Tag Archives: My Ten Future Lives

Having Some Fun with WordPress

For those of you still finding your way around WordPress, like me, check out something quite fun.

If you click on ‘My Blogs’, then select the blog you want to find out about (if you write more than one).  Scroll across to ‘Stats’.  Not only does this page show you lots of cool info, including your total Page Views ever (not including your own views of your blog), and your Best Day ever, in terms of page views, but there is also a rather cool section called ‘Search Engine Terms’.

Click on ‘This Week‘ which is in blue on the right hand side of the ‘Search Engine Terms’ header, midway down the Stats Page.

Then, when the page changes to a page devoted to Search Engine Terms, click on the ‘All Time’ option – also in underlined blue.

I realise that all sounds a bit complicated, but hopefully what it’s brought up for you, is a rather cool list of all the terms people have entered into Search Engines, to then get to your site.  You’ll probably be rather amused by some of the more random ones –

For example, on my list of searches which led to The Elementary Circle , there are some common ones I might expect to end up at the site – ‘navigator of dreams’, ‘cosmopolitan ultimate woman of the year 2007’, ‘cc lester’, ‘charly lester blog’, and ‘dream navigator’, ‘the elementary circle word press‘ are all things several people have tried to Google.

However, here are some entries I wouldn’t necessarily expect to lead people to my blog!

(NB – All searches are as typed originally and word for word)

  • superman name
  • woman to ski
  • loner writer (NICE!)
  • penis (that one hit my site twice …. pretty sure this is the first time I’ve ever mentioned that particular word on the blog!)
  • bungee
  • ‘i crossing my fingers you get a chance to’ …. (hoping this one means I get some luck!)
  • mercury childs wagon (???? what is this? some kind of pushchair/stroller??? – for anyone reading who doesn’t know, the book I’m currently writing is called Mercury’s Child)
  • similarlymercury wagon child’s (what is this all about??)
  • unspoken words of need of closure (does this make sense to anyone?)
  • sex.girls.xxx.falling i if m singleton (seriously HOW did this bring up my blog???!!)
  • work for free otherwise known as (Haha! kind of sums up my life at the mo!)
  • how do i an 2 above a m (can anyone translate this??)
  • am sikis (DITTO)
  • fat back women maken usen ditto rate xxx (SIC …. what is with these searches.  Are they literally just entering random words?)
  • some time i an read an i cannot
  • weight loss diary (um??? wrong blog me thinks!)
  • +post something anonymously on facebook
  • would sending letters of recommendations help i an immigration case
  • dream interpretation; cant hear me warning her (this one scares me a bit – sounds rather nightmarish!)
  • http://www.thewriter’slife.com/earnaliving (haven’t personally worked that one out myself yet!)
  • literary grandmother names
  • my 18 tens
  • cool names for shields
  • female christian writers blogssorry, defo got the wrong blog here
  • woman 40+ glam shots (I REALLY hope this didnt bring up my front page pic! I was 24 in that picture for frack’s sake!!!!)
  • do not reply email address (why is someone even searching this in the first place?)
  • how to write someone elses thoughts (pretty sure that’s a major part of fiction, and not necessarily something you’ll find cliff notes on!)
  • what english writer used the pen name ella? (was someone at a pub quiz by any chance?!)
  • bored written loads of times in different writing (not too impressed this brings up my blog, if I’m honest!)
  • heels muddy or mud (um WTF?!)
  • swearing screaming sex (coz obviously my blog is full of it! Though possibly slightly more accurate than the Christian writer search!)
There are also a couple of cool, but unexpected ones
  • ЩИТ И МЕЧ ПЕРО И БУМАГА –  Which Babblefish handily tells me means ‘Sword and Shield, Pen and Paper’ in Russian!
  • Flicker Lester (I like!)
  • Felicity Firestone (um AWESOME!!!!! who Googled her?! Now I want to Google her and see what comes up!)
  • Ellody Rose (is someone Google-stalking my heroines?!)
  • my life in ten years (not sure what that person was looking for, probably not my novel ‘My Ten Future Lives’ but I guess you never  know, it might have helped him or her!)
  • glorified slavery (this blatantly came up because it’s the phrase I use to describe unpaid work experience!)
  • i’m the author of my life (um, BOSH!)
  • facebook.com/cclester (eek, someone’s trying to stalk me!)
  • lucy lester flicker (this one made me grin – like a combo of me and my agent all in one – i guess that sums up a year of my life!)
  • elliwrites boyfriendLiz of Elli Writes – SOMEONE FANCIES YOU!!!

