This holiday weekend, I was given the opportunity to gain some perspective on both my life and my novel (AUC). Since this is a blog about writing, I'll not tire you with the details of my life. :-)
I spent a long time preparing to write AUC, which resulted in many characters with conflicts that weave together throughout the story. I like this, because it makes the reader feel like everyone is real and that the main character is not disproportionately interesting, but it does set me up to lose my focus. Add to the mix the fact that AUC was my first full novel and you have a recipe for author-blindness. :-)
Up until this weekend, I've stuttered and stumbled when people ask me what my book is about. It's long and multilayered. How could I sum it up quickly without going into a whole spiel? I wished for ages that I could come up with something clever to match taglines like "A girl falls in love with a vampire" or "A boy goes off to a boarding school that teaches magic" or "Four kids fall through a wardrobe into another world"
And this weekend, I've finally found my focus. It should seem obvious, that the main character's main conflict should be my focus, but with everything else going on, I seemed to lose myself. When my grandmother was talking with me about the various story ideas I have, I told her AUC was really about a girl who gains confidence and finds herself - a sort of coming of age story. The second those words left my lips, I felt the figurative light-bulb turn on. Oh! Right! Why was that so hard before?
So today I was perusing Lady Glamis's blogs and saw that she'd been tasked to write a summary sentence for her novel (15 words or less) and I decided to try writing one for mine. This is what I came up with:
"An unconfident teenage girl discovers her true potential while on an adventure of world changing proportions."
Does that appeal to you? I know it's vague, but what can you do in 15 words? I even cheated and used 16! Have any of you found it difficult to summarize your book for curious people? Ever written a snippet summary?
Anyway, I'm happy. Now when I go back through for Draft 3, I'll know how to focus the book so the reader isn't as disoriented as I was...