A couple of weeks ago I wrote about some of the places in the world that I would like to see, that list included the Scottish Highlands (if you missed that post you can read it here). One of the reasons that the Scottish Highlands was included in my list is because one of my good friends introduced me to the TV series Outlander, knowing that the books that inspired the series have been on my to-be-read list for quite some time.
Over the last few days, I found myself with a little bit of time and decided to actually start reading Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander, the first book of the Outlander series and it is everything I had hoped it would be! Diana Gabaldon is an absolutely amazing writer and I can’t wait to work my way through the series, which has eight books so far with a ninth book being written right now, not to mention Diana’s other works which build on the stories of some of the secondary characters in the Outlander series.
As I make my way through the first book in the series, not only have I noticed and admired the quality of Diana’s writing, but also the way in which she describes the more… intimate scenes in the book. It’s no secret that the Outlander series (both the book series and the TV series) contains… well… sex, but there’s something I noticed about the way in which Diana describes these more intimate scenes which I’ll discuss in a moment.
Unless you have been living under a rock, most of you will be familiar (or at least heard of) E.L James’ Fifty Shades series and the subsequent hype and apparent disappointment of the film. Whilst I think that E.L James’ writing style leaves a lot to be desired, the story of Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey showed some small amount of promise. However, the relationship of the two main characters was built around their sex lives and the rest of the story built upon that. This is similar to many other contemporary romance novels, such as those by Sylvia Day, Meredith Wild and J. Kenner (although these writers are in a totally different class compared to E.L James). In these contemporary romances, the relationship between the characters revolves around their sex lives and the emotions that develop. Every element of “intimacy” is described in every sordid detail from the beginning to the “happy ending” and whilst sometimes that may be a good thing, other times it’s not really what the story needs in order to develop. I mean, that’s all well and good for the genre that these books are in and the stories the writers wish to tell, but it’s not right for every romance story and it’s especially not right for Thomas and Rose’s story.
You see, I’ve been battling with the idea of including some of the more intimate details of Thomas and Rose’s relationship as it develops not only throughout Lonely Hearts, but also throughout the rest of the series. I feel that by acknowledging these aspects, the readers will understand the develop of their relationship and it also adds another level of emotion for the characters. I’ve come to the conclusion that whilst it is essential to acknowledge the degree intimacy that develops between Rose and Thomas, as it shows the develop of their relationship, it is not something that needs to be described in explicit detail.
***Possible spoiler alert*****
This is similar to my experience so far of Jamie and Claire’s relationship in Outlander, even though their relationship takes a natural development leading to… intimate relations, it is not the defining aspect of their relationship. The particular scenes I’m referring to are (so far) dealt with quite tastefully without the need to describe every sordid and explicit detail. The scenes are there, there’s no mistaking that Jamie and Claire are intimate, but some of the finer details of the particular encounters are tastefully left out. I know I am only part-way through the first book and this may very well change and I’m fine with that, however it has given me something to consider in my own writing – that it is possible to write about intimate encounters between characters without it defining the characters’ relationship or the book itself. I don’t want Thomas and Rose’s story to be one of those books that people flick through to simply read the “naughty bits”. It happened with Fifty Shades and I’m sure Google would be able to find similar lists for other books as well, but this is not the type of story that is Thomas and Rose’s. Sure there might be romance, maybe even love, but it is not what their story is truly about. With the help of Jozsef, Rose gets through each day but she feels the darkness of her past constantly at her heels trying to pull her down, she sees things that others don’t, including the shadows surrounding Thomas. Thomas has his own darkness and in some ways it feels similar to Rose’s but also very different.
So, as I head off to add some more questions in my notebook about Thomas and Rose’s story, it seems that it is possible to write about “intimate relations” without it defining your characters or story.
“No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.”
― Robert Frost
Sorry I am a day late with this week’s post, but unfortunately it’s been a rollercoaster of a semester and an assessment task that was due had to take priority yesterday.
As you can see by the title of today’s post and by the quote at the top, I am going to talk about the importance of using the element of surprise when writing fiction.
I spoke a few weeks ago about realising a mistake I made in Thomas and Rose’s story (in case you missed it check it out by clicking here). I realised that I had given away too much of the story, too early on eliminated the suspense and surprise that the plot needed in order to develop at an engaging pace. Now sometimes, as the writer, you already know the little surprises coming up in the plot and when drafting you let them go a little too soon. This is when you have to rush back and edit, making sure you keep that element of surprise and suspense up your sleeve (like I am intending to do now I have submitted that nasty literature review!) Other times you are simply writing it as it comes to you and even though you are the writer, one of the plot twists even takes you by surprise.
So far through writing Thomas and Rose’s story I’ve laughed and cried, I’ve been shocked and surprised and sometimes I’ve been downright furious and angry, particularly with one of my more villainous characters. I’ve had moments when I would be writing away and suddenly I would realise where the story was heading. In that moment I feel the shock and surprise that I only hope my readers will feel too.
Without the element of surprise the plot runs the risk of becoming predictable and boring, definitely not something that will keep an audience. Be ruthless in your writing, be ruthless,shock and surprise your readers but try not to be predictable.