Plus, it’s quite cool being able to tell my lovely agent Lucy Dundas, at PFD (and a couple of other friends who have commented on my blog!!) , just how many times her name has been googled in the past few months 😉

Ah the power of the Search Engine Terms!  Give it a go, and let me know if you come up with any particularly funny ones!!!
C-C xxx
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Feature on Elli Writes

Thanks to journalist, author, and fellow blogger Liz Carlton for this lovely feature on her blog ‘Elli Writes‘.

And wow! – only just saw the front page of her blog, and I’m everywhere … thank you so much Liz, I feel very honoured!!

C-C xx

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Rebirth, Rebranding, Re-invention!

So here it is guys … my response to Elli Writes’ April Writing Competition ….

Rebirth, Rebranding, Re-invention!

When I first decided to write a post on Rebirth I wanted to tie it in with the rest of my blog.  It needed to be something to do with writing.  And so I decided to tie my piece on Rebirth in with one of my first ever posts – So Am I An Author Yet?!

There are a number of stages in the process of ‘being a writer’.

From penning your first ever story, to deciding to write a novel, to finishing that novel, getting an agent, and eventually getting it published.  And of course all the various points in time both between and after those stages. Each of those stages can be seen as a rebirth … or at least a ‘rebranding’.  Because with each small success comes emotional change.

What started as an untouchable dream becomes closer to tangible reality… and you have to adapt accordingly.

If I had to describe myself right now, I’d probably choose the term ‘inbetweener’.  Unfortunately not the twenty-something year-old comedian variety who masquerade as teenage schoolboys on Channel Four (though actually two of the cast went to uni with me), but the writer stuck in the no-man’s land between being signed to an agent, and getting physically published.

 

I’ve now been signed to the London-based agency Peters Fraser & Dunlop for eighteen months, and in that time I’ve completed two teenage fantasy novels, both of which have been deemed ‘publisher ready.’  The buck has been well and truly passed.  Where both ‘Flicker’ and ‘The Dream Navigator’ are concerned, I’ve done everything I can personally do to get them published.  I just have to wait to see what the next runner in my publishing relay race – my agent- can do with the baton.

So where does that leave me?  I’ve finished three novels, and edited all of them several times.  And whilst I have new stories rattling around my mind on a daily basis, I definitely feel a bit off the boil.  As if after two years of effort – finishing the writing, finding an agent and then going back over the writing time and time again – I’m waiting to see some tangible reward before I continue.

But I’m beginning to realise this isn’t only the wrong attitude … it’s a self-destructive one.  Because, as I described in So Am I an Author Yet?!, a major part of being an author is identifying yourself as one.  Self-branding.  Self-invention.  The only way other people will truly believe (and in the early years, accept) that you are an author, is if you believe it yourself!

So rebirth for a writer is about re-branding, and re-invention.

I am NOT an inbetweener.  I’m an author.  I’m just an author at the start of my career … and if that career is going to be a successful one, then I need to adopt a fully positive mental attitude to my writing.  And that means THINKING and ACTING like an author.

And so I’ve re-evaluated my year, and my aims.

