I think that this is an appropriate first post on my blog, simply because it’ll allow me to tell you a little more about myself. And it’s even more appropriate because, as Fate would have it, someone asked me this question today.
I don’t think I’m alone in this: whenever someone asks me “What’s your book about,” I have no idea what to say. It’s not like I don’t know what my story is about; it’s just that, there’s so much in there, how do you know what to pick out as important? And how do you not give away any spoilers??
In my opinion, asking this question is essentially asking “Who are you” (beyond the name, of course). People are complex creatures, each with their own story to tell. How do you explain someone in a mere few sentences? And anyway, for people like me, whose life is stripped away and replaced by the drive to create this book (which is by no means a bad thing), the answer for both questions can be one and the same:
I am my book, and my book is me.
Of course I’m not always working on my book. I do have college work to do. I do sleep, and eat, and read, and I probably watch way too much Netflix. But my book is almost always on my mind. I’ll be in class, listening to a lecture, when a teacher says something that makes me realize something about my book – whether it’s a fact or a question that I’m going to have to answer. Or, I’ll be walking somewhere and my mind will drift, and I’ll think, Hmm… I wonder. Basically, any time my mind has a moment to wander, it is, and it’s wandering through the vast amounts of information that’s related to my novel.
And then, of course, there’s the book itself. I’m a fantasy writer, so naturally the book isn’t focused on my life. It probably wouldn’t be even if I wrote realistic fiction. But of course, when you’re writing a book, you can’t help but show the reader how you see the world. No matter how good the writer is at making their reader get lost in the story (and therefore forgetting that it was actually written by another human being with their own experiences and morals, et cetera), there’s always that bit… that kernal… that shows who the author is. And in some books, that kernel is more prevalent than others.
So what is my book about? Well, it’s the first in a series (well, chronicles), and it’s got shape-changing human/wolves that we call dire wolves. We (my writing partner and I) have an entire culture surrounding them, so that’s pretty sweet. It’s got some dragons, too, and Fay (which, if you’ve never heard of before, they’re basically elves). And the first book is about a human who hates dire wolves, and then one saves his life and he has to re-adjust how he views the world. Naturally, it’s ten times more exciting (or, at least I hope it is), but that’s the gist.
For NaNoWriMo, I’m writing the second in the series, which is about the same two characters, but they’re now journeying through the land that my book is set in, trying to stop the human/dire wolf violence as peacefully as they can. Naturally, it’s not as easy as all that.
So, have you ever had to deal with this dreaded question? How do you know what to say?