So now I’m off to do some rearranging of Thomas and Rose’s story, trying to keep the element of surprise, if I don’t get distracted by Game of Thrones, that is!
I’ve been a little stuck with my writing this week, the writing has not been flowing at all like it was last month. Not only has life and other things gotten in the way of my writing, but also I had this feeling that something wasn’t quite right in the most recent parts of Thomas and Rose’s story. In the early hours of this morning I realised the mistake I had made: I didn’t hold back.
I let go of a major plot twist way too soon, completely removing the suspense I wanted to build. You see, I am pretty new at this novel writing thing, I usually write short stories or children’s books, but never with the intent to publish and I am simply learning as I go. I couldn’t figure out how Rose would react to such a revelation or how the audience would react as well, even though I have never really considered audience reaction to my writing until that point.
This is what I’ve figured out:
Even though we often hear the phrase, “Don’t hold back”, for the purpose of suspense and character and plot development, sometimes it helps to hold back a bit. If you give all the answers and insight too early on, it creates more of a recount rather than a well told story. Most writers have probably already figured this out, but like I said, I’m learning as I go.
When rereading the most recent parts I had written, in an attempt to get the writing flowing again, I began to think about some of my favourite authors and the feeling of not being able to wait to get to the next page and the page after that, almost speed reading in order to find out what happens next. I wondered exactly what it was that kept me turning page after page -it was suspense, knowing enough to know that something was going on but not enough to know exactly what it was. Even if a novel was not described in this way, all good stories have a certain level of suspense. Thankfully it didn’t take me long to figure it out.
When reading a well written story, it is almost like you are trying to solve a puzzle and piece by piece you are putting it together. The words on the pages are the pieces of the puzzle and the puzzle to be solved is in the development of the plot and the characters, eventually leading to solving that puzzle completely by the time you get to the end of the story (and not before).
Now when it comes to writing, you need to keep this in mind, you don’t want to give your audience all of the puzzle pieces, numbered and with a set of instructions of how to piece them together. To keep the interest of your audience you need to drop one piece of the puzzle at a time, always keeping a few in your pocket to drop along the way. You need to find a balance though, drop too many pieces and you will give too much away too quickly, leaving nothing for the ending, but drop too few and you risk the story becoming dull, boring or uneventful, losing your audience either way.
I’ve known the basic plot from the moment I began Thomas and Rose’s story, I’ve even known some of the plot twists (with others added as I write), however trying to figure out where each of these should be placed in the timeline of the novel is something I am figuring out as I go along.
I always have a basic plot outline, but I like to leave some things to be decided while I write.
J. K. Rowling
Now I am heading off to delete a significant chunk of writing (not completely though, I’ll save it for later on) and rewrite that section, holding back a little and saving a few pieces of the puzzle for later.
So, for the purpose of creating suspense HOLD BACK, at least a little.
This week I was lucky enough to be able to squeeze in a little bit of writing time, it wasn’t much, but it was enough to put me back in touch with my characters and their story.
Even though I haven’t been able to write very much lately, getting back in touch with my characters again has been wonderful and has fuelled my passion for writing again. Even when I’m not actually writing, I’m thinking about writing and what is coming next in Thomas and Rose’s story. I have been thinking about how Thomas and Rose’s story began, I roughly knew what their story was, but I didn’t really have a clear idea of what type of book Thomas and Rose’s story would be. I wasn’t sure if it would be romance, historical fiction, paranormal fiction or whatever else, I didn;t really give it much thought, I simply began to write their story. It was a story that was quite a persistent one, one that simply had to be written.
“You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.”
― Madeleine L’Engle
So I set out to tell Thomas and Rose’s story, without slotting it into a genre, without trying to categorise it, I simply began writing to book that wanted to be written.
Quite a few months ago I wrote about genre and the idea of feeling locked in by categorising your writing into a particular genre (you can read the post by clicking here). I don’t want to feel trapped by stating that I am a *insert genre here* writer, some people are perfectly fine with stating that they are a romance writer or fantasy writer or some other genre and thats perfectly fine. If I were to attach myself to a genre though, I would feel like I was limiting myself. Like it says above, you have to write the book that wants to be written.
Lonely Hearts is definitely becoming much more of a Romance novel that I had originally thought. When Thomas and Rose’s story first came to me, it had a much stronger paranormal element to it, but as the story has evolved I have realised that this was just one element of their story, one that will be much more prominent in the second book of the series.
So if I had to, I would say that Thomas and Rose’s story is an Historical Paranormal Romance, with varying levels of each as the series progresses. However, I will not say I am a Romance writer or a writer of Historical Fiction, I will simply say that I am a writer who writes the books that want to be written, although I am yet to finish one!
So, as I head off to complete yet another uni assessment (and hopefully squash in some actual writing time), remember the book that wanted to be written and how it refused to limit itself by genre.
Also, here’s a little snippet from Lonely Hearts for you all.