I’m at a bit of a crossroads … after two and a half years travelling and working abroad, I’m about to return home to the UK. And the pressure has been on, from me and from other people ‘to start a career’.  I have a degree from Cambridge, and I can’t help but feel that a lot of people think I’m ‘wasting it’.  But deep down, I feel like I’ve found my career.  Ok, so it hasn’t raked in any money yet, but I’ve been perfectly capable of financially supporting myself while I wrote my books.  And it’s not like people always walk straight into the career they will hold for life when they leave university.  People try out careers.  And right now, I’m trying out writing as a career.  Which means committing to it.

So if I commit to writing, what exactly does that involve?  As I’ve mentioned, my biggest aims for this year – getting Flicker and TDN published – no longer lie in my hands.  But that doesn’t mean I can’t work on other aims.  And for now, it seems those new aims are

1)    Turning My Ten Future Lives into a screenplay

2)    Writing a children’s novel – Mercury’s Child

3)    And feeling inspired to develop new book and story ideas, and continue with the Flicker series

How do I go about achieving those aims?

Well, I’ve found I’m at my most inspired AND at my most productive when I travel.  Now obviously it’s not possible to travel forever, and never work … but working as a lowly nanny in a Canadian ski resort has funded my ‘writing habit’ pretty well thus far … why not do it for another season?  And as for the script-writing … well that’s something totally new to me … so how about doing a course in it, whilst also exploring another area of the globe?

And so … as I re-brand myself a bonafide Career Author, I actually find that very few things are changing.  I want to spend this year travelling as much as possible, and funding those travels by nannying – an occupation which doesn’t zap my creative energy.

I’m re-inventing myself … but all I’m really doing is re-inventing my attitude towards my life.  I’ve spent the past two and a half years travelling to some of the most exciting and inspiring parts of the world and writing the entire time, but somehow feeling like a failure.  Like a shirker.  Like I had chosen the unacceptable path.  And yet, only now, am I truly appreciating that path, and seeing it for what it really is.

The first steps of a career!  Granted, I don’t know whether that career will be a successful one … but isn’t that what life is about?  Trial and error?

I didn’t need to re-brand myself for anyone other than me.

So here goes … I’m C-C Lester … Career Author 😉

 

 

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The Year Ahead ….

Following on from my post about how you need to be a blog reader as well as a blog writer

I’ve just been reading ‘The Becoming Year’.

Initially I came across the blog post ‘SVP and I, Volume 1‘ a collection of stupid comments from Abigail’s former boss, which I noticed in a link she posted on the very amusing, Freshly Pressed,  ‘Post It Notes from My Idiot Boss‘ both of which have definitely inspired me to write a second installment of my ‘Tales of a Starving Artist‘ very soon, however it was actually the description of The Becoming Year which caught my eye.

Abigail describes her blog as ‘A thirty year-old gal with scraps of creativity and an abundance of judgment, I’ve quit my career as a leadership consultant to pursue my original dream of becoming a published author, becoming thin, and becoming kind. This is my story. This is my year.’

As I explained just a few days ago in ‘Inspired ...’ I’m coming out on the bright side of a bit of a mope-slash-panic about returning home after two and a half years travelling without a book deal, and have to say I found Abigail’s opening paragraph really inspiring.

I LOVE nice ‘neat’ blog frameworks, where you follow a year in someone’s life, or someone completing a specific challenge, from start to finish, and am kind of envious because my own blog has ended up as a bit of a mish-mash of my personal opinion and my fiction writing!

However, I definitely think I can apply some of her thoughts to my own life at the mo.

In just over a month I return back to England.  And I think what’s going to help me feel like I still have some structure in the haphazard unstructured world of being an author, is by giving myself definite targets.  Obviously there are some targets which I can’t have too much input on.  For example, for now at least, with my novels ‘Flicker’ and ‘The Dream Navigator’, I’ve essentially done all I can do.  I wrote, finished, edited and re-edited both novels, until they were in a condition which my wonderful agent, Lucy Dundas at Peters Fraser & Dunlop, deemed publisher-worthy.  And unfortunately (because this is the bit I’m really awful at!) now I just have to sit back and wait!

