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 🙂

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2 thoughts on “Editing. Editing. Editing. Plus a teaser.

  1. Hi Ali – I’m so excited at reading some of your writing for the first time – and I’m very excited to hear you’re working with Marion. She is an amazing lady! Big congratulations. Everything in your post I can relate to so well – all writers/authors will. Good luck!
    Now on your excerpts, I like Version 1. I like the pace of how quickly Sadie finds Nev. I thought she was hungover initially, then quickly realised she’s tried to suicide. I’m intrigued about what has driven her life to do that and I definitely want to read more. For me – in version 2 – there’s a bit too much happening with the flashback thoughts to Travis etc. I’m happy in version 1 to know that you will let me know the reason for the ‘why’ on the suicide in due course… and let it all find its way.
    But that’s just me!
    xx
    Lily M

    • Hi Lily! Thanks so much for your feedback! I hope you enjoyed what you read for the first time 🙂 Yes I just have to finish my own edits (this week it WILL happen) and I can send the manuscript to Marion, I’m so excited about that.
      I really appreciate your thoughts on the scenes and can definitely see what you are saying. From memory I think the flashbacks were originally another scene altogether…perhaps I should have left it that way! Ahh editing! I am coming up to editing this part of the book so now I can go back with fresh eyes and a fresh perspective.
      Thanks Lily! xx

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