What is your book about?

I used to hate this question. I would say “well it’s about growing up in a zoo. My parents were zookeepers and now I keep pets. How do I justify keeping pets when I grew up in a zoo?” [please note that this example was made up on the spot and is not actually what my Fucker is about]. “It’s about how my adult life has always taken me near zoos and how do I figure all that out?”

This is neither coherent nor compelling. For a while I had a great elevator speech, but I realized that the blurb was not really what my book was about. It was about what I wanted the book to be about, but it wasn’t really where I was going. Nuts.

I am now on official third draft (unoffical sixth draft). Now is the time to figure out the arc, the question, what the fuck my book is about. Otherwise I’ll never know what order to put all those words in.

This might be an ass-backward way to write. But I didn’t know where it was going, I just knew in the beginning that I had some really good stories that people said that I wrote about really well. And so I wrote to figure out what I thought, as I always do. It’s taken me 2 (5) drafts to be at a place where I can even begin to think about what is on the page.

How do you figure out what you are writing?

7 responses to “What is your book about?

  1. Stop asking questions I don’t know how to answer, indy . . .

    The best answer to this question I’ve ever heard came from a guy in my writing group. He said (and I misquote): “I write the book until I come to the final chapter, create a fantastic ending that works perfectly for the story I thought I was writing, look back at what I’ve actually written and say, “Oh, shit.”

  2. I write what I want to read and figure I might as well enjoy what I’m writing because nobody else will give a shit about it anyway. At least I like the damn thing, That’s something isn’t it? Don’t answer.

  3. Hmmm…you know, I don’t know that I do know what the book is about precisely. I’m hoping that instead of a flaw, it’s more like when I love a book and can’t really explain it but instead say, “You must read this.” Alas, I don’t know that’s the case.

    To answer it more specifically, I can say that I don’t know what I’m writing about until I go along. I’d like to change that this time around and have a definitive outline, but it may just be the way I roll. I think that way too. I’m certain about what I know and as I’m talking to someone my opinion could totally change. For people who don’t know me, it can come across as flip-floppy, but actually it’s because I do my thinking by bouncing ideas around outside of my head. Problematic when it comes to writing alone because then I have to write to see what I have written.

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