t face this day a year ago, still battled with grief I refused to go there.

Minutes later the snow emerged from the sky. The white flakes fall like shooting stars. I was almost there. I walked past an old Victorian styled house; I could smell a burning coal fire. I didn’t like this smell. It reminded me of a burning bonfire on a crisp November’s night not so long ago. The smoke rose out of the chimney and it filled my lungs with the dirty soot, I coughed violently. I only had a few more yards to go and I could feel the pit of my stomach twisting into knots of anticipation. I stood at the iron gates. I had come all of this way, I had to do it now. I tumbled across the uneven ground and there it was.

My mother’s grave stone. I could taste sick in my mouth, it hadn’t occurred to me it would be this hard. My throat was dry. I looked at the ancient stone walls surrounding the church. They reminded me of another place. I knelt down, holding back the tears. The pain of guilt overwhelmed me. My heart sank like a bottomless pit as I began to relive the memories of my mother and me. I miss her. I want to be with her right now. I am finally here to say goodbye, finally facing the demons of the past year. I choked back the tears. “Hello mum” I croaked.