Hello, long time no speak, right? Well, in terms of my writing anyway. If you’re new here then you’ll probably have no idea what I’m talking about since it’s been so long since I updated, but basically I love to write. I am in the process of editing a novel I wrote and am trying to keep my blog updated with my writing progress. This, unfortunately, has not gone exactly as planned… (You can view my first update here)
I’m studying my second year of university this year, and I found it quite hard to be able to fit in the time for editing. And when there was time to edit, I would always force myself to do other things. Mostly I read, or watched TV shows, or sat on YouTube or Instagram procrastinating life. I found it really hard to motivate myself to take the time to edit, mostly because I found it cringe-worthy, tedious, and rather boring. Of course, I don’t think the story itself is boring, but just the editing process really kills me.
I did find that after editing a paragraph, a page or a chapter, however, that I felt really accomplished and proud and that is really the best part of the whole editing process. Once I started editing, it motivated me to keep going, even of only for a short while. I need to remind myself that I started writing this story around 4 years ago, so my writing has changed a hell of a lot, and I needn’t be so hard on my past self (it’s hard sometimes).
So basically I’ve edited one chapter so far. Yes, one chapter. In 6 months. My goal was to finish editing by the end of the year, but at the rate I’m going I think that might be impossible. I really just want to be done editing it all so I can hopefully start submitting it to publishers in the hopes of it being picked up and published all around the world. Well, I guess that’s every writer’s dream, isn’t it?
Although I’ve only edited one chapter, I am still pretty happy and proud of myself. When I look at the difference between the edited and unedited chapters and see just how much my writing has changed, I really can’t help but feel pleased with how much it has improved and changed.
I thought it would be fun for you guys to see the edited and unedited versions of chapter one, and give you a little sneak peak into my story at the same time. Of course, if you really wanted you could just go to my Wattpad and read the full (unedited) story there, but I highly recommend you do not do that…. How and why people are still reading it I do not know, but I know that a lot of things are changing in the edited version, including names and various other details, so once I’ve completely edited the entire story, I’m hoping it’s extremely different from the first draft. I will obviously still be keeping most of the plot and story line, but it will still be a very different story.
So, if you want to see the difference before and after editing, then keep reading. If you only really want to read the edited first chapter, then that’s okay too, just skip the first part and read the edited chapter!
Please note that I am not a professional and do not think I’m a best-selling author. I am just a person who loves to write, and hope to one day share my stories with the world. If I ever do get the chance to be published, I know that my story will change a lot and that it still has a long way to go before getting anywhere near good enough to be in print.
UNEDITED CHAPTER ONE: (very first draft)
“Okay, you’re going to feel a slight pinch…” the doctor said as he placed my wrist underneath the machine.
I knew he was lying. I had seen people go through this before. I looked down at my wrist under the device; it looked so strange. I guess you could describe it as a massive stapler, because that’s what it was going to do. It was about to insert a countdown on the inside of my wrist. You didn’t have a choice if you wanted it or not, once your sixteenth birthday came, that thing was embedded into your skin.
The doctor began to count backwards from ten. I looked over at my mother outside the viewing window and gave her a weak smile, receiving a nervous grin in return. Thanks, Mother. Thank you for making me feel even more frightened. I gazed at my blank wrist, thinking that this will be the last time I see it untouched and free. He was down to five. I took a deep breath and closed my eyes, hoping it would be over soon. I wished they could just give you a bracelet instead, telling you how long you have. It would be a lot easier, and much less painful.
“And one,” he exclaimed, pushing a big green button on the control panel that sat in front of him.
The machine began to rumble, a light shining onto my tied down wrist. I squeezed my eyes shut, having little hope that it would decrease the pain I was about to experience. I felt a heavy weight against my wrist before a piercing, agonising pain shot into my skin. I let out a scream, wanting to rip my arm away from the machine. My mother rushed through the doorway and over to my side, getting a tight grip on my free hand.
The pain shot up my arm, going through my entire body. It was the worst pain I’d ever experienced, and I couldn’t even describe what it felt like. Just imagine feeling a tiny needle being stabbed into every inch of your body, and then multiply that by like a million. I may have been over exaggerating, but it really was excruciating.
The horrid pain subsided a little and I opened my eyes, blinking at my new wrist. The countdown read 0000d 00h 00m 00s. I looked up at the doctor, confused as to why it didn’t say anything.
“Don’t worry sweetie, it need’s time to work and connect to your system.” He smiled blankly, grabbing a clipboard from the desk in the corner of the room.
“Now. Just a few things you should know,” he began. “Firstly, it will take about six hours for the Timekeeper to connect to your nervous system and brain. So, when you wake up in the morning, it should be working.”
