I wanted to share with you guys my fiction writing journey and chronicle how I made the switch to write fiction despite my more non-fiction focused and blog/article based reading preference.
Back in 2013 I had a vague notion of perhaps writing a book for teens. I wanted to draw on certain aspects of my own life and tell a story. It surprises me to see that back then I used the names Jack and Serena, it’s like these characters have been sat dormant inside of me waiting to be released.
This is not a reflection of my writing style, it’s more my attempt at writing for teens in a colloquial, casual manner. This does not come close to my writing style for my next book Welcome to Wonderland. I am after all a self-confessed Literary Babe.
I just wanted to share this with you so you can join me on my Author’s Journey and someday when my debut novel gets released we can sit back and chuckle at this extract and see how my writing has come a long way. I hope it delivers a feeling of nostalgia akin to looking back at old high school photos.
I only wrote exactly 2,360 words and that was it. The story remained untouched and completely forgotten about. At the time I wasn’t even thinking of it as a book or becoming a Novelist I just wanted to sit down and write and set myself the challenge of writing the amount required for a manuscript. It was more a question of how does one face the mammoth task of writing 50,000+ words? Then wandering if I could do it. In some ways it was more of a way to cultivate a new hobby.
Below is just a sample of those 2,000 (ish) words.
“As with many things in life it stops and starts but the journey however imperfect continues…”
Sunday 24th February 2013
(From my old Mac computer it says this fiction file was created 24/2/13 11:33 and last modified 24/2/13 15:11)
I woke up at the crack of dawn today feeling restless. My eyes were heavy with the deep need to sleep but my mind was racing with silly thoughts of yesterday and things I needed to do later in the week. Then came the unanswerable question. Why didn’t I have a boyfriend yet? My mind raced back to my last non-boyfriend boyfriend. He was so handsome. I loved him and I loved him but he never loved me. The pain and thwarted passion lingers every single day.
I’m still in bed. It’s 5am on a Sunday morning. I know I don’t have to get up for work today so I snuggle into the duvet cover and feel the plush duvet envelope me. I think back to how Jack would put his arm around me as we sat on the park bench on our dates. He was so physically perfect you know the kind. That 6ft 3 well built Taylor Lautner-esque physique like the hot guy you see in movies who has the manly arms to hold you closely and make you truly feel safe.
I breathed in deeply and smelt the soft scent of my bed and pot porri on my bed stand nearby.
Why did he let me go? Why can’t a day go by when I don’t think of him. I think back to when we met up in the summer after a semester of college.
I recall one June afternoon when we stood under an oak tree in the shade. We finally kissed after a couple of months of not seeing each other because we studied in different cities. I look up at him and he looked back at me with such want and passion and he slowly leaned in and our lips gently met and he kissed me.
Our lips parted and we felt a cool gentle breeze. I looked back into his baby blue eyes and he spoke of how he was so glad we had the summer together and how he enjoys the feel of my lips against his. He murmured that my small mouth had full lips that felt like a cushion on his.
Jack and I still live in the same city. We broke up a year ago. Well actually he ended it and I was left devastated. We’re both 22 years old and I work in a bookshop and he works for an IT company. I should’ve known it wouldn’t last as we were so different. I was from a wealthy family and he wasn’t. I had dark hair and eyes and he was a blue-eyed blonde. Opposites attract and it can be awfully hard for them to part.
We met when we were nineteen. I was at work in the bookshop and he was over by the sports books. I was simply walking past on my way to the staff room as I’d finished my shift. I just happened to turn my head for no reason. I noticed that he was looking at me. I saw him for the first time then. He had a tight white Henley shirt and was holding a hardback copy of TK. So I instantly saw his huge muscles and the outline of his well-built physique. He had blonde hair and piercing blue eyes. He was so handsome. I quickly looked away. I could feel my cheeks gently blush a soft pink shade. I slowly opened the door to the staff room and was taken aback by his virility and how handsome he was. He was the type of man you just have to look at. I didn’t want to take my eyes off him. The first sight of him was etched in my mind. I quickly got my handbag and belongings from my locker. Popped into the ladies to smear on some lip-gloss and another lashing of mascara just in case I’d see him again.
I went back onto the shopfloor and there he was still in the same spot. I really wanted him to approach me. I knew he wanted me. I knew there was an instant attraction. I walked over to a colleague at the till. The till was near where he was.
“I’ll see you tomorrow Serena” I quickly blurted.
“Yeah see you then.”
I took just two steps away from the till counter and could feel a presence behind me suddenly I heard a deep voice say “Excuse me.” I stopped dead in my tracks. The voice was still behind me and I still had not yet turned round. Could it be.? Was man following me. Making his first attempt to pursue me?
I turned around and an attractive tall, dark young man had a pleased expression on his face. I sighed and noticed the blonde guy in the corner of my eye.
I automatically asked “Can I help you?” As I would normally ask a customer whilst working.