I bit my lip as I fought the urge to laugh at Thomas’ ability to state the obvious, “It didn’t end well? Really? I would never have thought that after seeing you two together on Saturday night. You two seemed to be such great friends.” I rolled my eyes as I lost the fight to hold back my sarcasm, even though I knew that none of what happened was really Thomas’ fault.
What another amazing week of writing I’ve had. I’ve still been procrastinating from my Uni work of course and finding out I have a three day extension is not going to help the matter, but I’m so excited with the progress I have made with Lonely Hearts.I haven’t written anywhere near as much as I did at the beginning of the month, but the progress I’ve made has still left me feeling pretty awesome.
This week’s post is going to be a little bit of a self-reflection, I’m not looking to the past or pondering the what-ifs, but rather reflecting on the now and what the future has in store for me.
I’m up to a point in Lonely Heart’s where Rose has bared all (emotionally not physically, it’s not that type of story sorry!) She’s revealed the source of the darkness that plagues her, the darkness that haunts her dreams and fuels her anxiety. Rose has just been through such a traumatic experience, that brings the darkness of her past with such clarity, that she realising that the two horrible experiences are connected in some way.
Rose feels protected in Thomas’ presence and draws from his strength in order to tell of her experiences, together they shine the light into the darkness that haunts her. Baring herself in such a way, should have been an incredibly difficult thing to do, she was leaving herself open and vulnerable, reliving her painful past, but with Thomas by her side, even though it was still difficult and painful, it was also empowering as if it was in that moment that she began to free herself, to rid herself of the darkness.
Rose has come to realise however, that even though Thomas gives her the strength to face the darkness and bare her soul, it is not so easy for Thomas, his darkness is stronger and runs much deeper than her own. She hopes that with time, she can give Thomas the same strength he gives to her and together they can face his demons.
Writing about Rose baring all, got me thinking about a few things. Through writing, even in fiction, the writer bares their soul for all to see. This is one of the most frightening things about writing, when you share it with others you bare yourself to them, leaving yourself open and vulnerable. On the other hand, it is also one of the most exciting things about writing.
“Every secret of a writer’s soul, every experience of his life, every quality of his mind, is written large in his works.”
Through our words and our characters, we reveal pieces of ourselves for the world to see. Perhaps that is why I kept my writing hidden for so long, because I was scared. Now though, I look to the future to the moment when I am ready to unveil Thomas and Rose’s story, in all its entirety, to share their story and also to share a piece of myself. The thought of baring all still frightens me, but I now refuse to let the fear consume me. Just as Rose draws strength from Thomas allowing her to face her painful past and bare all, I too am able to draw strength from others. I draw strength from those around me, those who support and encourage me and I draw strength from joy I experience through the characters I create and the worlds I make.
“Books are a uniquely portable magic.”
– Stephen King
So, go forth my lovelies and no longer have fear. For the freedom that accompanies being true to oneself far outweighs the terror of baring all.
I had just bared my soul to Thomas, shown him the darkness of my past and something which I thought would be the most difficult thing to do. Yet in that moment, with Thomas by my side, it wasn’t as difficult as I had imagined. Together, we shone the light into the darkness, exposing the demons in an attempt to banish them once and for all.
In case you don’t follow me on Twitter or Facebook, let me just tell you all what an absolutely amazing week it has been! Firstly I have completely smashed this months word-count goal and it is only the beginning of the month. I’m sure my writing will need some serious editing later, but I am focusing on getting Thomas and Rose’s story written down, the editing and fine tuning can come later.
“The first draft of anything is shit.” -Ernest Hemingway
My social media reach has also increased dramatically this week, I am now sitting at over 800 followers on Twitter, 93 likes on Facebook and 87 followers on this here blog! I know it sounds like I’m bragging a little (and perhaps I am) but it truly is an amazing world we live in. I know I’ve said it before but it’s amazing to be able to connect with so many wonderful people including fellow writers, published authors and reading enthusiasts.
Julieann Dove is one particular person I have had the pleasure of connecting with very recently. After coming across each other on Twitter, we have also been busy checking out each other’s blogs (you can check out Julieann’s blog here). Julieann is a contemporary romance author and her comment on last week’s post has given me that little extra push I needed to keep charging ahead and to stop with the wondering and the what-ifs, so thank you so much for that Julieann! It’s time to stop looking back and keep looking towards the future, to reach for the stars and beyond!
Of course, I have also been procrastinating this week, but it’s not what you think I swear! I haven’t deviated from The Plan, instead I have been using my writing in order to procrastinate from uni work. Week four of semester is about to begin and I haven’t even started a single reading, so hopefully my lecturer in charge doesn’t come across my little blog! I promise though, it’s only because I need to get to the store and buy some ink for my printer so I can print of the course content, which I am planning to do today. After I write this blog post and do a few other things of course.
Seeing as though I have already obliterated this month’s word-count goal, I’ve rewarded myself by writing down a short story that has been swirling around in my head over and over for the last few weeks. The first time my mind dreamt up this short story, it was so vivid that I could feel every emotion, every moment of angst and even the intense pain the main character felt. Over the weeks the vividness of this story has not faded so I thought it was one that I definitely needed to write down. I would like to share it with you all now in its entirety as a thank you for your support.
