The logical follow-up question that is asked every time I tell someone I am writing a novel.
What are you writing about?
Of course they want more information. I certainly would! The only problem is that up until about three days ago, I didn’t know how to explain it.
Sample answers included:
- “Great question…”
- “It’s kind of hard to explain, but basically it’s…”
Cue run on sentences and blank stares.
(Not sure why I decided a llama would be a good representation of blank stares. Let’s just go with it.)
Eventually, I realized that the reason I had so much trouble explaining it was because I was afraid that if I settled on a synopsis that I loved, then everyone else would hate it. Or think it was a dumb idea. Or criticize it and make me feel like this was all a big mistake.
The irony is that I can’t think of one person who has asked me that question who would ever, even on their worst day, give me such a negative response. The negativity was all just a projection of my fears.
And so, to kick things off in the discussion about the challenges and the joys of writing, I wanted to share my general story idea with all of you. It’s still a work in progress, but I do think it encompasses the direction I’m headed.
I am writing a novel that discusses generational differences in the workplace, specifically for young females. It will showcase the impact that our family, our friends and, most importantly in this case, our co-workers can have on major career and life decisions.
There. I said it.
My approach to answering is broad, I know. But I’d rather not get into the specific details just yet. Trust me, there will be plenty of drama to go around. 😉 I’m about 40,000 words in, more or less because there are certain aspects of the plot that have changed over the weekend.
Yes. That’s another thing. My plot changes. All. The. Time. It’s maddening, but also awesome because I know every change brings me closer to the final idea, the one that I will see through to the end.
But that’s a subject for another post.
Today is about topic. Now that I’ve (finally) answered the question, what are you writing about?, the logical follow-up question that’s next in line is, how did you come up with this idea?
My answer: think about what you know.
The topics of work environment, culture and the dynamic between co-workers are all very near and dear to my heart. Once I recognized the themes and points I wanted to make in the book — based on what I know — it became much easier to create fictional characters who could fulfill these missions for me.
I’m not saying my way is the best way or even that it will work for me every time. In fact, my dream as a writer has always been to be able to create an entire world from my imagination (yes, J.K. Rowling has had a profound influence on me). But since I am still new to the game, and since I want to write the best first draft I can write, going about it this way feels right.
So…what do you think?