Hello, honorary librarians.
One of my biggest, most important discoveries in 2012 so far has been Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris. I like everything about this book: the idea, the characters, the plot twists and the pacing. I asked Liz to write a guest post for The Nocturnal Library simply because I loved her book so much and I really wanted to do what I can to make sure the rest of you will give it a chance too. She graciously agreed and here's what she wrote:
I’ve always loved writing. Years before Unraveling existed, I scribbled in notebooks, stayed up late writing into the wee hours of the morning, and even brainstormed ideas into a tape recorder on long drives.
But it’s also a hard process. You have to find the time to work, which means ignoring those friends and family who want you to come out of your cave and do something other than write. You have to sometimes force yourself to work through a tough scene or disregard the fact that you think the words you’re putting down are terrible. And you’re never done. You’re always tweaking, rewriting, adding, cutting, and trying to make those revision notes work.
With Unraveling, I discovered that’s the least of it. Because the road to publication is a new beast altogether. It’s an emotional journey. It’s hard, wonderful, terrible, and beautiful all at the same time. There are highs and lows--moments when I wanted to hug random people in the street and moments when I wanted to just curl up on my couch and resume watching bad television.
It’s not like anything I’ve been through before and despite the rollercoaster aspect of it, it’s not something I would ever want to change. Because the high points make everything worth it.
Here are my top five highs on the road to having my debut novel published:
5. Reading Reviews. This is something I didn’t expect. Before Unraveling I was always one of those people who never wanted to share my writing with anyone. Not even my family. And I didn’t want to talk to anyone about it. But now that reviews are out, I’ve found it’s wonderful and inspiring to read the reviews. Hearing that people love the book and just really *get* what I was trying to write is the best feeling. I wrote words that made people feel something. That’s an incredible thing.
4. Finishing Revisions. I discovered I’m not as good at revising as I expected. I revise a lot as I go, and I thought that would prepare me. But it didn’t. When I was editing Unraveling, I added about 18k words and then cut about 8k words from other places in the book. I had to examine my motivations for character decisions and plot elements. I couple times I had to justify why I didn’t want to do a particular revision. I also did a lot of staring at my computer screen wondering how I was going to accomplish the task before me. But when I was done, when Unraveling was accepted and went into production, it was a wonderful freeing moment.
3. The Call. I got the call on March 4th when I was at Cafeteria eating macaroni spring rolls (these are to die for) with three friends. My agent called. She asked me to come to her office. When I got there, I was nervous. It seemed too soon for good news, but she said, “We have an offer. It’s a pre-empt so we have to get back to them today.” I couldn’t process it right away. I had barely come to terms with the fact that the manuscript was on submission or that there were people like my agent who thought it was good enough to be published. I actually just started to cry.
2. Getting First Pass Pages. I spent a lot of time between the call and publication in some kind of state of disbelief. There’s so much waiting between an offer and the book’s release date, that I relegated a lot to do with Unraveling to the back of my mind and continued to go through my daily routine. When my first pass pages came in the mail, it was impossible to do that. Here were the words I wrote laid out like an actual book.
1. Finishing the First Draft. First and foremost I write for me. I write because I love it, because I’m driven to, and because sometimes an idea latches onto me and I can’t stop thinking about it. And I write things that I want to read. Not everything is good. In fact most of it will never get past a folder on my desktop. A lot of it will be just random scenes or discarded set ups to different novels. But then there are the few ideas that are special. The ones where the characters come to life, the plot lays itself out like a map that’s easy to follow, and I’ll spend weekends lost in a different world. And there is no greater feeling for me than finishing the first draft of one of those ideas, and knowing that no matter what happens, I’ve just written a novel.
Thank you so much, Elizabeth! Luckily for us, the end result is simply amazing. Unraveling is already high up on my list of all-time favorites. I'm actually ready to reread it already.
To celebrate the US release of Unraveling, we have decided to give away one copy internationally. The rules are always the same: just enter the rafflecopter below, keep your fingers crossed, and even if you don't win, make sure to get a copy some other way because this is not a book you'll want to miss.
Thanks again to Elizabet and as always, thank you, guys, for reading.
(Click on 'Read more' for the Rafflecopter)
(Click on 'Read more' for the Rafflecopter)
a Rafflecopter giveaway