Smooth Stupid Criminal
It was a hot summer’s afternoon and Annie was grateful for the air-conditioning in her car as she drove down The Northern Road, her three children asleep in the back, exhausted from the heat outdoors.
As she stopped at the traffic lights, she leaned forward to adjust the position of the air-conditioning vent in an attempt for rid herself of the horrible sweat patches in the armpits of her shirt. Now that she thought of it, it probably wasn’t the greatest idea to take the kids out for a play at the Regatta Centre on such a warm day, but at least they had fun and were now giving her a few moments of peace and quiet, even if was just on the ride home.
As the light turned green, she took her foot off of the brake and was about to press the accelerator when the passenger door opened and a thin man jumped into her car. Trying to hide her rising panic she said, “Ummm, can I help you?”
The man looked at her, his features jaunt and withdrawn, dark circles under his eyes. Obviously a junkie, she thought to herself, “Just drive bitch!” was his reply.
Trying to remain calm, Annie continued to drive down The Northern Road in the direction the man had pointed. The man fidgeted as she drove, his leg jigging up and down and he was constantly sniffing and rubbing his nose with the back of his index finger. He seemed to be on edge and Annie decided that she needed to keep this man as calm as possible, she would take him where he needed to go and then hopefully he would leave them alone. The last thing she wanted was for him to become angry or violent and wake her sleeping children. This was not a situation she wished them to witness and so keeping her voice low and trying to steady the thumping of her heart she asked, “Are you going somewhere in particular?”
The man lifted his shaking hands to his face and rubbed his forehead as if he was trying to remember where he was heading, “Yes, Smith, Smith Street, ummm, number twenty-seven.”
Annie let out the breath she hadn’t realised she was holding, “Ok, Smith Street, right, I know where that is.” She could do this, she told herself and Smith Street wasn’t far, just a few blocks further down The Northern Road on the left. She would take him there, he would get out of the car and that would be it and her young children would be none the wiser.
As she stopped at a red light the man become more anxious his leg jigging a little faster, “Can’t you go any bloody quicker?”
“Well I can’t really go through a red light, you don’t want to get in an accident or draw attention to yourself.” She saw his rising frustration and tried her best to settle him down, “Look we’ll be there really soon, Smith Street is just a couple of blocks further and then you can be on your way right?”
It didn’t work, he became more frustrated, more anxious, “You, you’re talking too much, you talk too much, shut up, SHUT UP!” he began to yell at her as he shook his head with his hands placed on either side, as if he wasn’t just telling Annie to shut up.
Annie quickly glanced into the rear view mirror, her oldest child beginning to stir, but thankfully falling back to sleep.
“Look, I will take you to where you need to go but please, keep your voice down; I don’t want you to frighten my children.” She pleaded with him hoping that despite his current condition, he would have some sort of conscience and would spare her children from this ordeal.
How wrong she was, seemingly from nowhere the man drew out what seemed to be a steak knife. Annie tried to remain calm and concentrate on driving, forcing down her rising panic, “Put that away, there’s no need for that we’re nearly there now.”
The man held the knife up and shook his head again as if talking to someone else, “No, no can’t, just shut up, stop talking, you talk too MUCH!” Suddenly he thrust the knife downwards, driving it into Annie’s left thigh. The searing pain almost overwhelmed her as she stifled her scream and tried to keep the car safely on the road.
Blinking her eyes rapidly, she tried her best to focus on the road ahead and make the left turn into Smith Street. The man began hitting himself on the head, “Sorry, so sorry, shouldn’t do that, just talk too much, you, you’re quiet now.” With tears running down her face she pulled the car over at the address he had given her and through gritted teeth she spoke through the blinding pain, “We’re here. You can get out, now.”
The man’s leg stopped jigging for a moment as he looked at the window and confirmed that they were indeed at the address he had given her, getting out of the car he mumbled, “Thanks for the lift.”
Laughing and obviously delirious with pain Annie replied sarcastically, “Yea, right, anytime.”
As she watched the man run into the house, she glanced in the rear view mirror, her children thankfully still asleep and oblivious to the situation. Taking a deep breath and trying to ignore the excruciating pain in her thigh, Annie began to think of what the hell she was going to do now. She needed an ambulance, that was for sure, but she didn’t want to wait out the front of the house the man had just gone into. As once the dispatch officer would hear that it was a stab wound they would surely send the police as well and who knows who or what was in that house. Whoever lived there, she didn’t think they would appreciate the arrival of police at their property, the people inside might be armed and she didn’t want her or her children to be nearby when that happened. She would definitely be giving the address to the police, but as soon as her and her children were well away.
Closing her eyes for just a minute, Annie gathered all the strength she had left and decided on a plan. Her brother James worked just a couple of streets away at a mechanic’s workshop in Batt Street, he would be able to help and also look after the children. She would drive there, getting away from that house and on the way ring for an ambulance asking them to meet her at her brother’s workshop.
Looking down at the knife still sticking out of her thigh, she resolved to leave it where it was until the ambulance arrived, not only would it be painful to remove, but it also seemed to be stopping her from bleeding excessively. Plus, isn’t that what they said on TV and in movies, to leave it in until help arrived?
