From Louise Wise

Monday 13 February 2012

How do you write?

Author Andrea Digiglio tells us her writing process. 

What's yours? 

Have you tried Dragon Naturally Speaking

I am thrilled to guest post today! I thought I would talk a little about the way I write and how I worked out Finding Alice.

I use a program called Dragon Naturally Speaking. The idea of speaking to my computer and it actually understanding me was difficult to grasp let alone to consider using!

I love to write long hand, the feeling of lead crushing on a page or the ink leaking from the pen with a flick of your wrist. If my hands would let me I would sit and write for days on end without sleep. 

My process is simple; I do what feels right when I write. I start with long hand almost always. I sit somewhere comfortable maybe a coffee house and write until I can’t write any more. Once my story has begun and truly has somewhere to go I usually turn to my computer. I type much faster then I write and I am more likely to get more done before my hands and wrists begin to protest.

This is the messiest part of my writing. I usually create a timeline of the book with the things I would like to happen and the order for which I would like them to. In my Finding Alice folder there is hundreds of post it notes, stray papers, receipts covered with ideas all over them, timelines and old versions.

When do I use this software you ask?  Well sometimes while I’m writing the first draft. I throw the headset and microphone on lean back in my chair, close my eyes and just tell my computer a story. I find that the more I use it the less errors occur. I also had it learn all of my previous documents so it learned my writing style. (Yes it can do that.)

 My favorite time to use the Dragon software is during revisions. I always print my first draft. I love my computer but machines are fickle and I am not losing my entire manuscript on a malfunction so I print for safety and sanity. During revisions I sit comfy and read my most recent and edited version to the computer in a completely new document. This way I can read it in my head and out loud and change it easily by telling the software to, “delete last line” or “scratch that.” To me this cuts down on my revision time. I’m more likely to make big necessary changes right off the bat this way.

That is a peek into how I wrote Finding Alice. Thank you!

Andrea DiGiglio-Author Finding Alice (Alice Clark Series, #1)

Andrea was born and raised in Michigan, she still resided there with her son. Andrea has always been a writer at heart. Over the last decade she has written, starred and directed in many screenplays. She recently in the last few years decided to venture in writing novels. She hasn’t looked back since, giving
it her full attention. She is very excited to share the wonderful words she creates, with the world.

Book Title – Finding Alice
Genre – YA Paranormal Crossover
Formats – Ebook and Print
Publisher – CreateSpace
Release Date – February 19

Alice is cursed with an intense version of empathy; she runs from a wasted life to start a new one somewhere no one will know her, Hell, Michigan. Alice works at a hole-in-the-wall bar in the middle of nowhere mostly keeping to herself to avoid the overwhelming emotions of those around her. Alice allows her best friend to convince her into taking a few college classes without realizing it would drastically change her life forever. From her first day of class she was hooked on him; his scent, his eyes, the way he talked to her inside her head.

Throughout her struggles she learns about true love, true pain and the truth of her own heritage. Alice must quickly find out who she is because after all everyone else is out to find her. With Angels and Bounty Hunter’s in constant pursuit she finds protection within a group of Fallen Angels. These Fallen Angels vow to do anything to protect her; for it is their belief she will save their kind and all of mankind.

Click below for excerpts:


