The Easy Part

Write some chapters of a novel, hey, write the whole entire novel; that’s the easy part. Much harder is writing about the novel.

Ever know a writer who couldn’t write a synopsis? Say she could write hundreds of pages, and has before, that she could write the words but not talk about the words she’s written. If asked the dreaded, “So what is your novel about?” she might distract you by saying you spilled food on your shirt, or demand, “What’s your novel about?” And then turn tail and run.

It’s not that her novel is about nothing. She’s not that meta. It’s not that her novel is so ethereal and philosophical it needs hours to get to the core of it and even then you might need to know Heidegger to grasp it. Not even close. Her novel is about things; there are people in it, they do stuff. She just cannot tell you what that is or who they are or why. Not even under threat of force-fed chicken.*

Hi. I’m Nova. I’m a fiction writer, but I can’t write a synopsis to save my life. I’m trying it again, going back for more. I will do it this time. I will.

This may sound like no big deal, but authors have to talk about the books they’ve written, you know. I am not making this up. People expect you to tell them about your novel and then they’ll decide if they want to read it! Horrors! Have you heard of elevator pitches? Can you imagine me, in an elevator, trying to talk actual words out loud about any of my manuscripts?

If you ever step onto an elevator and find me collapsed in the corner hyperventilating, you’ll know why.

Surely I’m exaggerating. Then again, I just spent all this time writing about why I can’t write about what I’m writing. It’s my great talent. Wish me luck at revising that synopsis. Or better yet, come by and write it for me. I’ll buy you dinner.

* I’m a vegetarian, obvs. But you know you lead a charmed life when the most horrific thing you can imagine is being force-fed chicken.

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