Relieved to finally have a solid plan, Annie put the car into gear and pulled away from the kerb, heading in the direction of James’ workshop. Using her car’s Bluetooth, she dialled triple zero, turning down the volume so it was just loud enough for her to hear and not wake her still sleeping children, “Police, fire or Ambulance, what is you location?” The emergency dispatcher’s voice ringing through the speakers made Annie for a small sense of relief that her plan was working. She just needed to remain conscious and calm, despite the pain in her left thigh, that was actually beginning to dull, no doubt from the adrenaline.
“Ambulance, Penrith, New South Wales.” She wasn’t sure if that was the answer she was supposed the give when the dispatcher asked for her location, but she guessed it would do.
“Thank you, putting you through now, please hold the line.”
As Annie waited on the line, she felt an overwhelming sense of relief as she pulled onto Batt Street and could see James’ workshop just up ahead.
“Ambulance, what is your emergency?”
Taking a deep breath as she pulled into the small industrial unit complex, where her brother’s workshop was located, she told the dispatcher her name and explained exactly what her emergency was.
Honking the car horn to get her brother’s attention, he came strolling out of the workshop, with a puzzled expression on his face as the dispatcher asked, “Do you know your exact location Annie?” She wasn’t entirely sure of the exact address of the workshop so she took the phone off Bluetooth and handed it to James as he opened the car door and saw the knife sticking out of her thigh, a look of horror crossing his face.
“Ambulance, tell them the address.” She managed to bite out the words, the pain returning to her leg with a vengeance. Nodding he grabbed the phone, telling them the address of the workshop.
“What the hell happened?” James asked, returning his attention to Annie, who currently had a steak knife hanging out of her thigh.
With beads of sweat running down her forehead, Annie gave her brother the short version of what just happened, “Junkie jumped in the car, demanding a lift to Smith Street. He got a bit nutty on the way and decided to stick a steak knife in my leg.”
James looked at his sleeping niece and nephews in the back, thankful that they had not witnessed the scary situation and wanting to keep it that way if he could, “Right well, ambulance should be here any minute and I guess they’ll be sending the cops too and you can give them the address you took that dirt-bag to.” He took a deep breath, taking in the sight of the knife again and the blood seeping out around the wound. He never did like the sight of blood, it always made him feel a bit queasy, but he was trying to keep it together for the sake of his sister and the kids.
“Does it hurt much?”
What a stupid bloody question, Annie thought, but she didn’t say that to him, thankful that he was here and the children and her were safe, “I have a steak knife sticking out of my leg, what do you think?”
James smiled, “Yea, right I know stupid bloody question, sorry sis. Ok what do you need me to do?”
As the ambulance finally arrived, Annie left James with instructions to call their mum to come and look after the kids and also to have someone pick up her husband from work and let him know what had happened.
The police arrived just as the ambulance officers were helping Annie out of the car, after giving her a hefty dose of pain relief and stabilising the knife that was still embedded into her thigh. After deciding it was safer for doctors to remove it once they were at the hospital.
Annie spoke briefly to the police, explaining what had happened and giving them address she had taken the man to.
One of the police officers spoke to the ambulance officers, “Guys do us a favour, tell them to be careful when they pull that knife out, it’ll hopefully have this guy’s fingerprints all over it and it’ll make our job a lot easier if we’re able to match them up.”
The ambulance officers looked the police officer with raised eyebrows, of course they’d be careful, they weren’t complete idiots, but instead of pointing that out they just nodded, ‘Sure, no worries mate, I’ll let them know.”
Safely in the back of ambulance, Annie began to drift into a pain relief induced haze, feeling all warm and fuzzy and the pain in her thigh just a cloudy memory.
Annie woke with a start, taking in her surroundings. As she focused on the sights, sounds and smells around her. She realised she was in hospital and began to remember what had happened. As she tried to sit up, an excruciating pain shot through her leg and she looked down to see it was covered in a bandage from the top of her thigh to below her knee.
“It’s ok, I’m here. You’re ok.” The familiar voice of her husband was a sound she welcomed as she turned to look in the direction she heard his voice. He stood tall next to her as he came closer and held her hand. Feeling comforted by his presence, she lay her head back down on the pillow.
“How long have I been out?” She asked, looking out the small window behind him and noticing it was pitch black outside.
“About twelve hours or so, the doctors had to operate on your leg, apparently the knife chipped the bone or something and they had to operate to fix it.”
With the haze lifting she began to recall more details, “The kids, are they ok?”
Kissing her on the forehead, she noticed her husband looked exhausted, but then thought she probably didn’t look so hot herself right now. “The kids are fine, they’re at your mum and dad’s place. They think they’re having a sleepover, I thought we’ll let them think that for now and then we can figure out how to explain all this.”
Annie nodded, “Yea, good idea, thank goodness they slept through it all. Did they get the guy? The police I mean, did they catch him?”
