If I had a nickel for every time someone asked me what my book is about, I’d have enough money to buy my own personal library, stock it full of canned food and water, and never leave ever again.
I get it, though. It’s somewhat rare to come across someone who is a fiction writer (maybe not “contortionist” rare, but definitely more rare than “accountant” or “teacher”), and no one wants to talk about how many words you’re writing per day or what inspired you to write. No, they want to talk about the idea you’re currently working on. They want the juicy stuff.
The problem with that is, most of the time, I don’t even know what I’m writing. Even though I try to make outlines, my story changes on a minute by minute basis. I keep my outline handy as a backup in case I run into a mad case of writer’s block, but I’m normally able to function without it, meaning my story often veers in unexpected and unplanned directions.
So, running into someone I barely know or rarely see and having them ask what my story is about can be a lot of pressure. As a writer, I feel the need to perform, to prove that I’m a legitimate writer with an actual book I’m working on. However, as an artist (don’t mock me, writing is an art form and I find it inspiring to think of myself as an artist), I also feel a responsibility to make my work genuine and personal, and talking to strangers about the intricacies of my idea feels a little like prostitution—selling my idea for their approval.
However, I think the time has come. I’m far enough in my first draft that, for the foreseeable future, my idea is holding up. So, without going into too much detail, I’d like to share what my book is about. Now, keep in mind, I’m only halfway through my first draft, so I have a lot of writing and editing left to do, and, God willing, an editor will look at it and give me some feedback. Essentially, this is in no way set in stone. In fact, this idea is like a sand castle built right along the water’s edge before a hurricane—it has a snowball’s chance in you-know-where of remaining fully in tact by the time I’m finished. Now that we’re on the same page, here goes.
Elby and Madelyn had been next door neighbors forever, best friends for a year, and ghost hunters for a month when Madelyn went missing. Five years later, Elby refuses to connect with anyone in his life, aside from his sort of friend, Jimmy, preferring surface level relationships and just enough extra curricular activities to keep his parents off his back.
He never dealt with the loss of Madelyn and he hasn’t so much as watched Caspar since her disappearance, so when she returns, seemingly at peace with her abduction, and wanting to resume ghost hunting, Elby is understandably reluctant. However, when a tragic accident threatens to pull his family apart, Elby finds himself drawn to the distraction ghost hunting could provide.
He and Madelyn embark on a ghost-filled adventure where they discover what it means to grow up and grow apart, and are forced to ask, is anyone ever really gone?
(I know it’s cheesy, but trying to make your idea sound interesting, while also not revealing plot is really hard!)
There you have it, the very first description of my book! Typing this made the whole “I’m writing a book” thing feel a bit more real. When you are sitting in your pajamas, alone, scribbling like a crazy person into a journal, you begin to feel like maybe no one but you will ever read what you’re writing. However, this feels more official! Now, when anyone asks me what my book is about, I can direct them to my blog.
Anywho, let me know what you think in the comments! (Unless what you think is mean, and then feel free to keep that trash to yourself.)