I moved from town to town for a short while, working random jobs just to pay for my next move, until I found a place that felt like home. It was a really odd feeling for me, never having felt that before, but this place just drew me in like a magnet. This, for most people, would seem like lunacy. No sane person chooses Michigan.
I found a hole-in-the-wall bar just outside of Hell, Michigan, and convinced the owner to hire me. By “convince,” I mean I played him in a game of pool for it. He was actually pretty good—must come from owning your own bar—but I hustled him. I’ve been working there for over a year now. I spend most of my day reading or drawing, and sometimes I work extra shifts just to pass the time.
 This is where I met Camille. She was absolutely stunning to look at. She had brown hair with highlights that looked golden and her skin was pale but flawless. Her legs looked longer than they were due to her overly short shorts and the tower of heels she wore. She definitely didn’t belong in a bar like this but just the same, she loved it here. She went to a community college and came here to get away. She says she works better with a few drinks in her. Somehow she convinced me that I should go back to school, that I was too antisocial and needed to get out of this town every once in a while to mingle with real people, or something like that. I used to just laugh at her, but I began deeply considering it.
We became friends, almost like sisters after this really bad bar fight a few months back. An overly large biker came and challenged one of our regular drunks to a game of pool. I’m assuming it was for a decent chunk of change, because when he lost to Jake, he almost killed him. There I was minding my own business at the bar when this giant ass of man pulled out a pistol. Camille flew out of her seat, attempting to run toward the door, but this guy shifted his aim at her, stopping her dead in her tracks. Jake just stood there blank, refusing to give in to him, pushing Camille behind him protectively. I heard the click as the biker readied his gun. Next thing I knew, I was standing next to him with his gun in my hand, pressed against his cheek.
 “How about you get your fat ass out of my bar?” I barely recognized my cold voice leaving my lips.
Everyone stood in shock, but it was Camille’s face I noticed. I watched her eyes busily recalculating the last few seconds. I felt all the other patrons watch in terror. He spit on the floor, threw his hands up and left. Jake let out a sigh of relief and hugged me, flashing one of those “Way to make me feel like a pussy” grins. I pushed away from the hug quickly and noticed Camille leaning toward a single black feather on the ground. I snatched it up and stuffed it into my pocket. I watched for her reaction but she didn’t even notice.
 The most amazing thing was Camille never asked me how I got there so quickly, how I grabbed the gun without anyone seeing me actually do it. That is why we are such good friends. Well, that and she is so rational, I don’t have to deal with her emotions overloading my mind. I couldn’t explain it to her even if I wanted to. I couldn’t even explain it to myself.


The air smelled like fruit. I rubbed my eyes, attempting to see. I looked at the sky; it bounced with shades of purple, red, and dark gray. It was gorgeous and I was obviously dreaming. I walked through this large, empty field, feeling the warmth of the day on my skin slowly evaporate. I could hear what sounded like voices coming from the dark woods in front of me on the other side of this amber field. It’s a dream. It’s safe to check it out. I walked toward the blackness and trees, glancing back at the field behind me that was well-lit from the sun setting. I stood on the edge of the woods line, debating my entrance and my sanity at that particular moment. “It’s not real,” I said to reassure myself. I entered the woods, cautiously at first. The voices grew loud enough that I could almost make out what they were saying, but there were so many, the words were tangling together. My head began to ache and I turned to run back, but I couldn’t figure out which way was back any longer. I picked up the pace until the voices were roaring in my head. I started into a full-on sprint, running through the darkness and barely able to see a foot in front of me, trusting myself not to run straight into a tree.
“Alice,” a voice called. I stopped dead in my tracks. “Alice.”
That one voice was calming and felt safe. I found the direction the voice was coming from and ran straight toward it. I felt the warmth on the back of my neck. It was not the same as before. This felt haunting. Concentrating, I singled in on one voice in particular. “Keep going,” he said. I was moving so steadfastly, I felt as if I was floating through the air. My feet came to a dead halt when the smell of sand and freshwater climbed up my nose. I made it. I looked out to the water and saw the most beautiful thing I had ever seen in my entire life. I stared in amazement as the moon beamed off of his toned torso, so elegant. In one glorious flex, these incredible charcoal wings escaped his back. I gasped in complete silence but he didn’t even notice me. They extended at least five feet in each direction. Each feather twitched as if they were filled with electricity.
“Cole? You’re so beautiful,” I heard myself say. He turned to me, his eyes piercing almost into my soul. I closed my eyes and breathed in his scent deeply.
I opened my eyes and focused in on the ceiling through the darkness. Part of me was relieved it was a dream. The other part of me was yearning for it to have been real. I rubbed my head in frustration and reached out in a full body stretch. My arms flopped to my sides; I dragged them back up to my pillow and felt the softest touch against my skin. My eyes fully adjusted to the darkness and searched the space around me. My entire bed was now covered in gray-toned feathers.
“Holy shit.” I twirled my hands through them and fell back asleep.


