I just received from my editor the manuscript for my second novel. The most common question I get as an author is: What is your book about? This is a vastly different question than what is the plot. However, most people want to hear about the plot before deciding to read the book, rather than asking what the book is about. While a good plot is clearly essential in engaging the reader, the message the book is attempting to convey is the real reason the story is written.
So, what’s my second book about? Transcendence. It’s not a word you hear that often but the literal definition is to step across, or in many contexts, to step across the boundaries of space and time. I figured not many people would want to pick up a book if that is what they thought they were going to read about.
To deal with this, I put the story in the context of baseball. The plot is about a middle aged high school baseball coach who discovers that he can pitch really fast, like over 100 mph fast. Because of a MLB strike and the use of replacement players, he gets his chance to pitch in the Majors. The central conflict arises when he learns that he has a progressive disease that, while allowing him to pitch fast, will likely lead to his death. Should he fulfill his dream and keep pitching or give it up in hope that this will prolong his life?
What does this have to do with transcendence? Hopefully that will be evident as you read the climatic ending.
I’ve got one more round of edits, then it’s off for the final polish.
(Do you like the gift Robin gave me for finishing the draft? I thought it was rather clever.)