“And if it isn’t?” my mother mumbled, still holding a tight grip on my hand.
I looked up at her wrist; her countdown only displayed a big red horizontal line. That was what happened when your soul mate passes away.
My mother met my father about a year after her sixteenth birthday, and would say how they instantly connected. People around them were jealous of how in love they were; how perfect their relationship was. I wish I were alive to see it; it would’ve been so magical. But my father died when my mother was pregnant with her third child; me. My older brothers were both lucky, they got to spend time with him and see him. But I didn’t, which hurt like a stab to the heart. I wished for my relationship to be like theirs, so magical and unforgettable.
“-Make sure that you follow these rules, the consequences can be terrible,” the doctor finished as I realized that I had zoned out for half of his talk.
But I guess it was all right. I knew how it worked anyway. I had always been so fascinated with the Timekeeper, and couldn’t wait to have my own. I would always ask mother about it and how it worked. I watched both my brothers get theirs and find their soul mates as well.
I knew that the Timekeeper could control you. That’s what it had to do. It leads you to your soul mate, even if they are across the ocean. You would just end up buying a plane ticket and not have any idea of where you were going, all because of the little device implanted into your wrist.
“Are there any other questions, Candice?” the doctor asked, opening the door for us, signalling that it was time to go.
I stood up from the dentist-looking chair that patients have to sit in and walked towards the door. My eyes met those of the old man, and a smile came to my face before I shook my head.
“Very well then. If you have any questions in the future, please don’t hesitate to call.”
He closed the door, leaving my mother and I out in the hallway of the clinic.
* * *
“How do you feel?” my mother asked as we pulled up in the driveway of our home.
I shrugged. “Fine. It doesn’t hurt anymore.”
She gave me a warm smile before walking into our family home. It was such a big house, especially now that my eldest brother Daniel had moved into his own home with his soul mate. It was only my mother, my brother Jacob and his fiancée Patricia, and I.
We lived on a massive property out by the beach; every room of the house had a stunning view. Whether it is of the beach, the hillside or our own property, it all looked so beautiful from our home.
“Hey Sis. Let’s take a look,” Jacob called, running up to me and grabbing my wrist. I let out a little yelp; not knowing it was still painful to the touch.
“Jacob, watch it.” Patricia came over, gently taking my arm out of his strong grip.
Sometimes, I wished I was like Patricia, or could at least look similar to her. She had long black hair, startling green eyes and was the perfect height. But, I was me. Light brown hair, and hazel eyes. Just boring sixteen year old, Candice Smith.
“Sorry Candy,” he replied.
He let go and the duo walked back into the living room.
“I’ll start to cook some dinner okay? It should be ready in half an hour.” Mother smiled, giving my shoulder a light squeeze before walking towards the kitchen.
I let out a sigh, glad to be finally alone, and went upstairs to my room. I sat on my bed, looking down at my wrist and wondering how long I’d have to wait, until I met him. Well, to be fair it could be a girl, but I was pretty certain that I didn’t feel that way towards girls. My brother Daniel once said that one of his friends found their soul mate, and turned out to be a guy. Daniel’s friend never even realized he was gay until he met his soul mate.
I found myself brushing my fingers along the Timekeeper, which caused me jump a little. It felt so strange, a little metal strip just sticking out of your skin, especially since I was so used to feeling only skin there. I lied down, trying to imagine what my soul mate might look like. Whether his skin is pale or olive, whether his hair is golden or dark, whether his eyes are electric blue or chocolate brown. I couldn’t picture a face, how tall or if he would be, skinny or toned. I couldn’t think of anything. My mystery soul mate is just an anonymous, blurry figure in my mind.
“Candy, dinner will be ready in five minutes!” my mother called from the bottom of the staircase.
I sighed; everything in this darn world revolved around time. Time surrounded all of us, whether we were cooking, working, at school, or even eating. Time is everywhere. It controls our lives. Even love; the one thing you thought you could control and you thought was full of choices, is way out of our hands.
EDITED CHAPTER ONE: (second draft)
“Okay, Candice, you’re going to feel a slight pinch,” Dr. Ross said as he placed the gun to the inside of my wrist.
Yes, I said gun. Not a real gun with bullets intent on hurting people, although this was still going to hurt. A slight pinch? Please, I knew he was lying. I’d seen both of my brothers go through this before, watched them both scream even though they said they wouldn’t.
