Through the Pages {my first novel}

Once upon a time, not too long ago, in fact, a little less than a year ago…

{August 19th, 2017}

“Hey, Annie, remember how you were asking, ‘what will I write next’ the other day?”

I did ask that question, after finishing Jump: The Things I Remind Myself. But when God asks a question like that, I’ve found He tends to have ulterior motives behind it. So I very cautiously said, “yeah, I remember… what about it?”

“Well, I’ve got one for you. Write a book for your mom.”

Cue wide eyes and a heck of a lot of confusion. And a scrambled message to my girl’s group. “I think I’m supposed to write a book for my mom. Help!”

Go figure, they all thought it was a brilliant idea.

“Hey Annie,” came the somewhat amused voice from the upstairs regions of the cosmos. “It’s for her birthday next year, by the way. And it’s about books. The interior will be cream paper, with an artistic book drawing for underneath the chapter headers. The cover will be purple.”

And that is the story of why I had a meltdown from August 19th to August 21st.

This was uncharted territory for me. I was pretty sure it would be a novel, not one of my short stories or a novella or something easy. (I’ve never completed a first draft of a novel, only a lot of partial first drafts.) And I had less than a year. And I needed to keep it a secret from everyone around me. (I’m horrible at keeping exciting things secret.)

{the journey}

The rest of August, September, and October were spent in a weird sort of stasis. I didn’t write a whole lot, at least, not that I remember. I did a lot of thinking. I spent a lot of time with books, and with my mom. And by mid October I had a pretty solid idea of what this story was supposed to look like.

November came around and I used NaNoWriMo as my excuse to pound out a 50k novel in a very short period of time. For the first time, I had a whole, finished, novel. And I couldn’t tell anyone.

Well, not quite true. I told my girl’s group (after making them swear to secrecy). I told Missie. And in June of 2018, I told my pen pal/adopted grandmother/great-aunt about it, because she asked what I was working on, and I was pretty darn sure that she wouldn’t tell anyone. 
The hardest thing this whole time has been keeping it a secret from everyone. Hannah helped; I had to tell her because I was in the middle of a stress-induced panic attack of “I can’t do this!” and needed help getting myself out. I told Jeremy because I conscripted him to receive the packages so my mother wouldn’t suspect anything. I made my cover designer, my editor, my beta readers, and my girl’s group swear themselves to secrecy, and… 
…here we are. 

Here’s one of my favorite quotes from this story:

“That’s the thing, Miranda, you never get over the butterflies if it’s the right person. They just settle down a bit. If it’s the right person, you just go your whole life being all tangled up with the butterflies in your stomach and the love in your heart.” 

Through the Pages
Annie Louise Twitchell

LOOK AT THIS COVER
*all the heart eyes to That Book Gal for this amazing design*
Available at Amazon

Fun Fact: I had the hardest time finding an editor until I was actually ready to see about hiring one. At that point, Facebook hiccuped and showed me a notification for a post from an editing page I’d been following and hadn’t done much looking into. If you’re in the US, I highly recommend Lemons to Lemonade Editing. Not only did she do a wonderful job with my line edits, but she works on paper, meaning I had a marked up paper copy to make my changes from. That was perfect for how my head works and the way I prefer to do things, and made my process of fixing things so much easier.

Fun Fact #2: I’m still a bit giddy that I actually did this thing. I will probably be varying degrees of giddy for the next two months.

Fun Fact #3: I’ve actually been so overwhelmed since I gave the book to my mom on the 5th that I’ve had two or three headaches and gone swimming a lot and written almost nothing. Just this blog post. I’ll get back in my groove eventually. I think.

The Bunny approves. This is important.

~Annie

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