I knew I was home when I walked up my driveway without a memory of the drive itself. I walked in, locking the door and shoving the table in front of it. I stumbled up the stairs, first aid kit under my arm, while juggling three bottles of vodka in my bashed up hands.
I turned the shower on and climbed in with the vodka. I slowly started peeling off my blood-soaked clothes, flinching, wishing I was numb. I poured a little vodka on my body wounds and down my face in between chugging some to deaden the pain. I opened the second bottle, doing more drinking than cleaning. I looked down at myself and found bruises starting to form on almost every inch of my body. Head to toe, my skin was covered with blacks and purples, reminding me of my box of feathers. Tears filled my eyes and for the first time in my entire life, they were my own. I sat curled up on the floor of my shower, wishing the salt I was tasting was from the scent of ocean that radiated from Cole. I drowned it out with more vodka.
    I spent the next day in bed, coddling my last bottle of vodka. Camille called several times to see if I was working. Her last text message read, Are you okay? Max called me and said some anonymous caller called the cops and said they saw two guys break into the bar and then kick the crap out of each other in the parking lot. Max is freaking out. Call me. I’m worried. I ignored them all. Max called a few times as well. I texted him back with, See you Thursday. He replied with an Okay and left it at that.
Around four am, I dragged myself out of bed. I walked to my front door to find it still covered with furniture, as if an intruder couldn’t get past it. I clutched the most recent bottle of vodka I had become so attached to and finally set it down. I struggled to push the furniture to the side and opened the door. I love the smell of four am. I walked cautiously to my car to pull out my art supplies. I attempted to ignore the giant dent while painfully dragging my supplies in the house. Just to be safe, I returned the furniture to its spot in front of the door, snatching the vodka before taking off for the spare room.
    I dumped everything onto the floor and dug through it for my iPod. I plugged it into my stereo system and cranked it up, loud enough to feel the vibrations rush through me. I reached down, almost collapsing in agony, to grab my charcoal. There were no canvases left in the house so I shoved my extra couch away from the wall and started rubbing the charcoal onto the wall. Music, vodka, and art were not a cure, but they soothed the soul.


  1. I started using the Dragon software when I had problems with my wrists. I love it for dialogue because I can speak it at a normal pace. I can leave out the "she saids" and just have a conversation, then go back and add the descriptors later. You're also able to play back, in your voice, what you said, and in that way have the story read back to you aloud.

    It's also great for taking notes while reading. I just read with the headset on and then make any comments as I go. By the time I've finished reading, I've got a complete set of notes ready to save and/or print.

  2. I never heard of Dragon software - but really well worth remembering now! Coming back from the Campaign to say hi. I think what you say that you write in the way that feels right to you is the best way to go about it.

  3. No, I hadn't heard of it before either.
    Barmy, do you have to "teach" it your voice by reading several books first?

  4. OMG. I so want Dragon - I keep telling my kids lol. Thanks for hosting today Louise.


  5. Excellent post! I think you've encapsulated the mission of this blog and our challenge.

  6. You do a short session in the beginning to teach it your voice. You can also let it learn documents so it will know your writing style. On occasion you may have to train a word or phrase.

    Thank you so much for being on my tour!

  7. I'm getting one! My wrists play up on occasion, as well, so it's an investment (what I told hubs, anyway!)

  8. Your getting it!? That is awesome! I have it for my pc but when I purchased my macbook this year, I also picked it up for it. You'll love it.

  9. Yes, next pay check it's mine! lol


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