FCE exam Reading Part 5 D

Part 5

You are going to read an extract from a website about a novelist publishing her first book. For questions 31-36 choose the best answer (A, B, C or D) which you think fits best according to the text.

Writing, waiting and wishing 

Hannah Brown adores writing, having just published her fifth novel, she has yet to strike it rich from literature.

By the time Hannah finished the 160,000-word draft of her first novel, she imagined herself travelling the globe to meet adoring fans and juggling offers for the film rights. But then she tried to find a publisher and the bubble burst. One after another, publishers rejected her book. When it was eventually accepted, that wasn’t the end of the battle. She recalls cutting 75,000 dearly beloved, hard-earned words, followed by endless revisions by her editor. And just as she was preparing to chill the champagne for the launch party, another wave of anxiety arose over the title, the cover, the promotion and a publicity blurb that would somehow describe it in 20 words or fewer.

Finally, with the book in front of me to touch and hold, the bubble burst all over again. I’d anticipated an ecstatic feeling, Hannah recollects. But as soon as I opened the cover and started to read it, what leapt out at me but a typing error and I was ready to give it all up for good. One sarcastic reviewer picked it to pieces and I was back to throwing down my pen forever. I decided against indulging in self-pity and soon things started changing.

A bookseller asked me to do a book signing and I was on a high again. The store manager showed me to a little table where people would queue to meet me, the author of the book they were clutching. I sat down and waited. I thumbed through the book and smiled at passersby – because yes, they did pass me by. At last, someone came up to the table. My heart skipped a beat. ‘Where is the new Jamie Oliver cook book, please? Sorry, I don’t work here. But would you like to buy my book?’ I held it up hopefully. They feigned polite interest, then headed purposefully in the direction of the cooking section. Final tally: five books sold and autographed, including one to a friend. But at least the bookshops where you go for signings have your books prominently displayed.

Getting published is an emotional rollercoaster. So why do it? Hardly for the fame and certainly not the fortune. The best part of writing a novel is being tucked away in a room with a good playlist on the stereo and a laptop recording every word you write and rewrite. It’s much more fun than journalism because you don’t have to worry about facts getting in the way of a good story. You can improve on real people, or merge several into one malevolent anti-hero; you can embellish a true story and the characters you create can take over and almost tell the story themselves. Sure, sometimes you have to force yourself to do it. I’ve been known to go to the dentist just to put off the hour when I have to start a new chapter. But once I get going, I don’t want to stop.

There is one other compelling reason to sit in front of the computer for endless hours until your back aches and your brain hurts — and that’s your readers. There is nothing more gratifying than being stopped in the street by someone wanting to tell you how much they enjoyed your book and – asking you about one of the characters in such detail they seem to think it was real. But you rarely get to experience such joy for very long. ‘I loved it so much I lent it to my friend,’ they go on to say. ‘And she lent it to…’ You grind your teeth, counting lost sales as it gets passed from one reader to the next because that’s the next thing to worry about—will it sell?

In the end, it’s not about the money or public recognition. Writing novels isn’t a ticket to a celebrity circuit, which is hardly surprising when you have to spend all your productive time tucked away in your study, writing in anonymous isolation, but it does bring its own rewards. The joy of writing is in the creating of something that has a life of its own and that can give pleasure to others. But just the same, it would be nice to make the top spot on the best-seller list just this once.

31 How did the writer feel about the process of getting her first novel published? 

  1. She resented having to abandon the book and begin another. 
  2. She felt she had been misled about the book’s potential success. 
  3. She had last-minute doubts about the marketing of the book 
  4. She was dismayed that her writing was not as good as she had believed.


32 Which phrase in paragraph two is echoed by ‘throwing down my pen forever’? 

  1. the bubble burst all over again 
  2. what leapt out at me 
  3. to give it all up for good 
  4. decided against indulging in self-pity


33 What are we told about the writer’s experience during the book signing event?

  1. She felt reluctant to attend this promotional event in person. 
  2. She was surprised by the amount of interest shown in her book. 
  3. She was resentful that her book was not clearly on display. 
  4. She tried to remain optimistic despite being ignored. 


34 The writer compares fiction writing to journalism in order to emphasize

  1. the greater amount of public admiration that fiction writers receive. 
  2. the point that fiction allows writers more creative freedom. 
  3. the limitations journalists face when they want to criticize people. 
  4. the effort it requires to make certain news stories appealing to readers. 


35 What point does the writer make about some of her readers in paragraph five? 

  1. They frustrate her when they allow their friends to borrow her books. 
  2. They are harder to please because they are familiar with her previous work. 
  3. They often bother her at inappropriate moments. 
  4. They do not appreciate the effort that is required in writing a novel. 


36 In the last paragraph, the writer draws a comparison between ‘the celebrity circuit’ and

  1. public recognition. 
  2. productive time. 
  3. anonymous isolation. 
  4. the top spot.