I looked down at my wrist under the device, noticing just how thin and soft the skin was. My veins trailed down my arm like tiny streams of water, before disappearing deeper under the skin. Dr. Ross slid his glasses over his eyes then, before inserting the small strip of metal into the gun. It looked strange outside of the body, where I had always seen it. I hadn’t really thought about how weird it was that I was about to get a small countdown permanently inserted into my skin. I guess it was kind of the same as getting a tattoo, except getting a tattoo was a choice made by the person receiving it. Unfortunately, there was no choice given to us here. Once you turned sixteen, you were sent straight to the clinic to get the small device pushed into your skin.
Dr. Ross began to count down from ten. I looked over at my mother who stood outside the viewing window and gave her a weak smile, receiving shaky thumbs up in return. I had always been on the other side of that glass, standing right beside mum as she gripped my hand to keep from rushing into the room. I could use her strong grip right now, as Dr. Ross’ counting edged closer and closer to zero. I took a deep breath and closed my eyes, my heartbeat increasing as the seconds ticked down.
If only they had decided to give everyone a bracelet or a watch instead. It seemed like such a good idea, it was hard to see how they hadn’t thought of it first. Surely making bracelets would cost a lot less than all of these procedures and equipment. And at least a bracelet wouldn’t be painful.
“And one,” he exclaimed, touching the gun to the thin skin on my wrist before pulling the trigger.
My instinct was to flinch, waiting for a loud bang that never came. It was stupid, since I’d seen this happen twice before and I’d never even seen a gun being fired apart from on television. But then I felt it. A piercing, agonising pain shot straight into my skin. I let out a scream, wanting to rip my arm away from Dr. Ross’ strong hold. My mother rushed through the doorway and over to my side, despite the doctor’s protests, and pulled my free hand into her loving hands.
The pain shot up my arm and down to the tips of my fingers before it spread through my entire body. My body shook from the intensity, having never experienced so much pain in my life. I hated that everyone brushed the pain aside, saying that it barely hurt. “A slight pinch”, Dr. Ross had said. What a load of utter crap.
I was unsure how long the pain lasted; it felt like hours but could only have been several seconds. The pain subsided slightly as I opened my eyes, blinking at my modified wrist. The countdown stared blankly up at me, before it flashed with nine zeros. I waited for them to change, to start the countdown, but they stayed there, unmoving. I looked up at the doctor, confused as to why it didn’t say anything. Did this mean I wasn’t going to meet my soul mate?
“Don’t worry sweetie,” he smiled before continuing as if he’d said the words thousands of times before,
“it just needs some time to connect to your system.”
Dr. Ross wrapped my wrist in a small bandage covering my view of the small countdown. Once finished, he walked towards his desk, taking a seat and letting his fingers run across the computer keyboard. My mum’s grip hadn’t softened since she burst through the door. Even though my fingers were beginning to ache, I was glad she was by my side.
“Now, just a few things you should know,” Dr. Ross began, swinging around in his chair to face my mother and I. “Firstly, it usually takes between six to eight hours for the Timekeeper to connect to your nervous system and brain. So when you wake up in the morning, your countdown should have been started.”
“And if it isn’t?” my mother asked nervously, somehow tightening her grip on my hand.
It didn’t matter how many times she had gone through this process, she still managed to freak herself out. It wasn’t like it could stay on nine zeros, not until the Timekeeper had finished counting down, anyway. The only alternative to not having a countdown was the ‘Death Line’ as most called it. Morbid, wasn’t it? My eyes flickered to my mum’s wrist, where the Death Line cut through her Timekeeper. The blood red line was startling and hard to miss; my body shivered just looking at it. I never wanted to see that line appear on my wrist, because it would mean that my soul mate had passed away.
My father passed away when I was only a few months old. Cancer. By the time he was diagnosed the disease had spread throughout his entire body, giving him no chance to fight it. The doctors did what they could, and my mother said he died peacefully and seemingly without much pain. I don’t think I’ll ever get over the fact that both my older brothers have so many memories of him, so many memories that I was never a part of, and can’t share with them. I could only listen to the stories my family told me and look at old photos from when he was healthy, and still alive.
“Not to worry, Mrs. Smith, everything you need to know is in here,” Dr. Ross laughed, handing a colourful, yet extremely thick, pamphlet to my mother.
She handed the pamphlet to me, though I didn’t need it. I’d already memorised everything from the ones my brothers had received when they had turned sixteen and been put through this very procedure. I’d been waiting for this day for what felt like forever, and it almost felt like this moment could all just be a dream.
“How are you feeling, Candice? All right to go?” the doctor asked, spinning around in his chair and handing me a small tube.
“I feel fine,” I smiled, hopping out of the chair and walking towards the door.
