I’m not the first the write about this subject, and I certainly won’t be the last. Others have written on it before and probably better. My problem is this: how do I tell people about my book? How do I explain it in such a way that they will want to read it, and at the same time not give away too much. After all, books are written to be read, not explained. (I hear the distant thunder of critics and reviewers ululating in protest).
Take my novel The Heart’s Eternal Desire, for example. If I don’t give away what’s going to happen in the novel, readers are going to assume that the novel is something other than what it is and shun it in droves. However, if I give away some of the elements of the plot, somebody is certain to call them spoilers (a word that may have been coined by Doug Kenney for an article in the April 1971 issue of National Lampoon).
Suppose I mentioned that The Heart’s Eternal Desire concludes with the suggestion that the story the readers thought they were reading was not the actual story and really they were reading something else? Would there be a hue and cry? Would they arrive at my door with tar and feathers?
However I have to say something. (The blank space following those last six words is there intentionally.)
The Heart’s Eternal Desire is adult reading, no doubt of that. There is gay sex and masturbation described in it. However, the sex doesn’t drive the plot. Sex is just what the characters do when they aren’t doing something else.
What does drive the plot?
The Plot: Some unknown and shifting group is trying to kill Seaton French and his lover Dustin Marley. The plotters may be Satanists or evangelical Christians or the American Psychological Association or a group of skateboarders or the local police force—who knows! Nothing makes sense.
Perhaps that’s how I should describe my novel. The big selling point: Nothing in it makes any sense—until the reader gets to the last chapter.
The Driver: Of course, someone might ask why The Heart’s Eternal Desire doesn’t make any sense (until the end), and then I would have to explain about dissociative identity disorder, multiple personalities, paranoia, bizarre fixations, and the horrific consequences of physical, psychological, and sexual child abuse over an extended period—because those are the conditions that drive the plot of this novel.
Now perhaps I have told too much. Or perhaps, I have not told enough.
p.s.: Did I forget to mention the three cats? Too late, so pass the Minibate. (For this postscript to make any sense, you will have to read the book.)