April 2nd, 2010

fly, look up

Poetry Friday: Life by William Drummond

This Life, which seems so fair,
Is like a bubble blown up in the air
By sporting children's breath,
Who chase it everywhere
And strive who can most motion it bequeath.
And though it sometimes seem of its own might
Like to an eye of gold to be fix'd there,
And firm to hover in that empty height,
That only is because it is so light.
-But in that pomp it doth not long appear;
For when 'tis most admired, in a thought,
Because it erst was nought, it turns to nought.

- Life by William Drummond

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Lilly Kane, confident

Interview: Lauren Oliver

Lauren Oliver's debut novel, Before I Fall, impressed me greatly. It incorporated many of my favorite storytelling elements, most prominently a time loop. Despite that sci-fi element, the book and its protagonist feel decidedly realistic, layered and deep.

But I'll save the rest of the praise for the actual book review. Here with me today is the author of Before I Fall, Lauren Oliver, who was kind enough to answer my questions between trips on her whirlwind signing tour.

How long did it take you to write Before I Fall?

The longest part of the process was actually the outlining phase. I had never worked from an outline before, but given what a continuity nightmare I knew the book would be -- certain things must occur at certain times, etc -- I knew I would be totally lost if I didn't plot the book comprehensively before I dug in and began to write. The outline took 3-4 months; the writing actually only took another six months or so.

I'm greatly impressed that you wrote a book that's nearly 500 pages in length in less than a year. Kudos! How much of the first draft is included in the final version, and how much was deleted or added during the revision process?

I was very lucky with Before I Fall. Due in part to the intensity of the outlining process, my first draft was really pretty solid, and I had very few edits to do. I’m sure that this is the first and last book I will ever write that does not get substantially edited, though -- call it Beginner's Luck!

Did you write the book in chronological order, or did you write certain scenes or events, then go back and fill in the blanks?

Well, I actually wrote the prologue and epilogue first. They mirror each other, but with significant differences; the Sam who starts the book is a very different girl than the one who finishes it. The rest of the book I wrote linearly, trying to bridge those two chapters.

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Visit Lauren Oliver's website and blog.