Of How Unspoken Words Came into Existence

When I ran a poll on Instagram the other day, a surprising amount of respondents requested for me to post more information about my upcoming book, Unspoken Words.

Some requested for information regarding the characters, some about my outlining process, and the rest were an equal mix between my writing process and publication date. The response, of course, took me by (a pleasant) surprise.

To be honest, I had been mulling over the idea of sharing more about Unspoken Words. And there is a good reason why I haven’t been as active as I wanted to be in sharing information about the book:

I didn’t know how to talk about the book without spoiling everything about it.


Let’s just say, this novel is the most personal one I have penned so far, and writing it had been an emotional roller-coaster to me. Just like when I once wrote my debut novel, 3 (Tiga), finishing the manuscript for Unspoken Words actually left me in a state somewhat similar to being hungover.

I once tweeted a lot about the project, but I started writing Unspoken Words in June 24, 2017. I was clearly out of shape, since I hadn’t written anything close to a novel in length after completing 3 (Tiga) several years ago. And, of course, that doesn’t mean I had not been trying—but my attempts simply didn’t work out.

Until Unspoken Words, that is.

Back then, it had a working title of “Kemuning”, after the main character’s name. I recall deciding to use my Eid a-Fitr holiday to write something—anything. And being the novelist that I am, I decided to try my luck again and drafted an outline from that resolve.

The outline, frankly speaking, didn’t work as I expected. I planned the book to be about friendship, romance, and all those adolescence drama. But I got bored quickly with the premise, and the once really cool idea I poured my heart into, quickly faded into obsolescence.

At first, it got me distraught. This failed experiment happened before the holiday, you see. And failing my experiment certainly didn’t serve me good.

I was almost certain that I would also fail this year, and inevitably wait for another chance to write without interruptions, as long holidays are pretty rare and I couldn’t get distracted with anything (including my day job) when working on a project.

But then something strange happened.

After scrapping the initial plot outline, I suddenly got an idea to shift gears and write a story that isn’t about friendship and romance.

Part of the reason is because, I thought, I had become bored with the theme. And that might actually be true, since I covered both topics quite extensively in 3 (Tiga).

Immediately after starting over with a blank page, I was struck with a series of inspiration. The characters became alive, and I was swept by the story idea. As if I was being possessed, I completed the outline for the book in one sitting, and started writing the book once Eid holiday started.

Like my previous work, this book covers a lot about death, regret, and angst. But unlike my previous work, this book tackles something that—I feel—deeper on a personal level: the bond between mother and child.

This book, unlike any others I have written so far, felt raw.

Of course, writing about a very personal topic like that came with its own challenges. And there were times when I thought I couldn’t continue because I was afraid.

I was afraid that what I wrote couldn’t connect to the readers. The bond between a mother and her children are very, very personal, after all. What I understand might differ from what everyone else understands. What I personally feel about mothers might be different from everyone else.

During those times, the only thing that kept going was the main character of my book: Kemuning.

I see myself in Kemuning, and upon writing her character, I also see everyone in her.

She may not be perfect. She may be full of flaws, regrets, and faults. But she felt real to me. And it was precisely because she felt real to me, that I was able to complete her story in an astonishingly short amount of time.

I started the project on June 24, 2017.

The manuscript was completed on July 2, 2017 afternoon.

Nine days.

Even when I wrote 3 (Tiga) in 14 days, I already felt like it was such a crazy accomplishment. But I managed to complete another book in an even shorter period of time.

And did I feel that sense of accomplishment?

A little bit. But above everything else, I felt relieved.

I was glad I could make it in time.

If I could share the story about Kemuning and her mother to the world, then it was well worth the effort.

And although I fell ill the day after I wrote “The End” on the last page of the manuscript, I don’t regret spending my holiday to write this book.

Not one bit.


I still feel nervous about publishing Unspoken Words for public readings, since it feels so personal and all, but at the same time, I have this strange sensation like I am on the edge of my seat, giddy and looking forward to see how it would be received by the mass.

I look forward to how everyone would react after reading this book.

I look forward to see if everyone also feels the same way about mothers, like I do.

I look forward to see if everyone also see a piece of themselves in Kemuning, and if everyone could relate to her faults and regrets.

Above all, I look forward to see if everyone finds their own stories in this book, like I found my own while writing it.

The book is expected to launch on January 2nd, 2018.

I will be posting some information about giveaways next week, so if you want to get yourself a copy of this book of mine, you could check out any of my social media on the side bar, or just follow this blog to get new updates about it.

Alicia Lidwina, 2017


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