What’s My Novel About?

J.P. Melkus
3 min readDec 27, 2020


Sorry, I don’t really have my elevator speech down, but if you have a minute…

Photo by Caleb Lucas on Unsplash

It’s sort of a coming age tale, a bildungsroman if you will. Actually, now that I’m thinking more about it, it’s more of a roman à clef of sorts. But also a picaresque.

Does that make sense?

Let me back up. You see, the main character is a White guy. Wait! It’s okay because it’s sort of a comic fable that’s also a satire, like, ‘Can you believe this guy?’ He’s a total jerk. Don’t worry. Like, he’s racist. But wait! The racism is ironic too. I’m not racist or anything like that. It’s total characterization…

Alright, so plot… Are you — ? Sorry, you just were looking at your phone there.

Okay, plot. So it’s sort of a travelogue, but the travel all takes place in the protagonist’s mind, his ambition, and so on. Like, have you ever seen The Muppet Movie? It’s sort of like that, but if they didn’t know they were in a movie and Fozzie was a psychiatrist.

There’s also six main characters, each with their own fully developed plot lines. Which all overlap. In time and space.

It’s not told chronologically. You see, it’s as if the main character has dementia. But is also an alcoholic and knows that he’s losing it. But he doesn’t really have dementia, he’s a hypochondriac and just thinks he does, but that makes him actually have it. And what’s the difference? Does that make sense? The book explores that.

There are strong elements of parody and some really elemental story structure, like Aesop. But it’s epistolary in parts as well. And then part of it takes place online and you actually have to go watch a YouTube video.

See, it’s like All Quiet on the Western Front meets Emma meets Monty Python and the Holy Grail if it were a novel told from the point of view of the guy with the coconuts.

It’s kind of hard to explain, but if you could just get to chapter six, I think —

No, there are no chapters.

It’s like if you took The Brothers Karamazov and Tom Clancy’s Ghost Squadron on the PlayStation 3 and added road salt.


Okay, try to imagine like Harry Potter and a making-of documentary of a Busby Berkeley musical rolled into Catch-22, told through the lens of Bulgarian folklore and a chicken salad sandwich.

Huh? No, it’s not like that at all.

Picture Cormac McCarthy meets Steve Martin meets two half-sibling English Springer Spaniels and the color puce.

I assume you’ve read David Foster Wallace? Even the short stories? No? Hmm. Okay, well forget that then.

Maybe then I could say it’s like where Hop On Pop intersects with a knock-knock joke if Stephen King had been president when World War II started.

It’s like if ultraviolet radiation were metafictional verse.

For you then, try thinking of it like the origin story of the Planck constant in the form of an adult send-up of YA wraith babysitting stories with the prose equivalent of wasabi sauce in your tear ducts.

I’m trying to dumb it down some, but it’s like a revisiting of Huckleberry Finn told as dark matter in a tuxedo T-shirt.

It’s Titus Groan meets the gravitational constant. No?

Ursula K. LeGuin translated by an ancient Celtic auroch hunter?

It’s like the first part of a Decalogue so there’s a lot of long digressions for world-building and old goulash recipes.

In a word, JOMO.

If inertia was a meme.

A diary of barometric pressure readings.

Cuneiform erotica.

Palimpsests of onomatopoeias.

Timespace explained only in Arabic punctuation.

Excited quantum state.




J.P. Melkus

It's been a real leisure. [That picture is not me.--ed.]