By Amanda Gibbs
Genre: Contemporary Romance, New Adult Romance, Poetry
Making It, Amanda Gibbs' debut short story, invites readers into the most intimate and personal moments of a couple's life spanning throughout decades. The story is told through prose, poetry, dialogue, lists, and focused vignettes, all with Amanda's signature concrete voice. Each entry of Making It represents a day in a year of the couple's relationship, spanning from first meeting to 30th anniversary.
Amanda Gibbs is an eighteen-year-old student, photographer and actress from Toronto, Canada. Writing since preschool with Crayola crayons, Amanda’s passion is writing stories that make the mundane beautiful, and the little moments in life profound. Inspired by writers like Michael Faudet, Jamie McGuire, and Walt Whitman, Amanda loves experimenting with form, dialogue, and combining poetry and prose. In her spare time, Amanda trains in mixed martial arts and takes care of her six dogs, as well as procrastinating schoolwork to write her next book.
Author website: www.amandagibbs.com
Author Facebook: www.facebook.com/authoramandagibbs
Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13798681.Amanda_Gibbs
Author Twitter: https://twitter.com/mandaellengibbs
Author Amazon: http://amzn.to/1BpHth6
“How am I supposed to know when to say I love you?”
She passed him the tomato plant to put on the apartment balcony. It was the first thing they had ever owned together.
“When to say I love you, or when you know you love someone?”
He reached over to rub the dirt smear off her cheek. He licked his finger first to make sure he got it all. She didn’t think twice of it.
She stopped planting for a moment to look out at the industrial view facing her. Hotels, factories, more apartments. A couple was having sex against the window across the street. She didn’t look away as she said it.
“I think you know you love someone when you do things for them when it’s inconvenient for you. I think you say I love you when they do too.”
-A week before the tomato plant died
The first time he said it, they were assembling an ikea baby crib for his sister’s newborn. He was kneeling on the ground reading her instructions while she lay partway under the crib, screwdriver in hand to do the hard bits. She didn’t even hear him the first time. She wore his old painting t-shirt and a pair of Roots sweatpants, and he had just yelled at her a half hour before for spending too much money on Wendy’s.
“I love you.”
She reached her hand out to pat his knee affectionately.
“No, babe, it’s fine, you didn’t shove me at all.”
She had the screwdriver in her mouth so she could use both hands to piece the thing together, making it difficult for him to understand much of what she said either. He did one of those nervous laughs reserved for 10th graders about to give a presentation on the reproductive organs, but, to his credit, he said it again quite factually and even toned, especially for a man who had only ever previously said “I love you” to his mother and goldfish.
“I love you.”
She dropped the screwdriver. On her face.
“What did you just say?” It barely came out as a whisper.
“I love you.”
The first time she said “I love you” was 13 weeks after he did. He was sleeping, she was propped up on her elbow staring at him, as she had been for the past three hours trying to garner the confidence to spit out the three words. It was his snore that did it. He did this thing where he simultaneously exhaled and inhaled, while making a spitting noise which included an elephantine snore. She started giggling uncontrollably, and didn’t even realize at first when the words popped out.
“I love you.”
It didn’t matter that it would be six more months before she said it to his face, because she said it. It was out there in the universe. And she meant it.
- How she chipped her front tooth from a screwdriver
Her: If you could delete one thing off this Earth, what would it be?
Him: Kim Jong-Un...you?
- mid back rub conversations
“I always get so sad when I see 80 year old couples eating at restaurants, not saying anything the whole time.”
She turned the pepper grinder over his soup exactly three and a half times; he didn’t need to ask.
He poured her wine to the half way mark; she didn’t need to ask.
“Because. They’ve been around each other so long, they have nothing left to say. I never want to be like that.”
He toyed with the stem of his glass for a moment.
“But what if they’re so comfortable around each other, they know each other so well, they don’t always need words to communicate? They’ve gotten to the point where silence is comfortable...then I’d want to be exactly like that.”
They ate the rest of the meal in comfortable silence.
- Tomato Soup and Chardonnay
Where did the idea come from for the book?
The idea for Making It came from a Grade 12 Writer’s Craft class, actually. We had to do a culminating assignment of at least 20 pages of polished writing, on whatever subject we wanted. And, well, I’m a slight overachieving type-A perfectionist, so of course I did quadruple that. I had a fantastic teacher in the course, who taught me so many things about writing. One of those things being the iceberg technique. The iceberg technique is pretty much about giving your reader 10% of the information/dialogue, and letting them interpret the other 90% through subtext, relationship dynamics…basically, giving the reader enough so they can read between the lines. I also at this point in my life, as many seventeen year old girls are, was fascinated by the concept of true love. What was the key to having success in it? They key to finding it and keeping it? I wasn’t sure. So combining these things, I decided to write a dialogue heavy short story exploring the dynamics of a couple in a “true love” relationship. I intentionally left out names, character descriptions, and physical attributes so that the reader could project their own emotions and experiences into the book. With all of that in mind, Making It was born.
What genre does your book fall under?
I think instinctively people would categorize Making It into a Romance novel based on the synopsis, but I’d (probably selfishly) like to think it’s a little more than a Harlequin beach read. I’d like to think Making It is a human exploration book, if that makes any sense. My goal in Making It was to explore the dynamics between two people, and follow them along from first meeting until marriage, and every moment in between. I tried to show that it’s often the most mundane moments in a relationship (coffee over breakfast, eating dinner in silence, putting a baby crib together etc.) that are the most meaningful. Hopefully, readers take away from Making It that it’s not about the roses, or the diamonds, it’s about relating to another human being on a real level, and loving them for it.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
“Making It, a love story that lasts.”
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Well, I’m an insomniac that is much more productive at night, and also hand writes EVERYTHING before I type it, so I would say it took me a month to hand write the first draft onto a million random pieces of paper and napkins. All the editing and revising took much, much longer…but that first sigh of relief and pride came after a month.
What did you learn about yourself while writing this book?
Whew, another tough one. I would say I learned that…I’m more of a romantic than I thought. Before I wrote Making It, I was completely anti-marriage, anti kids, the whole shebang. Through my research for the book, which was almost fully people watching, I found myself starting to admire what I was watching, whether it was my grandparents eating dinner together, or my Dad and Stepmom laughing over a board-game. It started looking more and more appealing to me. I learned that real love didn’t have to include extravagant gifts and public declarations, which I’ve never been a fan of…but real love is made of the quiet moments shared between two people. I would say, through writing Making It, I learned to be more open to the idea of love, and I’m forever grateful to the process for that.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Who or What inspired you to write this book?
“Who” would be my Writer’s Craft teacher. He’s shown me that I’m capable of writing something for other people to see, and I’m so thankful for that. He edited my first piece of writing I ever showed to anyone, and hopefully he’ll edit my last. “What” would be…love. Sounds corny, but I really tried to write an accurate portrayal of it, because I don’t think there’s enough of that out there. We need more happily ever after’s with a bowl of Dorito’s and a foot rub on the couch, and less riding away into the sunset on a horse drawn carriage.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
It’s funny! And I love that about Making It. I think it also appeals to guys as much as it does girls, based on the reactions I’ve received. Because it’s genuine, it’s geared to a wider audience, and I’m also really proud of that. There’s a lot of my real life in there also, from picking up guys at bars, to asking questions about when to say “I love you”…so that may appeal to some nosy people out there also. ;)