I spent the day hanging out with a friend and we had a few hours of time to kill in the car, so she asked me to tell her what my novel was about. You’d think after three drafts and countless hours spent writing, reading, and thinking about the novel that this would be a pretty easy question to answer. (Especially since my thoughts have started to turn toward querying the darned thing.)
Unfortunately, it’s not.
I have the milieu aspect – the society in which the whole tale is set. In this book that setting matters and it drove the way I structured the book. It’s the reason the character who starts the book starts it and the reason he ends it.
But it’s not a story about a society. It’s a story about people. There are three main characters, each with his own personal struggle. There are at least three secondary characters with a strong enough story to matter to the overall novel. There are even a few tertiary characters with fairly strong stories.
Each of these stories matter, but they don’t fit neatly into a one or two paragraph description. When I had to write the two page synopsis a couple months ago that was kind of fun (and I just focused on the three main characters), but now I’m thinking in terms of query letters and cover blurbs and I’m stuck.
I’m thinking I may wait for my betas to read the novel and then ask them what they thought it was about. It may be cheating, but it’ll let me know what they took away from it. Did they focus on the society underlying the stories? Did they see a pattern in the stories of the three main characters?
Maybe they’ll see some theme in the writing I didn’t even know was there?
Let’s hope so…
Or let’s hope my brain finally figures out what it was trying to do and throws an answer my way by the time my betas get back to me. Because if I can’t find a way to summarize the novel in a catchy paragraph or two, it may never get off the ground.
And let’s not even go into the “is it a young adult novel” question my friend asked. Maybe? Maybe not? (This is the drawback to writing the story you want to write and not paying attention to genre lines or categories. It gets a little messy after the fact. I think the novel is stronger for it, but now I have to put the sales hat on and the salesperson in my head is none too pleased with the artiste in my head.)
Good news (because I’ll take any I get) is that I had my tarot cards read today and the woman told me that I could make money at this writing thing, that what I’ve done so far is better than I think it is, and that I still need to sort all the logistics to make it work. Probably a crock of shit, but I’ll take it.