Her husband smiled, “Well that’s a bit of a funny story actually. The police stopped by while you were in surgery and filled me in. It seems he wasn’t the smoothest of criminals actually. They went straight to the address you gave them after speaking to you. Turns out you dropped him off at his dealer’s house and the idiot was still there. The dealer had no idea the guy had gotten a lift and he wasn’t too impressed when the police swarmed his property, as you can imagine.” Annie nodded, listening to her husband retell the story the police had told him.
“Yea, well turns out the police have been watching this property for months, knowing that something was going on, but they didn’t have enough evidence to get a search warrant. What happened to you though, gave them more than enough of an excuse to enter the property.”
“Glad I could help.” Annie said, her sarcasm returning in full force.
“My Annie, always happy to help and always full of sarcasm.” He quipped, smiling at her.
“Well, anyway, long story short, the guy and his dealer have both been arrested and have been refused bail. The finger prints on the knife gave them enough hard evidence of what happened and turns out there was several outstanding warrants on both the guy and the dealer, so they’re pretty much screwed. The police will be by to get a statement off of you when you’re feeling up to it, but really it’s just a formality, they already have more than enough evidence to put them both in goal for a fair while.”
“Yea, sure of course, that’s good.” Annie spoke slowly, still exhausted by everything that had happened.
He looked at his wife, his heart filled with love and pride at her strength and ability to protect their children. He was thankful that they were all safe and the person responsible was caught and would pay for his actions.
“I guess he really wasn’t a smooth criminal was he?” Annie said sleepily, drifting off the sleep.
This week I have been researching and adding more detail to the scenes of Thomas and Rose’s first date, including the music they would listen and dance to. I wanted to consider every aspect f their evening and then decide what details needed to be included in order to set the scene for the audience.
At the end of dinner, a solo pianist begins to play a classical piece of music that Rose recognises as Liszt’s Liebesträume. The reason why Rose recognises this particular piece of music in because Liszt is one of József’s favourite composers and in case you weren’t aware Liszt was actually Hungarian.
I get the feeling that Thomas planned for the pianist to play this particular piece for several reasons, firstly he had hoped that she would be familiar with it and secondly because the title of the piece, Liebesträume, means Love Dream or Dreams of Love and for both of them, this moment they share seems so much like a dream. Since the death of his parents, Thomas has longed and dreamed of finding someone to love and who would love him unconditionally in return and he believes that Rose might be the woman he is destined to fall in love with. As they sit enjoying the music, Thomas asks Rose to dance with him. Liebesträume is not really a piece to dance to, unless perhaps as a contemporary form of dance and Rose’s surprise and reluctance causes him to speak with the pianist, who then begins to play a piano arrangement of the song “Blue Moon” made popular the year before by MGM studios in the movie Manhattan Melodrama.
Don’t tell my husband, but I think I am falling in love with Thomas myself! I feel the butterflies Rose does with each look, each touch, each smile. As they dance, he quietly sings the lyrics of “Blue Moon” to her and she has never felt closer to anyone before than she has in this intimate moment they share. I only hope that my writing is able to put my readers in Rose’s shoes, feeling each and every moment they share.
Here is an excerpt of that particular scene for you to enjoy remember it is a first draft and I still have a lot of work to do on it.
As we finished our final course, the sounds of classical music filled the room. I hadn’t noticed it earlier, but in the far side of the dining room, a black piano sat. As the man skilfully glided his fingers across the keys, I was drawn in by the beautiful music. I recognised the piece as Liebesträume by Liszt, as it was one of József’s favourite pieces that he listened to often.
“I love this piece, it’s József’s favourite.”
Thomas stood and reached for my hand, “Well then, Miss Greene, may I have this dance?”
I looked at him in surprise, “Dance to this?”
He cocked his head to the side, considering the question, “Hmmm, you’re right, I’m sure we can find something better to dance to.” With that he walked over to the pianist, tapped in on the shoulder and whispered something to him. The man smiled and nodded and Thomas walked back towards me with a boyish grin curving his lips, “Now, Miss Greene, may I have this dance?”
With that, the pianist began playing a modern piece that seemed very familiar but I could not place where I had heard the tune before. Accepting Thomas’ hand, we moved over to an open space that would serve as a dance floor, placing one hand in mine and the other at the small of my back, he began to lead me effortlessly around our makeshift dance floor. As the pianist moved from an long introduction to the somewhat familiar song, to the body of it, Thomas held me closer and began singing and I immediately recognised the song as “Blue Moon.” This man could sing, his voice was smooth and I got the distinct feeling he has asked the pianist to play this particular song for a reason, like the words had meaning for him. I began to wonder what his life was really like, were there people who cared for him, like József cared for me?
This week I’ve managed to get a good amount of writing done, even though I have also been busy utilising another branch of creativity for a little project for my nephew-to-be.
With yesterday being Valentines Day, I decided to spend the latter part of the evening in the world of my characters, Thomas and Rose as they experienced the nervousness, excitement and brief awkward silences of their first date. Quickly I became completely immersed into their world, experiencing every feeling, every touch, hearing every word and sound and before I knew it I had written over 2000 words and it was after midnight!
