Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Five Years in the Making: A Writer's Journey to Publication

It's been five years in the making. Five years of writing. Five years of editing. Five years of combing through draft after draft and revision after revison to find the right tone, voice, plot structure, pacing, and so on...you get the idea.

It's been five glorious years. And I mean glorious.

Not every writer gets to take their time with their debut. Not every writer starts with their "heart book." For those of you who have written a book from the heart, like me, you know how much of your soul goes into each line, chapter, and revision.

And soon it will all be over. It will be published and out there in the world for you to read, to see, and to know every detail. Then, it will be yours and no longer mine. It will be yours to share, to experience, to critique, and to review (hopefully!).

No matter what you think, I'll still be here, and I'll still be your friend. But, please, be kind. Remember those bits of heart and soul I just mentioned above? Yeah, they're in it, and they're pretty tender. Say whatever you wish, just remember there's a person who lived much of what's between these covers, and then some, and you're not just critiquing an entirely fabricated or made up story.

The first rule of writing is to write what you know, to write the truth, to the best of your ability, as honestly as you can manage. I may not have done so perfectly, and I'm totally fine with taking my lumps for that. Writing this book isn't without its cost. I didn't go through the process without being scathed, triggered, and wounded all over again. I did so by choice, of my own will, in order to get at some harsh truths I hope will empower the reader, to know they are not alone, and to join me in what it's like to live with abuse, and the healing journey of surviving it, despite how much it hurts.


Remember when I said it's been five years in the making?

Yeah, it's also been five years of processing the raw wounds, the soul bruises, and each and every trigger as I have written, rewritten, revised, and edited this novel to its current state. One of the best parts of this whole process is, I didn't have to do it all alone. Many fellow writers have joined with me in this task, and have given of themselves to help me see things I've been too close to the details to step back and view it objectively. If I have not thanked each of you enough, please know that every word, sentence, and so on you've given me has been a gift of your friendship and support that has meant so much to me while on this journey. Had it not been for your support, encouragement, and belief in me to see this through to the end, I might have given up, trunked the manuscript, and moved on with my life. In fact, many times, I thought long and hard about doing exactly that.

Does the world really want to read and experience what I've written?

The Packing House isn't your run-of-the-mill Young Adult contemporary romance story. Boy meets girl. Boy falls in love with girl. Boy spends a decade working up the courage to pursue girl, only to have his heart crushed before it's all said and done. But, I'm getting ahead of myself. Yes, there is a romance within these pages, but it isn't as cut and dry and cute and safe as you might think. There's also a dark stairwell, a living nightmare, a relentless taunting of an unidentified (at first) and unknown (well, those memories were pushed way down there for a reason...) abuser, and when he shows up, will Joel even be ready to face him?

I didn't stop there. After all, there's more to the story than what's on the surface.

I challenged myself to find a way to write Joel's story that lets you in on his secret right from the start, and then, if you choose to do so, bravely join him and walk along with him on his journey as he tries to figure out who's after him, how's he going to face it when all he wants to do is run away from it, and how he messes up along the way. If nothing else, Joel is vulnerable. That pretty much sums up his greatest weakness, and his greatest strength, all rolled together in a boy who doesn't have it all, but dreams about a world where he might actually deserve to be happy and hopeful again.

So, I share this post (after dusting all the cobwebs off this blog) for several reasons:

1. I've been sorely absent for months (Actually, I've been completing final edits, round one, thanks to the patience and fabulous editing skills of my editor, Jessica West).

2. Grad school is hard work, and I need to practice good self-care, and my writing is one of my outlets, thus I wrote a blog post (I hope you know you're so much more than my therapy).

3. I've had a peek at a rough copy of the cover, and *insert gasp and religious epithet* it's stunning and vulnerable, and gorgeous, and textured, and I've only seen a rough up so far! Soon, you will join me in all the gloriousness that is my amazing cover designer, Greg Simanson. Man, do you have mad skills! But all good things come in due time, so you'll have to wait just a bit longer.

4. I'm currently working on second pass edits (I've finished parts 1 and 2, and am working on part 3 now), and will soon deliver final edits to my proof reader, who will hack and slash her way through THE PACKING HOUSE (publishing Fall 2015 from Booktrope) until every sentence is flawless, and the book is fully formatted for publishing. This also means I get to write my acknowledgements (one of my favorite parts!).

5. I'm working on updating my website: www.gdonaldcribbs.com to expand from a one page holder to a fully functioning author website, including clickable things, goodies, and more.

You might be surprised to know I'm going to be posting here with more frequency and giving you all the details of the publication progress along the way. I might (definitely will) host some giveaways, because who doesn't like winning free books and such? To thank you for joining me in this process, I'll reward all of you first. So, exciting things are coming soon.

One of my other frequent places to post all about book news, quotes, inspiration, and lots more is found at my Facebook Author Page (click the link and don't forget to tap that "Like Page" button so you can find your way back later).

Writing is such a privilege, and a gift. I haven't failed to learn from each step along the way, and I expect I'll learn more once I get to share it with all of you. I know you don't take it for granted, and neither will I. I hope you'll share this news with all your friends and loved ones. Keep reading.

Until next time!


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