But there is an important reason I don’t now indulge What’s it about? Anyone who has ever tried to write a succinct synopsis (try saying or typing that after three pints) or blurb will know how difficult it is. A novel is something that takes over your life; it (ideally) seeps into every waking day. If it ever does leave you for an hour or two, you’re soon scanning frantically as if it were a lost toddler in a shopping centre. It becomes you. It is you. So, someone (implicitly) asking for a one-sentence sound-bite is asking the impossible.
And if they’re foolish enough to hang around for the unabridged version, you soon find yourself telling the entire story…and herein lies the danger. Once told, even verbally, you will lose a fraction of the passion for writing it. The thing that drags you kicking and screaming to your desk when the sun’s out, the cricket’s on, the pub is open, is the frisson, the magic, of telling the story for the first time.
So, apologies in advance to anyone of a future encounter if a What’s it about? is greeted with a facetious word count. It’s nothing personal.