Tell me what your novel is about in one sentence. I don’t mean an elevator pitch intended to sell the manuscript in thirty seconds or less. What is your deepest connection to the story? Why are you writing the blasted tome anyway? When we discussed this at the Whole Novel Workshop, Stephen Roxburgh suggested considering concepts like redemption, salvation, forgiveness or recovery.
Here are the core stories for my many trunk novels and works in progress.*
A boy rediscovers friendship.
A girl acquires courage.
Two brothers learn to love each other.
A girl rescues her grandfather.
My statements are general enough that they could describer many novels, but they state the underlying concept that the reader is supposed to identify with and remember. They also remind me why I started the project in the first place.
*I have another WIP that my family and critique group have encouraged me to focus on. To be truthful, I don’t yet know the characters or the plot well enough to state its core story. I can’t write that novel until I figure out what it is about.