“So, what’s your book about?”
It’s a question that every writer gets asked – and one that every writer should be able to answer with a single sentence. If you’re unable to do that, it could be a sign that you’re not sure what your story is about. And if you don’t know, chances are a reader won’t be able to figure it out either.
The act of writing is about discovery. For most of us, the piecing together of a story (literally word by word) can seem fragmented at first. Directionless. Dozens of questions pop up. Why am I telling this story? Why have I created these secondary characters? Why am I sending my protagonist to a cabin in the woods? What the hell does any of this mean???
All of these questions are natural – in the beginning. But as you move deeper into the story, your writing should start gaining clarity. Your creative compass should be pointing towards a very specific direction. When you understand where your story is going, you gain confidence. And when you’re confident, readers are more likely to believe in the fictional world you’ve created.
Even if no one’s asked you, try summing up your story in a single sentence. Make that sentence as exciting and as tension-filled as possible. (Shouldn’t be too hard – you’re a writer, after all.) Then remind yourself of that sentence when you sit down to write. It’ll help navigate you. Having said that, always maintain some flexibility. Stories seldom end up the way they start. But that’s also what makes the writing process so magical.