Thursday, February 26, 2009
We’d agreed to share a double room suite for the weekend. It was cheaper than two single rooms. I hoped he wasn’t expecting us to pick up where we’d left off in college. I worried my wedding ring on my right hand, as I watched him open his case.
I needn’t have worried. With a warm kiss he shut the door between our rooms and I slept alone. Of course I dreamed of them. The first kiss with Michael. Our wedding day. The first time I gazed on my beautiful children. The looks shared with Michael as they said their first words, took their first steps.
I woke with wet cheeks and Dan sitting in the chair across the room. My photo books were open on the table in front of him.
“You’re married. Have three kids.”
“Yes. Ten years in February. Caleb is seven, Jennifer and Elizabeth, five.” I sat and traced a finger over the photo of Caleb holding his newborn twin sisters with the help of his proud dad.
“Where are they?”
“At home.” I walked to the window and gazed at the people rushing by on the street, arms laden with shopping bags. “I love Michael, my children. I don’t know who I am anymore. I’m a wife, mother. But who’s Alice? My life is totally defined by what I am and I want to be me. I don’t know who I am.”
Sunday, February 22, 2009
“I’m between jobs. Taking a break you know?” I did know. “Private Investigator. Just finished a job up North. Husband couldn’t find his wife.” I choked on my pasta. “Poor man. She didn’t want to come back when I found her. Shame. He was a nice bloke.”
Michael was a nice bloke. Loving, attentive, solid. Why am I here?
He paid for dinner. I’d insisted I could pay my own but was glad he’d held firm. The three thousand on my credit card wasn’t going to last too long. I didn’t know who long I’d be away or how much money I’d need.
We strolled down the side walk bathed in the bright lights doing their best to caste away the black night, and stopped at a fountain lit like fairy dust. Jenny and Beth would have been delighted. Caleb would have said it was boring but I know he would have liked it too. I turned to smile at my husband but the hair, eyes, everything was wrong.
If Dan noticed my confusion he didn’t mention it just took my suddenly cold hand in his warm one and we continued down the busy street. At the bridge overlooking the river he drew me close and I burrowed into his warm jacket accepting the comfort I hadn’t realised I craved. His body felt wrong.
“We should go back. You’re tired.”
I nodded pleased and we made our way slowly back, with me tucked under his arm.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Here continues my short story:
I sat at a tiny table in the corner of the hotel bar, nursing a glass of now warm chardonnay. It’s . I’d been gone for eight hours. I wondered how the kids were doing. Did Michael remember that Jenny hated peas and Beth didn’t like her food touching anything else on her plate? Memories and doubts filled my head. Why did I leave without saying goodbye? Why didn’t I talk to him first? Maybe he would have understood and I wouldn’t have had to run away like a thief, could have been sitting here without the guilt just having a little holiday. Why don’t I know who I am anymore? Something must be wrong with me to have just left them. Tears fell unchecked and through the watery blur a familiar voice penetrated my mind.
“Dan.” I wiped my face quickly and smiled at my first boyfriend, the one I’d given my innocence to and had fallen in love with in the last year of college.
“What are you doing here? I haven’t seen you in, God it must be years.”
“College, Seventh Form.”
He nodded and took the seat opposite me, sprawling his long legs out the side of the table. If he saw the tears he said nothing.
“What have you been up to?” He swallowed a mouthful of beer and smacked his lips in appreciation.
“Nothing much.” Got married. Had three beautiful children.
Any comments or advice on content is much appreciated.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
I'm a mother and sometimes it can be overwhelming. What if I just got up one day and left? I never could, but this character does. Why does she feel she had to leave and will she go back?
I left on Saturday in the morning not long after they had gone out. I stuffed essentials into a backpack; clothes, shoes, make-up, toiletries, passport, my favourite books, everything I held dear. Even the photo books I had created.
I spent long minutes running my hands over the warm sheets in the little beds, could hear the snuffles and snorts of the children - my children - in my head as I traced their small indents. I held a toy or two and let the tears fall. It was the hardest thing I’d ever done. In less than thirty minutes from the time my husband took the kids out for the morning I packed and left like a thief.
I drove for hours, through the bright morning until the sun was hot and high. They would be back now. After a quick study he’d think maybe I’d gone for a little drive or shopping. I’d left my cell-phone behind. He’d soon realise I wasn’t coming back.
come back for the next installment!
Friday, February 13, 2009
Research takes up so much time. I'm currently researching medieval Scotland, in particular the highlands as i love novels about those fearsome warriors. From clothes to food to politics to clans to names, nothing can be beneath your notice when wanting to set the scene. I'm finding mountains of information though and so far i've only surfed the net broadly. Next will be defining my search narrowly and then venturing out to the libraries to see what they have.
As a reader i appreciate the work that is involved behind the scenes to set the novel. As the writer of one i am awe of those who do the extensive research for all their novels.
It really is worth the effort. You wouldn't be happy with your novel if you knew you had made things up and hadn't checked and then get feedback from readers saying how wrong you are, they wouldn't have eaten that or talked like that etc.
Digging up all those facts also help in the shaping of Characters and the plot itself. History is peppered with grandious landscapes and action and even people that just beg to written about.
Take the time and enjoy the research process. I am and i can tell my writing is going to be better for it!
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Cool. So, i can tell a story well.
That's what my critique said too. There is invaluable information in the critique as to whether or not the story worked in the genre i was aiming for - romance. Apparently i am on the cusp of fantasy and romance so, cool, i need to tweak this and perhaps consider making my novel in the real world. Which means research into possible eras for it to fit as i cannot see my characters in cars and apartments. But that's okay i can do that. The critique also gave an insight on point of view problems. Making the reader nauseous (though none of my readers said this happened) by head hopping is not good and i will definately look into this further, considering it is an apparent flag to amatuerism!
I recommend all writer's new and experienced definately invest in a manuscript critique - it's not an edit. It's an overview of what works and what needs work for it be successful, and considered for publication. Then it would be edited. I would suggest contacting Rob Parnell from The Easy Way To Write, he is wonderful and honest. thanks Rob!
Sunday, February 1, 2009
It is going to be relief to have that finished. How i dread the prospect of possibly having to do another one if i am successful with submissions.
But then there is the added advantage of having a fresh opinion on a turn of phrase or paragraph that i may not have gotten quite right. And those same fresh eyes will see errors that even the most careful edit can't see when it is yours.
Of course there is the point that i do want it perfect in the event it gets to print. There would be nothing worse than picking up a freshly published novel and finding an error greater than a spelling error (You still find those even in your favourite authors new book!). Edit, edit, edit until it is the best it could possibly be.
Remember too, you don't have to take on the opinion or suggestions of an editor, it is your own work and you have final say.