However, while the ball on those two projects is now firmly in someone else’s court, that doesn’t mean I have to sit around twiddling my thumbs!

And so … I’m going to take a leaf from Abigail and The Becoming Year, and set myself some targets for the year.  Now I know it’s not the start of the year … however I for one definitely need to learn to be a bit less rigid and precise about stuff (as you may have noticed from my extremely strict approach to writing a novel!! – ‘The Secrets to Finishing a Novel‘)

Also, yesterday was my Dad’s 66th Birthday.  (He died just over 8 years ago)  So it’s a particularly memorable day for me …

By my Dad’s 67th Birthday I hope to achieve the following …

  • Obviously I’d love to get a book deal … but that’s one thing I can’t directly influence.  Though I can obviously work as hard as possible to pursue that particular dream.
  • I’m going to take a Screenwriting course (have been looking at 8 week intensive courses at the New York Film Academy … give me a shout if you’ve done one of their courses!)
  • I’m going to turn My Ten Future Lives into a screenplay … because, without revealing too much about the plot, it would work really well as a film … possibly better than a book.  (Characters change from imaginary life to life, so the same actors could play a variety of characters 🙂 )
  • I will finish my new book ‘Mercury’s Child’ … which is currently just a lot of notes!  It looks like I might be having a rather cruisy few months back home over the summer, after a winter working 70 hour weeks as a nanny, so I’m aiming to have MC finished by the start of September … which would be when I’d be flying out to New York.  If all goes to plan, four months seems to be how long it takes me to write a first draft.
  • I’ll still be keeping this blog, and using it to learn about the life of an author, and share my observations with you guys
  • In a year’s time, I’d like to feel more like writing is my ‘career’ … which is a very loose ambition, I know … but I think that embodies how unspecific ‘writing professionally’ really is …

In previous years, when my ‘year’ has been strictly regimented by school and university semesters, I’ve always had very specific aims.  And yet, I think my main aim for the year is just that I feel I’ve truly made the most of it – whether that’s (shock horror!) by taking a third ski season (rather tempting at the mo, when I know how much writing I get done working as a nanny).  I want to look back, this time next year, and feel I’ve made some steps firmly in the right direction.

Only time will tell how large those steps are …. but I guess the main message should be that I haven’t been deterred from my overall aim.

To be a career author –

To be able to look my best friend’s parents (who have been my adoptive family since my parents died when I was 19) in the eye, and tell them them that I don’t need to ‘look for a career’ because I’ve genuinely found one!!!

No doubt over the coming days, weeks and months I’ll find other aims to add to this list, and I’ll keep you posted on them, but right now, these are the things I want to achieve in the coming year 🙂

And as for Abigail’s other aims … what girl wouldn’t want to be a bit thinner in a year’s time 😉

C-C xxx

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Inspired ….

A number of your comments on this blog have thanked me for ‘inspiring’ you.

Which is lovely … and something I’m extremely proud of.

However, I have to admit to feeling increasingly uninspired in recent months.

Just to recap my situation for those of you who haven’t read my entire blog … I’m a 27 year-old Cambridge law graduate.  I passed up a career in law for a Masters in Broadcast Journalism, and then disappeared off around the world on a rather extended second gap ‘year’.  Two and a bit years later, and I’ve written three novels, got myself an agent … but am still not published.

Of my two and a half years away, I spent a year travelling across Australasia and South and Central America, all by myself, before installing myself in Whistler, Canada, where I have worked as a live-in and live-out nanny.

But that time is coming to an end … fast!

My plane ticket home is booked for April 27th, and whilst I’ve had an agent for over a year, getting signed to PFD feels like my last tangible writing achievement.  I finished my first novel Flicker almost two years ago.  I know it’s a slow process, and those two years haven’t been without major developments, but still … I’m a month from going home, and if I’m honest I guess I’d always imagined returning home with my first book deal firmly under my belt.

