© 2019 by Keighley Bradford

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"Once We Were": How It Came To Be

Updated: Dec 22, 2019

Twelve months ago I sat on flight from Rome to Athens. I'd freshly wrapped up my tour of the beautiful Italian coast and countryside, and said goodbye to my new-found friends. It'd been a vigorous two weeks of early rises and late evenings, being nothing but flat-out on my feet as we were guided through, to and from towns and cities. By the time I hit the bed, I'd pass out from exhaustion - and then repeat the process the following day.


The tour was as fast-paced as I'd expected - there's just so much of Italy to see and never enough time to see it all. The most gruelling part of the journey was waking for a 6am transfer to the airport without access to any form of breakfast. By the time the transfer collected the other passengers and delivered us to the airport, I'd waited in line at the check-in counter (as one of the first customers and a delayed check-in), then stood at security waiting for my random search to be conducted, it was needless to say that I was beyond tried and starving. After finally consuming a very large coffee and donut (because by this point it was midday, so why not?), I boarded the plane and sat there soaring above the Ionian Sea, somehow finding the motivation and inspiration to whip out my laptop and type the flight away.


It was on this flight my latest work in progress, titled "Once We Were", was born. It consisted of a very simple concept inspired by my recent travels: an adventure in Italy. A tale about friendship, unrequited love, and betrayal were imperative elements to the narrative. And while I was typing away, I knew that this story wasn't going to have a typical happily ever after ending one would expect from new-adult romance novel.

It's been a year since this moment, whereby I've completed a first draft and edit, and am now working on the second draft. I've braved hitting the 'commit' feature on Scrivener by rearranging the entire structure of the novel: a frightening yet enticing experience that's already inspired me to explore the narrative further. And...I haven't explored Italia in the text as much as I'd originally planned, however the spontaneous trip away for the protagonist is anything but unadventurous.


In this next draft I've been exploring different dynamics between characters, along with playing with the concept of time by introducing 'now' and 'then' chaptering, which has undoubtedly strengthened the plot. There's still a lot of work that needs to be done before it's ready, but the journey thus far has been a fun experiment nonetheless.

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