Published by Orchard Books
Publication Date: June 7th 2018
Purchase Links Amazon~ The Book Depository
An emotionally charged story of music, abuse and, ultimately, hope.
Beck hates his life. He hates his violent mother. He hates his home. Most of all, he hates the piano that his mother forces him to play hour after hour, day after day. He will never play as she did before illness ended her career and left her bitter and broken. But Beck is too scared to stand up to his mother, and tell her his true passion, which is composing his own music - because the least suggestion of rebellion on his part ends in violence.
When Beck meets August, a girl full of life, energy and laughter, love begins to awaken within him and he glimpses a way to escape his painful existence. But dare he reach for it?
Nori’s Note: TODAY IS A SUPER SPECIAL AMAZING DAY, BECAUSE I GET TO FEATURE MY #1 BLOGGER GOAL & SOON TO BE PUBLISHED AUTHOR…THE AMAZING C. G. DREWS!!! I have always looked up to her, and am beyond thrilled to have her on my blog!
How I Build A Book
One of the most enchanting thing about the author life is how we all have different ways to build a book. It’s most definitely magical and I cannot be convinced otherwise. You can sit 10 authors down and ask them all: “What’s your writing process?!” And you’ll get 10 different answers. There is no one way to write a book!
But you still want to know how I go about cobbling together a novel, don’t you? Shh, of course you do. There’s lots of magic, hot chocolates, and a few sacrifices — woah typo haha — a few long nights of filling in plot holes with duct tape and glue. Today I want to share the steps I take to put together one of my books! My debut, A Thousand Perfect Notes (coming June 7th!), tumbled to life through this process:
Step 1: I pick my idea to run with. Now this is an equal combination of being punched in the jaw by inspiration and also just me purely picking things I want to write about. When it came to putting together A Thousand Perfect Notes (I’m going to say ATPN from here on because I’m secretly lazy), I knew that I (a) wanted to write a contemporary, and (b) wanted to centre it around music since I’m a pianist! Then mix in a few tablespoons of inspiration and research from classical composers’ lives and = voila! I have an idea to chase.
Step 2: This is where I develop the idea into a full-fledged novel, aka, OUTLINE TIME. I personally am a huge fan of outlines. I don’t like winging it because I love direction and goals. My outlines end up around 20,000-words long and are basically a Draft #0 by themselves. Sometimes my outlines pretend they are books and cry when I tell them no, they are a mess. A hot mess though. I still love them. My outlines also contain WAY too many inside jokes, self-depreciating comments to myself, and at least 4 plot points my characters will DEFINITELY ignore even though I told them not to.
Step 3: Outline is DONE! It typically takes me anywhere from 1 week to 6 months to hammer out the idea and then 1 week to actually write the outline. (This varies of course. I’ve developed, outlined, and written a book in 2 weeks before! But one I’m currently working on has been stewing for 2 years.) Basically step #3 is just me eating ice cream and procrastinating the actual novel-writing part. True professional here.
Step 4: I’m a speed-writer so I prefer to get that first draft done in record time and then spend longer in the rewrites and edits. I clear my schedule completely (yes freezer meals and I inform my family I am dead to them for the next few days) and spend 8 hours a day writing. There are breaks for very important things like (a) snacks, and (b) naps, and (c) exercise! I know, I know. Writers are supposedly mythological creatures that never exit their caves in the daylight. (It’s only paaaartly true.) But I find my brain works a lot better if I think through a scene before I write it —> so I go through that scene mentally while walking or going on a run!
Step 5: I’ll take anywhere from 3 – 5 days to finish that 1st draft, aiming for 30,000-words per day. (Super unusual but it works for me!)
Step 6: Mostly this is the part where I eat more ice cream and look at the mess I created. My 1st drafts are NOT pretty. But they have potential and I still love them. My books are anywhere between 50,000 – 120,000 words in that 1st draft. ATPN was a tiny tiny baby at 50,000 when it began. It cried a lot and I cried with it.
Step 7: I generally leave my drafts to mature quietly in a dark drawer for a while…usually 6 months. Hopefully it’ll edit itself.
Step 8: Spoiler: it did NOT edit itself. (Rude.)
Step 9: Rewrites! Editing! This is a slower process and can take months and I’m pretty sure I gnash my teeth and set my hair on fire at least daily throughout. I actually rewrite the ENTIRE book. Every word! (Fun fact: The terrifying Maestro didn’t even exist in the first draft of ATPN…what was going on instead? Ah hahaha…I have no idea either.)
Step 10: This is when I submit it to my agent and wait for feedback. And by “wait” I mean I take up a new hobby to distract myself like skydiving or brick wall eating. (JUST KIDDING…I wait patiently by writing another book.) When I get my edit notes back, it’s time for more rewriting and tweaking. A lot more ice cream. I also print my edit notes and put them on the wall, covered in sticky notes and highlighters. There may be tears but shhh. I can do this.
Step 11: I have a finished little book! It’ll go back and forth between my agent and I a few more times to fix things. I always find way more typos than should be legal. But we have a book! For ATPN the finished draft was 52,000 words! Then it went on submission and sold to Orchard, Hachette Children’s UK in 2016. In a (non)surprising state of affairs here come MORE edits and then finally finally it’s an official printed book which you’ll also get to hold in your hands on June 7th.
Step 12: Imagine me screaming softly in the background because this is an absolute dream come true!
So that’s a little about my process. I’m a big believer in always finding the writing journey that works for YOU but I’m at least 67% sure it should always involve some soft keening under the blood moon while perched upon a mountain eating magical desserts. This is how books are made.
Thanks so much for having me on your blog, Nori!
*~~About the Author~~*
Don’t forget to come back tomorrow to check out another enchantingly epic #EE18ers post! 😉