Flicker was sent to publishers last November.  And over half are yet to reply.  Whilst all of the rejections I’ve received so far, have been rather positive and encouraging … they were still rejections.  And I’m not feeling overly heartened by the fact that the other six publishers are in no rush to respond …

My second book, The Dream Navigator, will be sent to publishers in the next few days, but it’s hard not to feel despondent. after getting my hopes up when I heard Flicker was finally being sent off.

So … I’m returning home unsigned.  And unemployed!

Uninspired.

I’ve spent the past few weeks, wincing at job pages.  Trying to find a day job that inspires me, recognises my academic background, but that forgives my lack of professional expertise.  Easier said than done … And while I may have been happy working as a nanny on the other side of the world, being back home and babysitting for a living seems like selling myself short.

So there I was … uninspired, and panicking that my dreams of becoming a writer are all for nothing … Worrying that my only chance to make it as a writer involves making coffee for editors, and working eighty hour weeks for literally nothing … (more on that later!).

The problem with my background is that writing isn’t my only option.  Every now and again the sensible voice inside me reminds me that I don’t have to completely turn my back on my academic background … that the Magic Circle Law firms are still there, and that I have the gift of the gab to glaze over my four year ‘sabbatical’ ….

But I don’t want to be a lawyer!  I dismissed that career years ago … and found a vocation that I love … and truly believe I can succeed in.

I just have to keep working at it.  Like all of you, who have read my blog … I’m almost there … but not quite.  And I need to believe in myself to continue  on that path.

Where did my inspiration come from?  What was it that made me realise I’m not ready to give up on my dream just yet, and that just because I’m leaving the protective bubble of my gap year, and returning back into the harsh light of my ‘real world’, doesn’t mean I have to abandon the thing I’ve spent the past two years working towards?

Last night I watched the Adjustment Bureau.  Easily the best film I’ve watched since Inception.  I love films that make me think, and stretch my imagination.  Partly because that’s the kind of fiction I like to write.  And partly because I just love stories.  Stories are my life.  Whether books, movies, or trashy American TV … I love stories!  And as I sat in the cinema last night, watching an amazingly well-told and thought-provoking story, and at the same time watching the rest of the audience enjoying that story … I was inspired.  I wanted my stories to touch people like that!  I want to sit in a cinema, and know the story inspiring and captivating every member of the audience, started in my head!

I want to share stories with the world!  I like to write … whether fiction or non-fiction, a journal, a blog, a news article  … but it’s the stories that are my passion.  And I want to dedicate my life to telling those stories …  In novels, and screenplays … and maybe even in good old trashy American TV!

Nut the Adjustment Bureau inspired me for another reason.  The film focusses on the idea of destiny, and having a pre-ordained path in life.  And it’s message is a positive one of taking hold of your own life, and determining your own destiny with your own actions.  Truly writing your own story.

What better message for uninspired me, than to be told to take the reigns of my life, and make things happen?

Ok, so Flicker has been at publishers for a few months …  Who cares? It’s my first novel!  And not only did it get me signed to an agent, but she thought it was good enough to submit to some of the world’s biggest publishers!  And in not one of my rejection letters, did those publishers question why Lucy thought it good enough to send to them!

I’m 27 years young … as I observed in The Life/Writing Balance most authors are in their mid-thirties when they write their first novels.  The past two years haven’t been my writing career … they have been my first steps on a path which will hopefully last my entire life.  And I shouldn’t abandon that path just because the first steps are turning out to be a little tougher, or longer than my impatient excitement can handle!

So I am writing my own story, and determining my own destiny … by believing and investing in my ability.

I go home in a month’s time.  But that isn’t the end of my dream.  It’s the start of a new chapter.  Where to next?  Well I’m thinking a screen-writing course in the States so that I can turn My Ten Future Lives into a screenplay …  and hopefully one day sit in a cinema, and stare up at my own story.  And more importantly, stare around at the people touched and moved by that story!