“Very well then,” he said, clapping his hands together before standing up and opening the door. “The cream will help for any swelling or bruising. If you have any questions, the pamphlet should answer them all, but feel free to call us if you can’t find your answer in there.”
Mum shook his hand and thanked him; as though I had just gone through a life-saving operation instead of a small procedure he did every single day for a living. He smiled at me, before closing the door and leaving my mother and I out in the hallway of the clinic.
“How do you feel?” my mother asked as we jumped into the car and she started the engine.
I shrugged. “I’m fine, mum.”
“Are you sure? You seemed to be in quite some pain back there.”
I sighed, “I can barely feel it now, it’s like a bee sting.”
I glanced down at my wrist, the thin bandage obscuring my view from the small countdown that would be stuck in my skin for the rest of my life. I knew the numbers wouldn’t have appeared yet, but my fingers itched to rip the dressing off and check it regardless.
“We’ll take a look at it when we get home, and we’ll put some cream on it and hopefully that’ll help with the pain,” mum said as she saw me staring at my wrist.
We pulled up in the driveway, the only driveway within a few kilometres. Our house sat alone close to the mountains. It was a pretty big house, especially without my dad and my eldest brother, Dean living in it anymore. I struggled to believe my mum could actually still afford it without having much of an income, but I figured dad had left her with enough to get by for a while once he passed. Money wasn’t something we really spoke about in our home because whenever it was it usually just ended in arguments. Although we looked like a well-off family from the outside, we did struggle quite often. There had been countless arguments between my brothers and mother about selling the house and downsizing, but she refused to sell.
“Hey, Sis! Let’s take a look,” Jackson called, running up to me as we walked through the front door, and yanking my wrist towards him. I let out a little yelp; unaware it would be painful to touch.
“Jackson,” my mother cried and he let go almost immediately, as if he had only just realised what he had done. The skin around my Timekeeper was tingling, as though Jackson’s grip had left its mark on the sensitive skin.
“Can you be more careful next time?” she warned, quickly glancing at me to check if I was okay.
“Shit, I’m sorry, Candy,” he replied. “I completely forgot you’d be in pain.”
Patricia came down the hall then, her jet-black hair flicking across her back as she walked. She was unbelievably gorgeous, with the dead straight hair and the startling blue eyes. I remember the first time Jackson introduced us to her and how I couldn’t believe she wasn’t strutting her stuff on a runway in Milan. She was the type of girl I would have usually hated if she weren’t so damn kind.
“Hey, sweetie,” she said as she approached, her hand almost instinctively reaching for Jackson’s. “How’s the arm?”
I shrugged, “Fine. At least it was.” I glared at my brother before grinning and receiving a gentle slap on the shoulder.
“I’ll start dinner in an hour, okay?” Mum said as she headed towards the kitchen. “I expect some helping hands!”
Jackson groaned as if he were a spoilt four-year-old rather than a twenty-year-old man, before Patricia dragged him in the opposite direction to my mum, and into the living room. I let out a sigh of relief, glad to be alone, even just for a little while. I headed upstairs to my bedroom, my butt barely touching my bed before I ripped the bandage from my wrist. I stared down at the tiny little strip of metal that had been embedded into my skin, noticing the slight bruising around it. I opened the small tube the doctor had given me, rubbing some of the cream around the small device. It felt strange, the Timekeeper; I wasn’t quite used to it being permanently stuck in my skin just yet.
And then I came to the sudden realisation that this meant I would actually meet my soul mate. It’s not like I didn’t know what the countdown was for, but I had been without the Timekeeper for so long it almost didn’t feel real that it was actually in my skin, calibrating with my mind to find my soul mate. I sat there, wondering how long I’d have to wait until I met him. I lied back on my bed, trying to imagine what my soul mate might look like, what his hobbies could be and if he lived close by or in a completely different city. I wondered how we would meet, and when it would be. It could be in six years time, or tomorrow, and that was the most exciting and daunting part of it all.
“Candy, dinner will be ready in five minutes!” my mother called from the bottom of the staircase, interrupting my thoughts.
I sighed, pushing myself up off the bed. It was crazy really, how everything in this darned world revolved around time. Time surrounded all of us, whether we were cooking, working, at school, or even eating. Time was everywhere. It controlled our lives. Even love, the one thing you thought you could control and you thought was full of choices, was no longer in your hands.
If you read both drafts, firstly, thank you. Secondly, you would have noticed that some of the character’s names changed, and I’m sure you probably noticed just how much my writing has changed. I also hope you actually enjoyed the first chapter of The Timekeeper, feel free to let me know any constructive criticism you may have on the edited draft.
If you are a fellow writer, please let me know how you get through the editing process! (It’s killing me)
Until next time,