What did The Learning Curve teach me about writing this week? Week 1.

I have been trying to learn about writing for a while now. Each week I’m reading books and reading blogs and articles, trying exercises, all in the name of improving my knowledge and application of the craft of writing.

I know I have a long way to go. This is evident in many ways, such as my complete lack of grammar skills and some basic questions I have surrounding…well, every aspect of writing. If you are like me and are just keeping your head above water, you might find this new series I’m embarking upon helpful. Each week I plan to blog about what things I researched and read about in my quest for literary competency. I will cover Questions I asked myself, interesting blogs I read, and content covered in current writer-self-help book.

This weeks writer-self-help book: Writing with Emotion, Tension & Conflict by Cheryl St.John.
This weeks writer-self-help book: Writing with Emotion, Tension & Conflict by Cheryl St.John.

There will be questions I address that people know the answer to. Some questions may even seem silly. But I was once told no question is silly, if you don’t know the answer to it. I’m sure I’m not the only one learning out there. Continue reading “What did The Learning Curve teach me about writing this week? Week 1.”

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How I Write: A writer-in-progress

There has been a fantastic writers meme going around where writers let us inside their heads, letting us know how they view their writing process. So far, it’s been great for me; it’s always nice to know how another writer gets through each day, as much of the time I am comforted by their processes, realising we all work in different ways. There is no absolute, correct, hard and fast rule to writing, which is a thought I’m comforted by.

I read Beanie Queen and Contemporary Romance Author Lily Malone‘s 2 weeks ago, then followed her link to Kylie Kaden‘s last week, and somehow between then and now, Lily asked me if I’d pick up the baton – despite the fact I’m not even published yet, which I have to say, made me pretty chuffed. Hence my title: Writer-In-Progress. Continue reading “How I Write: A writer-in-progress”

I’m un-published. Why am I having my Manuscript Edited?

My manuscript is finished. All done. But I have no agent, no publisher, no prospects. Why I am paying someone to edit it?kill your darlings

I wanted a professional opinion on it. I finally finished it but knew it needed more eyes. I felt that as I AM a newbie, I would benefit profoundly from having a professional help me polish my manuscript to perfection.

I am so, so pleased I did. Continue reading “I’m un-published. Why am I having my Manuscript Edited?”

Introducing Nevaeh Eaton, my main character from Finding Heaven.

Okay, so I realise now my last post may have been slightly depressing. Especially to anyone waking up in the morning and reading it. So here I thought I’d balance it out with a except from a scene that has as much depth but is from the lighter side of life.

Nevaeh Eaton is my main character, FInding Heaven is told from her perspective, following the story of her first love from age twelve to twenty-six.

Eager to hear your thoughts:

That weekend we went to Burleigh Heads. All our friends were there, we sat on a multitude of picnic blankets on the hill watching the sun go down. I sat between his legs, his breath tickling my ears. He told me that I was right – our lives were just beginning. As the sun dipped below the horizon the sky was a plethora of colour. Blue, orange, pink, and green ribbons streaked across the sky.

‘Do you see that colour there?’ I asked. ‘The green in between the blue and the orange?’

‘Yes,’ Travis replied.

‘That’s the colour of your eyes.’

I could feel his smile against my cheek. I would often stare into his eyes, losing myself. I would forget time and place, and people around me. Travis ran his palm the length of my arm, his touch so tender. The feeling of skin to skin, it’s something that’s hard to describe, impossible to forget.

‘Is it?’ His voice was a melody, a vibration that melted my insides to honey.

‘Yep.’ I knew the smile on my face was the physical affirmation of the blazing happiness I had inside myself. I truly believed life just couldn’t get any better. ‘It’s always so hard to describe, the colour of your eyes. But that’s it, right there. The green in the sky after sunset.’

 

Have a good weekend!! xx

Editing. Editing. Editing. Plus a teaser.

It finally happened. After 4 years and a lot of stopping and starting, it’s finally done. I’ve been through the hardest time of my life, moved three times and now I’m on the other side of the world about to witness my first white christmas (hopefully) after travelling for 5 months (with another 5 to come!) with a man I’m crazy about, and it’s finished. I completed ‘Finding Heaven.’ (N:B I may ask for help with this title. It has stuck with me the whole time but I’m not quite sure about it.)

I’d like to clarify that this is not the first draft. This is draft number…..who knows? I have edited many of the scenes many times, while some are still fresh, but I have finally written ‘The End’ and I’m ready for the next phase.

What is the next phase?

For me, it’s reading through the script from beginning to end, ensuring I have fixed all the “XXX” I’ve put throughout. XXX is my symbol to say “You’re not finished here yet!” or “I’m not quite sure about this…” At this stage I want to ensure the spelling, grammar, plot, characters, you name it, are as correct and smooth as possible.

One drama with this is that my eyes have seen this writing for a long time, and sometimes I read things in my head as I know they should be written, not necessarily what I actually wrote. Does that make sense to anyone else?

This is where my search for an independent editor began, and is where I found Marion from Making Manuscripts who has agreed to work with me, editing and polishing this manuscript. To what end, no one can guess at this stage, but I’m very excited about the possibilities.

Many of you will not know about my previous blog I had when I first started following my writing passion. On this blog I posted a scene excerpt from ‘Finding Heaven’ in December, 2010. Yes, three whole entire years ago I was working on this. However I’m proud to so I have accomplished a lot in the six months, re-working the original manuscript and adding over 40 thousand words to the word count. Anyways! Just for fun I thought I would post the original version and the new version of this scene for fun. No dates.

I’d love to hear your feedback. Which one do you think was written first? Which one do you like better? Maybe I had it right the first time. Maybe I’ve got more work to do! What do you like or dislike?