C-C xx

 

 

 

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The Travel(ling) Writer

The problem with starting a blog like this, and being Freshly Pressed on my third blog post, is that I can’t help but feel like I ought to be constantly churning out Class A non-fiction offerings.  And I definitely believe that my skills lie more in fictional works than in poignant social commentary!

The blog was originally planned as a showcase for some of my fiction work, and the ‘So am I an Author yet?!’ article was more of an apology for being brave enough to tag my own name with the word, rather than the start of a detailed blog about writing.

However, a lot of the comments which have appeared on the blog have inspired me to write about other aspects of writing.

One of the things I have been asked about are my inspirations.  As I discussed in Writing from the Heart, in my opinion the best ‘fiction’ is written when you are writing about something which is perhaps closer to your mind than to your heart.  You need to know about the topic, however at the same time, you need to be able to give that topic emotional distance.  I only realised this several months after writing my first draft of Flicker when I had personal closure on some of the events in my own life which had motivated me to write the book. And as a result, I feel the subsequent, rather different, drafts of the book were far stronger.

But finding that line between the things you know and the things you love, and treading it appropriately, can be an artistic tightrope.

Everyone needs inspirations which they are passionate about.

Which brings me on to my ‘safest’ inspiration.  Something which colours almost everything I write, envokes real passion in me, and yet isn’t something I’m emotionally attached to – like a romance or a bereavement.

Travel.

I’ve spoken before about my belief in role models for children.  It was the reason all those years ago why I wanted to become a Blue Peter presenter.

I believe children need to be inspired.  They need to be educated about all the amazing opportunities which the world has to offer, and shown things outside of the box, so that they can set their own perimeters for their own personal box.

As the child of a marriage  founded on travel (my English father met my Romanian mother whilst travelling across Europe) travel and languages played a heavy role in my upbringing, however I always knew that other children might not be as aware of the world around them as I was.

It is for this reason that travel features so heavily in all of my books.

I write for young adults, and I hope that my love for travel might possibly influence my young readers’ futures.

Flicker only came together as a full story when I was backpacking down the East coast of Australia.  The story itself takes place across Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji, with the sequel planned for South America, and future books in North America, Europe and Asia.

The Dream Navigator is set predominantly in Canada, Seattle and Los Angeles.

And even My Ten Future Life touches down in Sydney, Rio, Los Angeles, Texas and New York.

The world is a huge place.  It only seems right to me, to make the stage upon which my characters play out their own personal stories as wide and as exciting as possible.

If I can stage a dramatic showdown on a smoldering volcanic island, or have a chance encounter take place in a backpacker’s hostel on the other side of the world, and in doing so not only enhance the imagery of my story, but also inspire a reader to search out that island or that city, then I feel I’ve fulfilled two childhood dreams.

To be a real author … and to be a role model.

C-C xx

 

 

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Writing from the Heart

I think most writers will admit to, at least on occasion, writing from the heart.

We discuss things which move and inspire us, because these are the things which we can write most passionately and knowledgeably about.  And yet distance still plays an important part in the writing process.

Art often imitates life.

I’m not going to pretend that my novel ‘Flicker’ appeared out of nowhere.  Whilst the main premise, based upon the Chinese Elementary Cycle, had been in the back of my mind for a number of years, it was only when I travelled down the east coast of Australia that the rest of the plot truly formed in my mind.

I had just been dumped, and had left the UK for a year travelling around the world, starting in Australia.  Five years beforehand I had lost both my parents.  And so when you meet Flic Firestone, Flicker’s central character, it might come as no surprise to find that, she too has been dumped.  She has just lost her mother, never knew her father, and according to her mother’s last wishes, joins a gap year trip down the east coast of Australia.

Felicity Firestone isn’t me.

However, at that point, she definitely shared a number of my characteristics.  Firstly, because I felt they added to the story.  And secondly, because they were things I believed I could write well about.

And then there was the third reason why Flic shared some of my more painful characteristics.  A normally unspoken reason.

Because on some level, writing about those things from Flic’s perspective was cathartic.  What better way to get over some of life’s most painful issues, than have a character get over them for you?

