Today, I’m preoccupied with two things – tonight’s stand up set and my book proposal. My agent looked over the proposal and she likes it. But, she also keeps saying one thing to me — “make sure it’s research heavy.”
Now, this all comes back to what genre are you writing? It’s something that I hate thinking about, but, at the same time, I realize it’s a necessary evil. It’s akin to saying, “what is your voice” when you write. And that topic alone is enough to drive a writer insane. So, I try to think about voice and genre, as little as possible. However, it’s unavoidable. If you want to write something that is strong, you really need to think about who might read it and why. That’s the genre. I think.
When the book proposal process began, I pitched a topic that deals with “gaybies” to my agent. It was a loose idea and I wanted more help solidifying the concept. She came back with Mary Roach as an example. Mary has written “Stiff” and “Bonk” just to name a few. “Stiff” is about cadavers and what happens to the physical body after you die. “Bonk” is about the history of sex and sex research. Mary is an investigative journalist who adds herself into the investigative equation.
Basically, Mary’s books are what I would call, “investigative non-fiction.”
So, my book will be something along those lines, but my goal is to stick some “memoir” in there too. In other words, I want it to include some of what I do on this blog. At the very least, the flavor of what I do on this blog. Maybe my genre is something closer to, “real life experiences injected into investigative non-fiction.” Something like that. I suppose what I’m trying to say is…I don’t think I’ll ever get as investigative as Mary because what happens to me is, I research my topic and then the most obscure of details stick out. It’s those obscure details that I want to take further because – most of the time – I can mine them for funny.
It’s a hard thing to nail down. I feel like I keep saying to myself, “I want to write like that (like Mary), but filled with more me.” And how the hell do you explain that to anyone? Let alone a publisher?
So, let’s talk the title of this post — AN OVER THOUGHT OUT MAYBE-BABY BOOK FOR GAYS AND THEIR ALLIES. That’s what I’d call the most descriptive tagline for my book. So, there would be the book title and then this tagline underneath. If my book were a movie, let’s say, that would be its one sentence log-line.
It has taken me forever to strip that sentence down to its most basic theme to make sure I stay on track with the book.
Since Sweet Mother has been my space to think out loud, I’m going to break that sentence down even further.
An Over Thought Out — This is my tongue and cheek way of saying, “You really do NOT need to think this much about having a baby or a gayby.” You could just “procure” some sperm somewhere and make it happen or if you’re a straight couple have a drunken night and turn your honeymoon bed into a gymboree. But, the truth is I like to “over think” things especially topics I find interesting. What is comedy if not “over think,” dissection, over analysis, poking apart something and then putting it back in a different way? The “over think” is part my neurosis, part my comedy dragon rearing its head, and part my desire to be Mary Roach-esque seeping my topic in research.
Maybe-Baby Book — Doing the research for my book, I came across something called, “Maybe Baby Classes.” Maybe Baby Classes are something that has been put together (started in the early 80s) by LGBT centers across the country. They are classes for prospective LGBT parents and they try to help you assess your “readiness” for child rearing. The whole book is about me and Wifesy assessing our own personal readiness for a kid, all told, in a funny way. So, there’s your maybe-baby part.
For Gays and Their Allies — Now, here’s an interesting part. I suppose the market for my book IS the would-be gay and lesbian parent market. However, I do not want those to be the only people who read my book. In fact, if I were to really analyze the audience that reads my Sweet Mother blog, I think, the minority are gay people. I don’t think that I speak only to the gay community and, as such, I want to produce a book that is appealing to both gays and the people who understand them. A lot of you, here, I think fall into the latter category. I’m not sure how else to say that other than, “ally.” I could say, “A book for gays and the friends of gays,” but that gets to convoluted. Though, I’d love to start a new community of “FOAGS” (pronounced fo-ags), which, of course, stands for FRIEND OF A GAY. I mean, think of the t-shirt possibilities!
That’s my book thinking process of the current moment, as I do the finishing revisions suggested by my agent. I think I’m closer and closer to the laser-focus I need for the subject matter of the book. However, I’m NOT sure I’ve included enough “researchable” possibilities in the proposal. It’s a work in progress. But, if the idea sells, I think it’s going to be a fantastic area to wade in for a while.
What about all of you? When you write, longer, book-ish projects do you find yourself always trying to nail down the theme? Or is it something that’s pretty established from the get go for you?
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Photo credit: Stiff-Book