Twice in the last week I have come across movies where the protagonists are writers, and in the case of the movie last night, she out and out declared herself a novelist. I almost found myself looking over my shoulder at that point, to see if anyone was going to come and point their finger at me and say, “What about you?” Especially because in the first movie, the friends of the writer were giving her a hard time for busying herself with book reviews and work when she should be ‘writing her novel.’ And then they encouraged her to take a holiday so she could ‘get back to writing her book.’ Pressure much? Because the problem with admitting you are a writer is it opens you up to the inevitable question — what are you writing? And worse, if I dared to admit out loud the more specific “I am a novelist,” the inevitable question would be —what’s your book about?
These are tough questions I ask myself every day. And admitting you are a writer is like admitting you are on a diet, people expect to see results.
I finally have a query letter done for potential publishers/agents for my first novel. It took about five months to write the novel and two years to write the query letter. It was the one small paragraph, three or four sentences, to sum up and sell my 60,000 words that was so difficult. I think I have managed to answer ‘what is your book about’ for my first book, a perfect mix of plot and theme in about 125 words or less. So going back over my outline and chapter summaries for my current novel should help me answer that question for my second book. And hopefully that will propel me to my next post which I hope to be — I’m working on my novel again.