And so Flicker took shape.  Five months, and 180,000 words later, and I had myself a novel.  I also had some form of closure.

The book wasn’t just about Flic’s parents or her heartbreak, but with those two things underpinning her experiences, it would have been hard not to draw parallels between her and me.

By the end of the novel, Flic is stronger.  More certain of herself, and able to stand alone, without her mother, and without a man at her side.  And as for me, well, by the end of the novel, I was stronger too.  I was proud of my achievement, and felt stronger in myself … more willing to explore the world and its possibilities on my own.

As I explained in my post ‘So am I an Author yet?!’ my first agent-inspired edit of Flicker was to cut the manuscript in half.  I had to remove 90,000 words, whilst still preserving the story.

A lot of readers have asked how I could bear to do this, but, other than the obvious complexity of physically removing so many words, I actually found the process rather painless.

There were two reasons why I so willingly cut the text.  The first was that I loved the story as a whole, but not necessarily for its every individual word.  And so, if slimming the contents of the story down was going to better my chances of sharing it with a wider audience, then that was something I needed to do.

My second reason for so readily editing down Flicker, was related to the reasons I first started writing.

When I first began writing Flicker, I was heart-broken, and so too was Flic.  But when I finished Flicker, Flic had come to terms with her break-up with Ally, and I too had come to terms with the end of my own relationship.  I had the personal closure, and the new distance from those emotions, to enable me to re-read what I had written, and very clinically remove all of the excess emotion, which at the time, my grieving sensibility had thought relevant.

Bit by bit, I removed myself, and my own personal pain from the text.  Because it didn’t need to be there.  Flic’s pain was enough!

This second step was arguably as cathartic as the first.

Being able to re-read my work, and remove the unnecessarily personal elements of the text so clinically, made me realise how far I had come, and that for Flicker to be a good story, it really didn’t need to be based too heavily on my own personal experience.

From this first edit onwards, all of the characters, including Flic, truly began to develop as individuals, rather than as mosaics of different parts of people I knew.  For example, Jules, a character who had started off as a cross between my close friend Carly, and a girl I had known at university, fully developed into Flic’s best friend, an individual in her own right.  And by the same token, Flic Firestone was no longer an echo of myself, and my troubles, but a real three-dimensional girl, with some of the problems and adventures I had experienced in my life, but with an awful lot more to offer too.

It was only a I stepped away from my comfort zone, and really explored my imagination, that I saw my writing truly blossom.  I was no longer writing a journal of sorts and changing the names, but exploring the possibilities the corners of my imagination, and enjoying it.  ‘De-Charlifying’ the text became as much a part of the edit as reducing the word count, and the result was something I was tremendously proud of.

But the interesting thing is that this change became a permanent one.  Rather than beginning all my other books in the same way, setting the framework with people and experiences I already knew, and then colouring this framework with imagination, my later books all started firmly at that imagination phase.

It was as if, stepping firmly away from the comfort of topics so close to my heart, had marked a shift in my writing, and one, in my opinion, for the better!

I was asked just this morning if Ellody Rose, the main character from The Dream Navigator is based on me.  And whilst, still, where Flic is concerned, I might dither ever so slightly on the answer, with Elle I can be categorical with my answer.

Ellody Rose is not me.  Nor is she based on me.  If I had to find any similarities between us … she has dark hair.  But then, I have a feeling all my lead females will have dark hair, because as a lifelong brunette, I don’t think I’ll ever know what it is to be a blonde 😉

And in the book Ellody moves to Whistler … the infamous Canadian ski resort where my last two books were penned.  A village which I know, and which I both love and hate … something which proved very useful in the context of the story.

However, other than that … Elle is all imagination.

And I love her for it!

So fellow writers … don’t abandon your hearts altogether, because knowledge and empathy are definite assets in a writer.  But equally don’t spill those hearts out either … you’ll only have to time mopping them (and 90,000 words) up later!

 

C-C xx

 

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