book jacket / effort / fairy tale / fear / frustration / mistakes / neurotic thinking / novel / publication / rejection / The Blue Jar / wishing / writing

Just Give Me My Poisoned Apple Already

I wouldn’t literally eat a poisoned apple, but metaphorically I think I already have.

The evil queen in disguise is my own psyche, and the apple is seeds of doubt fleshed out with insecurity, neurosis, and fear. Hard to believe anyone takes a bite of that.

How long has it been since an agent asked me to write a book jacket synopsis?

Feels like a hundred years. Unfortunately time hasn’t cleared my head or given me any good ideas. To explore another fairy tale, it’s more like the brambles around my thinking have grown thicker and stronger, and I’m going to need a helluva sword to cut through it all.

In this scenario, I’ve got to be my own prince. Good heavens, what part of my personality is that?

Throwing away an opportunity to get an agent because I can’t get myself to write that book jacket copy is about as dumb and passive as any Disney princess has ever been. I’ve written thousands upon thousands of words, and yet these few feel impossible. I start and start and start, and I get angrier and angrier with myself. Don’t I know better?

Mirror, mirror, on the wall,
who’s the best writer of them all?

The one who writes instead of worries.

What is my novel about?

A girl. And her best friend. One has been hurt and everyone knows. Well, almost everyone. The other has been hurt, but it’s a secret. …

That’s rubbish.

She accepts a ride from her best friend’s brother. She refuses to talk about what happened, but she’ll try anything to forget. …

No, no, no.

Two girls go into the woods at midnight for magic and revenge. …

Well, that’s silly.

Maybe this means my novel should be shut away in a drawer and forgotten.

Do I really want my dream to die because I can’t write one page of explaining my own novel? What is the worst thing that could happen if my writing fails? Well, whatever it is, worse things have happened. Life doesn’t depend on publication. I can keep writing anyway. That’s the main thing.

I look though at published novels and then I look at my own unpublished work… I’m reminded of a professor I had in grad school who said my work lacked a certain…coherence. Now, this was the head of the department who had also called me–in front of an entire class–an idiot, but this professor told me he liked my writing. He said it was original. I had unique ideas. That I looked at things from interesting angles. Honestly, I don’t know what he meant. But he also said that I seemed incapable of putting my work together in a sensible form. That my work suffered from incoherence.

Writing this synopsis/book jacket shouldn’t be this hard.

Now. Where’s my apple?

5 thoughts on “Just Give Me My Poisoned Apple Already

  1. I may be off here, but why not use the first few lines of your novel as a starting point? I know that some dust jackets or back-covers only use the first few lines of the novel anyways. I’m not sure if I’m helping any, but hey, maybe I’ll give you a random “she has no idea what the hell she’s talking about” moment that will spark some idea. 🙂

    • Thanks for the thought. I think the lines from the novel is a good idea, but I don’t think that is what this agent wants. That’s a huge struggle–trying to figure out what a particular agent wants and balancing that with what I want for my story. Well, rejection isn’t the end of the world!

  2. It is extremely difficult to write a mini synopsis. They always sound trite and miss subtly. It is like coming up with a sexy sound bite. You are too close to your own work. That is psychologically crippling.And I agree; you do have quirky and original ideas.

    • Yes! Everything I’ve written for this synopsis sounds trite. Or fake. And no more matter how many times I tell myself it isn’t as hard as I’m making it out to be (and tell myself all sorts of other very good advice), I still can’t move forward with it. I’m really disappointed in my failure on this.

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