What’s Your Book About?

Over the holidays, I got to hone the verbal pitch for my novel in response to the question:
“So, what’s your book about?”

It seems like such an easy question to answer. That is, until the words start gurgling out as though spoken by some other mouth that has no clue what it’s babbling. While I do not have my response boiled down to a succint attention-grabbing answer, this simple question from family and friends has helped me hone it. As I continue to refine my response, I at least have a rough draft of the actual pitch set down in writing.

Capritare looks down at the blood streaming from his wound. He never should have played the game. His hooves are swift but they are no match for the others sporting horns & antlers. He can’t afford an injury. Time is running out.

The Ogen demand his decision. Which of the three deities will he vow to? Each possesses traits Capritare would like to call his own: strength, healing, magic. He wants them all but can only choose one. So, he sets out on a journey to discover which he desires most.

His quest intersects with that of others faced with the same decision. Their journeys into the dark of Thick and the waters of Deep take them closer to learning the true essence of the Ogen. Along the way, Capritare discovers a rare Ranthanalle. What’s is its purpose? Can it help him unlock the answer he is searching for?

The seven cycles he has been given are racing to an end. A decision must be made. If he will not choose between the three Ogen, then he will end up with the only other option– annihilation. But Capritare has learned too much about himself and the deities to let that happen.

CAPRITARE is a young adult fantasy set in a rich world teeming with ever-changing life and adventure at every turn.

While the written pitch is farther along than the verbal “elevator-pitch”, I am quite aware that they both need work. The more my loved ones ask me about it–the more I realize that I need to prepare for the time when I’ll be asked by someone who doesn’t really know nor care about me personally. So, I’m allowing these gentle stumblings to prepare me for the future ones that could mean the difference between getting published or not.

At this point, I have gotten strong responses by replying with a question of my own:
“If given the choice: would you choose to sprout a rack of antlers, a full set of magnificent wings, or have rows of glowing jewels embellishing your body?”

This question gets the listener thinking–personalizing–and transitions perfectly into my explanation of the major themes of sexual identity, self-discovery & personal growth within the book. I have used this method a few times now & found that the initial question engages the listener to the point of wanting to know more. For now, that is my verbal opener. And, so far, it has garnered the most interest in & dialogue about my book.

“If it aint broke….”

A New Year, A New Set of Eyes

Editing. The act of writing is actually nothing more than that. What ideas do I want to include? What details are needed? Which ones should I leave out? What’s the best way to word this passage?

After that initial sweep is laid down as actual words-on-page, there is another round of editing. Tighten the prose. Make sure it flows well. Incorporate smooth transitions & segues between ideas. Ditch any text that doesn’t add to the whole. Declutter.

But, my own eyes can only go so far in the process. I, like all writers, am too close to the story. So, after the first couple rounds of refinement, it is good for me to look away and let another set of eyes see what they can see.

I currently have two such sets of eyes making a go of it. One belongs to my best friend & confidant, Micah. He is not a writer himself but has had a lifelong love of reading & is currently blazing up Amazon Kindle with new finds. The other set belongs to a good friend who also happens to be amazingly adept at turning a phrase. Jason & I supported one another through the grueling task of NaNoWriMo. We both ended up with distinctly different novels and are now swapping for some much needed critique & feedback. Here is a portion of a texting conversion we had yesterday [texting typos, shorthand and all].

Jason: I cant wait till im done giving manbirth to this thing so i can send it off

Me: Hurts doesnt it? But, man, does it want to get out!

Jason: Im pushing! i just want to get my first feedback of the completed work

Me: Yeah, i still need that. Micah is perusing it. he’s given minor feedback but not the the gut-wrenching kind i think it needs.

Jason: Can u email it to me? i can start digging in an hour or so in the evenings. im slow but careful.

Me: I emailed the first 4 cycles to you

Jason: K…ill print it out and get to reading. I could get you my first 4 chapters???

Me: Send what youve got ready & i’ll critique it with an editor’s eye

Jason: its on its way now…

Me: Yeehaw! ur so brave to put it within reach of my hands. Muahaahaaaa

Jason: 🙂 be gently critical

Me: I will guy. Editorial yet friendly. & 4 mine, u have 2 dumb urself down 2 a young adult reading level, but still be an editor.

Jason: Haha…i doubt that. Ill be critical, but will also be sure to suspend disbelief as to enter into the fabulous world youve created

So, we each took the chance. With swapped novels in one another’s hands, we have exposed them to scrutinizing eyes which do not possess the same love, commitment, blood, sweat & tears as their authors. It’s done now. We each are letting the other babysit for a few days. And we gave one another permission to nurture & punish as needed. I’m going to love on Jason’s man-baby and see if I can help it grow a little faster. And I’m hoping my baby returns to me stronger, more mature & potty-trained.