Am I the only author whose tongue sticks to the roof of her mouth when someone asks this perfectly reasonable question?
This happened to me only last night. Someone who had read Wicked Cool wanted to know what happens in the sequel I am writing.
My mind flooded with so many images that I was paralyzed.
“Stuff,” I muttered finally. “Stuff happens. In the book. A bunch of stuff.”
Since the person asking had already read the first book in the series, I couldn’t even rely on the old standby opener, “It’s about a guy/girl who.” They know who it’s about. They want to know what happens.
Um. A bunch of stuff.
So I woke up this morning terrified that my work-in-progress is a mess, an inchoate, gelatinous glob of unrelated incidents, a narrative disaster — all because I couldn’t distinguish the important from the unimportant and verbalize at the drop of a handkerchief what this book is ABOUT.
Ask me later. After it’s done. Right now, there’s no such thing as a secondary character. There’s no such thing as a trivial detail. I don’t know what it’s about; I’m only the author! During the throes of creation whatever sentence I am writing is the most important sentence in the book.
So … what’s it about? “Well, the wind is blowing and his eyes are green.” Right now, to me, writing this particular bit, that’s what the book is about.