I also have created a “Writer” page on facebook, looking forward to the day when I can change that to “Author”. Please head over a ‘like’ to get all my blog posts and updates on facebook (here).

So here goes, in no particular order (you may need five minutes with a cup of coffee to read them. Or wine. Maybe wine.):

Disclaimer: Contents may not be suitable to those under 16 as contains adult themes. Also, it’s not the happiest of scenes, so if you are needing a pick-me-up maybe save this reading for later, and instead check out these cute pictures of a toddler and his two-month-old puppy. 🙂

Version 1:

The tiles were cool beneath me.

It was nice.

Everything was foggy. I could just make out the porcelain of the toilet. I could hear my breathing; shallow, and slow.

The CD player in the background was skipping the same part over and over, but I didn’t care.

Suddenly it stopped.

‘Nev?’ Sadie’s voice floated to me from some faraway place. I tried to say ‘I’m in here,’ but all that came out was a hoarse soft croak.

My throat hurt.

‘Nev!’ her voice was right over me now. I tried to see her but she wasn’t in my line of vision and I couldn’t make my head move.

‘Holy shit! Nev!’ her hands were on me, I felt two fingers on my wrist. Her touch felt like flames to me.

Her hand brushed the side of my face, pushing hair out of my eyes. Everything was blurry but I tried to focus.

I still couldn’t see her.

‘What have you done?’ her voice was frantic.

I wanted to cry. Why does she even care about me? I don’t deserve it.

I closed my eyes and begged to be taken.

Her hands were pulling at my arms and chest; trying to move me onto my side I think. I saw flashes of the world from under my heavy lids.

My mind couldn’t recognise anything; mostly I just saw the blackness. For a moment I feared I was going blind; a heinous twist of fate, as I would be left alone with the images of my mind- the very things I wanted to hide from.

Die from, just so I wouldn’t be left alone with them again.

Version 2:

I was on the floor of the bathroom, the tiles cool beneath me.

It was nice.

Everything was foggy. I could just make out the porcelain of the toilet. I could hear my breathing; shallow, and slow.

The CD player in the background was skipping the same part over and over, but I didn’t care.

I had been trying to get to wonderland, but lately it had been getting harder and harder to get there. I would disappear into the darkness, letting it swallow me, and then something would pull me out.

As my body lay still and motionless, pain simmered through me. But I couldn’t move. Like my body was giving up. I just lay there. Flickers of consciousness were breaking through and my mind would bubble with thoughts, as if it had been drowning when suddenly it could break the surface and gasp for air. It spoke to him. My heart broke in my limp chest all over again as words I never dared to think broke from a forbidden part of my mind through the wall I was so carefully building.

It starts deep inside me, whenever I think of you. A dull ache in the middle of my chest. The very heart of me, my soul. It spreads down to the pit of my stomach, a throbbing, pulsing, living pain. It spreads up to my throat, choking my voice, into my mind bringing tightness into my skull. I pray Travis, not again. I pray, not again. 

But it comes. The vast emptiness engulfs me once more. I am consumed. 

My arms were splayed out on the tiles, I couldn’t move them, I couldn’t move at all. Salty hot streams rolled as thoughts I had banished forced their way out, I was powerless against them. I stared up at the ceiling, willing my mind to give out, prayed that I should pass out and stop this assault. Physical pain pierced my chest like a sword.

Will time extinguish this fire in my heart? Or will I feel this always? Will I ever stop asking ‘Why?’ That question, ‘Why?’, it seeks me out, grips my heart in its fierce claws and squeezes until I fold and scream. Every breath is squeezed from my lungs Travis, every moment lacks life, it is a deep void. I’m overwhelmed and alone. I can’t do this anymore… 

Do you ever think of me? Do you ever wish you could hold me to your heart and tell me everything will be okay?  Do thoughts of my face, my laugh, and my hands on your skin ever catch you off guard and consume you? Do you ever think of the life you left behind? 

The music stopped.

‘Nev?’ Sadie’s voice floated to me from some faraway place.

I tried to say ‘I’m in here,’ but all that came out was a hoarse soft croak.

My throat hurt.

I’m here, I’m here…

‘Nev!’ Sadie’s voice was right over me now. A fuzzy shape blotted out the light from the ceiling.

‘Holy shit! Nev!’ Sadie’s hands were on me, I felt pressure on my wrist. Her touch felt like flames to me.

Her hand brushed the side of my face, pushing hair out of my eyes.

I tried to focus on the coffee-coloured haze above me, hands on my face, my head lolled.

‘What have you done?’ her voice was frantic.

Nothing. I wanted to tell her. Words wouldn’t come out. I just wanted it to stop.

I squeezed my eyes shut. I wanted to tell her to leave me, she should stop caring about me, I didn’t deserve it.

My eyes still closed, I begged to be taken.

Her hands were pulling at my arms and chest, trying to move me onto my side. I saw flashes of the world from under my heavy lids. Heard her shouting, calling out. Felt something being shoved down my throat.

And then I didn’t see anything. Felt nothing but a darkness closing in around me, one I had never felt before. Relief started falling over me, I felt light. Yes, I thought, wonderland.

 

Can’t wait to hear your thoughts! Whatever they may be 🙂

Ali Elle on being organised (insert sarcasm here).

I’m unorganised.

Anyone who knows me knows this. I’m also late. Constantly late. My best friends all know that I will be there for them, I’ll just be there half an hour after I’m supposed to be there. To make up for it I usually bring wine.400Alice-White-Rabbit_l

I’m always searching for that ONE way to keep track of everything – especially all my writing, but every time I try something it inevitably seems to be a phase until I find the next amazing app or gadget that’s going to solve all my worries. Continue reading “Ali Elle on being organised (insert sarcasm here).”