I hadn’t heard about this idea before, this way of promoting the project you’re currently working on. Having been tagged, I thought of how I would answer each question even as I read through how Ted handled it.
I was doing fine right until I got to this question;
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Huh, well that… umm, well huh.
Damn, you got me there, pardner.
I didn’t have one. But I think I should.
That question and the “What genre is your book” question have really gotten me to thinking.
What am I writing and who am I writing it for?
Why would I read the book I’m writing? What is it I’m trying to do?
There has to be more to it than just writing, and there is. But those reasons have all been in my gut, not out in so many words.
I’ve been thinking about it for a few days, and if it takes a few days to explain to myself what the hell the point is, this is time well spent. Like, time to go back and re-examine my entire manuscript well spent.
I started out long, long ago writing a world setting and story that I would have wanted to play through as a character in a pen-and-paper RPG. Then I started running other players through it as the GM.
From there, it became a setting full of stories that I would enjoy telling, that I thought would be enjoyable to read.
As a novel on a store shelf, how would I describe it? What, as a potential reader, would I get out of reading the book? When I put it like that, I could finally nail down what I’m trying to do, and why I started this in the first place.
I am writing an adventure.
Such a small word, but that’s the whole of what this is. My love letter to the adventures of my youth.
I read many different genres of fiction these days, but when I was growing up the most beloved stories I ever read were voyages of discovery, adventures into the unknown.
Stories where you didn’t know what lay around the next bend. What could we find if we set out and explore?
The Doc Savage series was one of my absolute favorite series to read. I scoured used books stores for the old pulp paperbacks of those stories, and I devoured every one of them. I was lucky, too, because the decades old paperbacks I read were themselves re-releases of the original pulps from the 1930s.
To this day, the feelings of wonder and excitement I felt at those stories stay with me, and are a large part of what I desire from my reading. Looking back, every other story or series I have loved has had elements of that joy of adventure, of wanting to know the secrets behind the mystery and have it be something more exotic or interesting than our normal, everyday life.
My very favorites are the stories where you journey completely into the unknown.
The adventurer, torch held high as she leaves the boat on the shore, symbol of the last tenuous tie to civilization and the ‘known’, bent on fighting through the wilds into the most remote places on the planet to discover what nobody living has seen before and lived to tell the tale.
In the end, that is the story I want to tell.
I have spend years building a world with layers of history and mystery, and I long to tell a tale that would bring joy to that child of my youth.
Thinking about this has got me locked in to that simple truth. I want to tell an adventure. I want to journey into the unknown.
And how I want to tell it is by writing about the things I love the most, and also the things I hate the most. I don’t want there to be anything in the story I feel ambivalent about, things that are there to move me along to the next part filled with stuff I like.
Maybe, just possibly I’m setting the bar higher than I am capable of.
I don’t care, because I finally really understand who I’m writing for.
I’m not writing for me, and I’m not writing for you, and I’m not fulfilling the cliché of writing a story for my son, although hopefully he will love it when it’s done.
I am writing for the boy that I was, that boy that spent almost every day in the library, looking for a book that would surprise me, delight me, and take me away to worlds of mystery and adventure. I want to write that book that I would have cherished and reread a dozen times.
If I can accomplish that, then fuck it. I succeeded.