I didn't tell people I was writing a book for the first few weeks.
For one thing, everyone and their dog has this crazy idea they just know will top the NY Times Bestseller List, if they can ever get around to writing it. Or finishing it.
For another, I've watched nearly every episode of The Golden Girls, and have had nightmares that I am Blanche Devereaux in the episode about her novel-writing experience. My ego is too fragile for that type of comparison.
But one of the biggest reasons I kept the book to myself was my complete inability to describe it to people. I dreaded the obligatory question; "What is your book about?", and found it easier to avoid the subject entirely than have to stammer out something like "Well, it's complicated." I'm not fortunate enough to be like J.K Rowling (wizards) or Stephenie Meyer (vampires), who can use a single word to describe their sagas.
Although I don't think it's the solution to all life's conundrums, I've found talking to myself to be extremely helpful in this case. After several lengthy discussions, we- I mean, I have managed to narrow down my plot synopsis to a sentence or two. Also important, I can say it without stammering. I sound smart, and smart is good.
I'm still somewhat hesitant to announce that I've written a novel, and probably will feel unqualified until the book is published. Let's not count our pages before they're printed. However, I'm no longer afraid of the inevitable question.
What is my book about?
I'm glad you asked.