I am far from finished detailing the events of Thomas and Rose’s first date, but I was quite impressed with myself for achieving so much in just one evening. As Thomas and Rose get to know each other better over dinner, I too am getting to know the both of them a little better. In a way, I think writing a novel is a little like a first date. You feel excitement and nervousness at the same time and as the story progresses you become more acquainted with your characters, getting to know everything there is to know about them.
I honestly cannot contain my excitement as Thomas and Rose’s story is beginning to truly take shape. Even in between writing paragraphs of this post, I have managed to write out almost another 800 words!
Even though I realise that this week’s post is a little on the short side, I now leave you with an excerpt from Thomas and Rose’s date as I go to experience the rest of it!
As our waiter, Samuel left, Thomas’ gaze locked with mine again, “So, where were we? Oh yes you were going to tell me about how you came to work for József.”
After coming to the conclusion that there was no real way out of the question, I decided to tell him just the key points of that story, “Well I’ve always enjoyed sewing and designing and I did well at school with numbers and things, so my mother arranged for me to work for József in exchange for room and board and I’ve worked for József ever since.”
“I see,” he nods in understanding and for a moment I think that Thomas and is going to let the subject pass, “But that’s not the whole story though is it Rose?”
“What makes you say that?” I reply, trying to hide my shock in the realisation that he really does see the real me, just as I suspected the first time we met.
“I see you Rose, I see the darkness behind those beautiful blue-green eyes, I see you hiding behind your polite smiles and pleasantries. I see the pain that dwells inside of you, the loneliness that fills your heart; it’s something I’ve come to recognise well.”
In that moment I know it’s true, he sees me, all of me, perhaps even better than I see myself. I remember the look of pain that crossed his face earlier when Mr Simpson mentioned his parents and I realise that Thomas recognises darkness, pain and loneliness because he himself has experienced such things in his own life.
“The last thing I want to do is dampen our evening, but you don’t need to be afraid and alone anymore Rose. You don’t need to hide, you can trust me. I would never hurt you.”
This week I have been busy researching a particular location that will be included at some point in all three books that will make the Hearts Series. After having such difficulty finding information on the location, I was lucky enough to find an entire non-fiction book devoted to the history of the building, which I discussed in last week’s post. Since the book arrived on Wednesday, I have been busy devouring page after page as it describes in great detail the appearance of the building, right down to the type of wood used for the door frames and the material used for the cornices! I really feel as though I didn’t actually find the book, but the book found me!
The amazing book by Carl Ruhen that is providing a great insight into the magnificent building of a by-gone era.
“The Australia had a grandeur but it did not seek to exhibit flash magnificence. It breathed exclusivity, but it was never snobbish.” – David McNicoll cited by Ruhen (1995)
The more I explore Thomas and Rose’s world, the more I am coming to grips with the great length of time this journey will take. As I have mentioned, Thomas and Rose’s story will be detailed in a series of three books, currently called the Hearts Series. Lonely Hearts, which I hope to complete the first draft of this year, details the early days of their story – the first time they met and the trials and tribulations of the early days of their relationship. I already have all three books planned out (mostly in my head) but the actual writing of the story, the dialogue and filling in the plot holes is what takes time over the next few years, I hope to have the entire series written and published as eBooks, hoping to have Lonely Hearts published in late 2016. I realise that I am in for the long haul, this journey I am on is not one that can be shortened. The journey towards publishing my first novel and the remainder of the Hearts Series, will not be without difficulty and I still have so much more to learn in order to get to the stage of publishing, but as I journey further, I am learning so much more, my confidence in building and (I hope) my writing style is improving. I was looking back over my posts and writing since I started this journey and I almost cringe at the inaccuracies and faults in my writing. I’m not going to delete them though, I will leave them there as a reminder of how far I have come on my journey to embrace the writer within, as a reminder of the progress I have made with Thomas and Rose’s story and as a record of the conscious steps I have taken towards my goal.
So, here’s to progress, first drafts, magnificent locations and The Plan.
…Thomas then climbed out of the car, walking around to meet me as Johnson opened my door. Offering his hand, I took it thankfully as I tried to climb out of the car as gracefully as possible, careful not to trip on the length of the dress or stumble sideways in my new shoes. Once I carefully balanced myself on the path, I took Thomas’ arm and looked up as The Australia Hotel, Sydney’s most luxurious and elegant hotel, stood proudly in front of me.
This week has been another amazing one! Unfortunately I’m about 1000 words shy of my word count goal for the month of January and I’m sure those who know my tendency to procrastinate will be surprised that I even got that far! Even though I didn’t reach my word count goal for the month, I have made some great progress with Lonely Hearts during January. Last week I posted about my progress in the development of two new characters, that you can read about here if you missed it.
