Here’s my problem (well, one of them). All of these are truthful and accurate answers to the what’s-your-novel-about question:
1. “Well, it’s about this woman named Hillary who turns 40, gets a 25-year-old girlfriend, and buys a fast car.”*
2. “It’s about this couple, Hillary and Collin, whose marriage falls apart sort of inexplicably and they have to try to figure out to move on.”
3. “It’s about how sexuality is fluid. Whether you’re gay or straight or bisexual, you just go with the flow.” (Thanks, Shane.)
4. “It’s about Collin and Hillary and Ava and why can’t we all just get along?”
5. “It’s about this lawyer named Hillary who is a bad driver, cries when she sees Billy Joel in concert, has panic attacks, and is generally a mess. Oh, and she and her ex-husband are embroiled in a bitter custody battle over their cat.”
I like talking about Fluid. In fact, I am worried that I’m becoming obsessed with talking about it. Ask Bethany, whom I called basically in the middle of a conversation I was having with myself about whether or not telling the novel from Hillary’s perspective does a disservice to the story. But I am starting to dread people asking me what it’s about. It’s easier to talk to people, like Bethany, who are familiar already with Hillary and her drama. I want there to be a one-sentence statement that describes the thing, but of course I do not want to write a novel that can be described in one sentence, right? So there’s the problem.
*This is my personal favorite and the one I shall use from here on out.