Sometimes, I forget. I forget that people are actually reading what I have to say on here.
I’m not stupid. I know that by posting my writing online, it’s open for anyone and everyone to read, analyze, judge, whatever. That’s why I started a blog—I want to get my words out there. I don’t want to keep them bottled up inside or only show them off to my best friend and sister. That’s not how I’m going to become a writer.
But Jaded? The characters. The places. The dialogue. I created all of it. It’s personal. It’s bits and pieces of me—scrambled up, spun around and weaved into a story. It’s my voice and I’m finally getting brave enough to let others hear it (read the first chapter).
With that said, it still surprises me when someone asks me about it. When someone—around whom I’ve never even mentioned a whisper of Jaded to—tells me they’ve heard I’ve written a book and follows up with the predictable question, “So, what’s it about?” I end up just staring at them. Sort of like this:
Sorry, I couldn’t resist. The fact that someone actually approved this image for a book cover cracks me up. And yes, the fact that Levi Johnston got a book deal cracks away a little bit at my spirit.
But back to that little question. My first thought? How the Hell did you know I’ve written a novel, you crazy stalker person?! I have to remind myself that it’s sort of public knowledge since I posted it on a PUBLIC blog. Online. Where anyone and everyone can see it. Once I pass that little hurdle (yes, I’m still staring at them at this point), I kind-of-sort-of start to freak out.
My inner monologue sounds a little like this:
Did they read my first chapter? Did they just see it while browsing my Facebook and not actually read anything about it? Maybe they saw me post something about it on Twitter. Maybe they talked to someone who read my first chapter and OHMIGOD what if they read it and hated it? What if it’s horrible? OHMIGOD it’s horrible, isn’t it? What if they read it and laughed at it and OHMIGOD are they laughing at me on the inside right now? They’re totally laughing. Are they judging me? They’re totally judging me. Look at them, all looking at me with their judgy eyes like I’m a crazy person.
Then I realize they’re only staring at me because they’re waiting for me to answer that easy, simple, little, tiny question I completely forgot they just asked me, hence why I’m staring at them, open-mouthed like Levi Johnston, aka I do look like a crazy person. It doesn’t occur to me that, maybe, they’re actually interested. Then I start fumbling and stuttering (straight up like Len Levy from the Jessica Darling series).
“Well, see, it’s, um, about this girl, um, Jade Henry, and, um, she, um…” OHMIGOD what the Hell is my book about?
I have no idea why I have such a difficult time telling other people what Jaded is about. I’ve lived and breathed this novel for so long, I could recite whole conversations from every single chapter. Except, when someone asks me to describe it to them, I’m fairly certain they don’t want a 10 to 15 minute schpill about all my characters and their feelings and blah, blah, blah. They want a quick summary—like what one would see on the flap of a book jacket. The problem is, I have trouble condensing my 122,000 word novel down to only a few sentences. Am I the only writer with this problem? Am I the only one that freezes and can’t—for the life of me—figure out how to condense my novel into words that capture the essence of my characters and their story?
I’m going to start querying agents in a couple months and I have no clue how I’m going to grab their attention and get them interested in Jaded in a short email. I’ve bought some books to help me, bookmarked way too many sites online about it, but seriously, if anyone has any suggestions, please let me know.
In the meantime, if you ask me what my book’s about, please just nod and smile if I turn into a stuttering mess. I’m practicing. I’ll get better. Bear with me.
– lindsey archer