“You were the girl who recommended TK for me. You were right it’s truly wonderful.” “Oh yeah, I’m glad you liked it,” I utter in a strained tone. He continued whittling away. I was about to make a polite excuse to leave when suddenly a man said “Is he troubling you? A beautiful lady like yourself shouldn’t be harassed by such an imbecile.” I was a little shocked that he’d describe a complete stranger an imbecile but pleased he was speaking to me. I was wondering what to say back. I opened my mouth slightly ready to reply only I didn’t know what to say. “Oh not at all.” I lied.
The two guys looked at each other and chuckled. “Mate, leave her alone she’s mine,” the tall blonde one said. Gosh he has such a forthright sense of humor. The tall guy told me that the two of them were old buddies then the blonde guy took his hand out towards me to shake hands. I feebly reached my hand forward too. “I’m Jack, this is my mate Scott.” “Oh hi.” Wtf am I suddenly saying hi for mid conversation? “I’m Catherine nice to meet you. You know we’re both about to grab a coffee would you care to join us?” I was standing there stunned. He’s a total stranger OMG what do I do?
“Oh gosh I really must be off I’ve got a bus to catch. Nice to meet you both ,”I quickly mutter and am just about to turn and dash off when Jack says: “When can I see you again?”
“Oh I don’t know. I mean well…you know I work here. So you know where to find me.” I smile knowingly.
“Can I have your number?”
“Um sorry but I’m not too sure about that. Was nice to see you both but I must go now my bus leaves in 3 minutes.
I walk and head towards the staircase and rush out the store doors.
I must confess the following day at 4pm when I finish my shift I did secretly hope that I’d run into him again. That he wants to hunt me down. But no sign of him.
However the next day practically bang on 4 o’clock as I walk out of the doors of B & N I look up and he’s there’s in front of me walking back into the store. I looked stunned to see him.
“Well fancy seeing you here?”
I blush. “Hi.”
“How about you take me up on that offer for coffee?”
I feel totally compelled to say yes to this beautiful stranger. He’s so tall and manly and I feel dainty in his presence.
We then both head towards the nearby Starbucks. He pulls open the door for me then let’s me walk ahead of him to the barista. I feel very aware of how I look. Thank God I put some perfume on earlier. Chance by Chanel-my absolute fave!
“What would you like?” I’ll have my grande white choclate mocha with cream and… I’d like that carrot cake.”
“Ok I’ll get you it. How was work today?”
“It was fine thanks.” I feel so shy around him I feel stuck on what to say.
“So do you study part-time or anything?”
“Ummm I’m on a gap year. Well actually it’s not really a gap year because a gap year would involve travel and having fun and getting wasted on a beach in Thailand… And well I’ve just been working non-stop.”
“Haha. I just dove right into uni. Doing a degree in Psychology right now.”
Our drinks are ready, he carries them to a cosy table with the sofa seats. I sit on the sofa side and pop my bag down next to me. I’m surprised to see Jack choosing to sit next to me. I lean back into the sofa to get a little space. He leans in too.
I reach forward to my mocha drink and take a quick sip almost as a subconscious effort to edge away from him. I burn my tongue instantly. Ow,” I quietly mutter.
“Easy now, there’s no need to rush. Are you ok?”
“Yeah.” I lie.
He rubs my back as he says this.
“So where do you study?”
“In London. I have family that live their so I’m back and forth a lot.”
“Oh, that’s kinda far.”
“Yeah but the London night life is great and there’s lot’s of places to see and museums to visit.”
“Museums?” I ask interestedly.
“Yeah I’m really into… and …” [TK insert noteworthy places he’d be into.]
I think I fall in love just a little. He’s handsome, athlectic and into the arts.
And for the next 45 mins or so it just all flows. The conversation is easy and interesting. I just feel like I’ve known him my whole life. It’s not that we have a whole lot in common we’re just in sync and there’s no awkwardness at all given that we’re strangers.
I took a quick look at his IWC watch* and noticed I’d have to dash.
“I’ve really had a nice time with you today.”
“You’re heading off?”
I pick up my handbag and am ready to get up when he asks for my number. I pause and take in the exciting fact that this gorgeous guy wants to see me again. It feels good. I tell him my number trying to play it a little cool and then I make way out of the coffee shop.
I’m back home and by the time I’ve showered and eaten dinner I notice a text on my phone.
It’s Jack! Wow he likes me. Can’t believe I’m finally getting close to a guy who actually likes me. I’ve spent 19 years practically single. And now I’m certain this is a sure thing. I know that sounds crazy. I don’t even know him.
Even back then I knew I’d use the names Jack and Serena in my book someday… Notably those characters are not in anyway similar to the Jack & Serena of Welcome to Wonderland. It’s funny how things brew in your mind and how it takes a while for them to manifest fittingly.
The love interest Jack was definitely based on the guy in my poem called 2am.
If you’d like to read this poem then sign-up to Pop-up Mailing List.
However the real 2am guy does not make an appearance in my novels because he has no bohemian credibility. We were opposites and as I declared in the above passage: “Opposites attract and it can be awfully hard for them to part.”
*Slight inconsistency with him wearing an IWC watch-LOL!