This week I’ve had three quite amazing things happen. Firstly, I have been having some difficulty in finding information on a particular location I wanted to use in Lonely Hearts. Unfortunately the particular building no longer exists and even though it was once a symbol of prestige, luxury and elegance in Sydney that was recognised worldwide, there is very little information available which describes its appearance. Despite this lack of available information, I was determined to use the building as a location as it was exactly the type of location I was needing for the particular scene. After searching far and wide (on the internet) I came across a non-fiction book on a library database that was completely devoted to the history of the building I was researching! Imagine my excitement that after months of searching and finding no more than a paragraph of information, to then come across a book with 136 pages completely devoted to the location! Then came a bit of a hurdle though, the library it was located in was located about an hour drive from me and was in the reference section, so I would not even be able to take it out on loan. So after copying down the publication details of the book, I actually found a copy for sale on ebay for less than what it would have cost me in fuel to drive to the library! The book should be arriving on Tuesday in the post, I cannot contain my excitement, even my husband was subjected to about 40 minutes of me excitedly telling him what I had found and precisely why it was so important that I get this book. I also get the feeling that he was actually listening while I excitedly told him how amazing it was, that after months of searching, I discovered something that I felt would help take the location in the novel off of the page and into the minds of my readers, helping them to picture the scene in exact detail.
Another amazing thing that has happened this week is the overwhelming support and amazing connections I am making through Twitter. I joined Twitter just over a week ago, after wanting to follow one of the independent authors I came across in my reading – Shelly Thacker whose work I posted about a couple of weeks ago. Since then I have been completely overwhelmed and amazed at the amount of followers I have (189 and counting!). Many of my followers are fellow writers and published authors who have even offered words of encouragement as I continue my journey to embrace the writer within and to write my first novel. Hopefully no one is out to pinch my ideas though! What I am beginning to discover is that when one enters the world of writing, they are also entering a new community. It is amazing at how quickly you begin to enter this community with the help of the internet. We really are living in a technological age, where the internet is helping us to connect with people all around the world in an instant! I’m even getting more views on this little blog of mine thanks to Twitter!
So you might be wondering how the title of this week’s post ties in with these amazing experiences I’ve had this past week. One reason it has taken me so long to embrace the writer within, is because people have never really understood my excitement when I talk about my creative pursuits. Of course my family and friends that have known about my creative streak have always supported me, but they don’t really get it. They don’t really understand the amazing feeling of creating another world, of creating characters that sometimes seem more real than the people around you or the feeling of excitement and wonder as you follow those characters on their journey and help to tell their story. My family and friends support me, encourage me and try to listen as I excitedly tell them about the amazing things that are happening, but they don’t really get it. I do not hold this against them, nor does this make me angry or upset, it’s just how it is – Some people just don’t get it, they don’t understand what it’s like to feel an inextricable pull inside of you telling you to write, to create, to explore a world of creativity, a world of literature and writing.
Long before I began this blog, I always felt the need to create, my mind was constantly exploring and creating with no one really to share it with. Even though the important people in my life have appreciated my creativity and have supported and encouraged me, they still don’t fully understand what it’s like to experience the need to create. I think this is why I feel so amazed at the support I have received through my blog, through social media and most recently through Twitter. People that I have never met, get it. They understand the need to create, they understand the inextricable pull telling you to write, create and explore and they let me know that I am not alone. There is a big difference between appreciating creativity and writing and experiencing and understanding the need to create and write. Those who enjoy devouring book after book do not necessarily understand the need and the excitement that comes from creating a world, creating characters and telling their story.
In saying that, I still very much appreciate the support from my family and friends and the support of my followers and subscribers. Without this support, I would still be daydreaming about characters and scenes, writing notes in my many notebooks without really doing anything about it. I’m finally taking myself seriously with a goal in sight, it will be a long time coming, but it’s all getting very exciting and I know I will get there eventually.
Finally, welcome to my newest subscriber, my lovely Grandmother (who you might remember I’ve mentioned in a couple of previous posts here and here), who has successfully subscribed via email to this humble little blog of mine.
So with thanks and gratitude, I leave you with an excerpt from Lonely Hearts, again it’s just a first draft and in the words of Ernest Hemingway,
The first draft of anything is shit.
Don’t forget to subscribe so you never miss a post and you can find me on facebook or on Twitter @WriterWithin_KK.
“So, are you ready to be dazzled?” The sound of Thomas’ voice interrupted my thoughts… “Thomas, I think I’ve already been dazzled by your elaborate plans. The dress, the shoes, the jewellery, my own personal stylist for the afternoon…” I waved my hand gesturing at the excessive amount of ‘dazzle’ that he had already bestowed upon me. I always knew the evening would be more than just a lovely dinner, with Thomas simply being the man he was, but so far this evening had already gone way beyond my expectations. Even though the feeling was foreign I couldn’t help enjoying this feeling of being just a little bit spoilt, well ok… a lot spoilt. “Rosie, I hope you’re not thinking that it’s all too much, those are just things. I was the one that requested your company for the evening, I would really like for us to get to know each other a little better.” He tucked a loose strand of my honey blonde waves behind my ear as we sat facing each other in his fancy limousine. “I would like that too Thomas, I guess I’m just not used to such extravagance.” He leaned his head to the side, contemplating what I had said, “Hmmm, well I guess that may be so.” Then that lop-sided smiled curved his lips again, “I better warn you then, tonight Rosie, will be a night that will make dazzling extravagance look like brunch with great-aunt Bessie.”