What is the “nut”? What is the nut of a story?
Not the cashew or the almond, but the central idea upon which everything else in a story originates. You can call it theme, but I like nut better. Not just because I like to eat nuts, but because huge things grow from a tiny nut.
My story is a huge living thing that grew from one tiny idea. What was that tiny idea? Is it my experience in toxic-faith communities or why I had the experience?
These two one-sentence summaries describe two different nuts. The first nut is a what nut. The second sentence is a why nut.
Old: In her fervor for Jesus, a newly born-again Jewish woman finds herself captivated within exciting but cult-like Christian churches.
New: A young girl who doesn’t fit in with her peers, her religion, or her culture finds acceptance and excitement in cult-like churches.
I have had my share of trouble deciding between a what nut and a why nut. But I’ve also had trouble with the who nut. For whom am I writing this story?
My sentence summaries contain a what nut and a why nut. They also contain a who nut. Am I writing to a religious audience or a secular audience?
A friend who always makes me think had this response to my new one-sentence summary:
A friend A fairly radical departure from your old tag lines. It feels like it would have more of an appeal to a less religious audience.
I am really stuck. I’ve gone through about five titles and subtitles and I don’t think anything I’ve come up with yet describe the core of my story.
The question is how do I crack the nut?