Friday, June 22, 2012

Ask a Creative Writer

When I saw this posted on Facebook, it got me thinking. How would you answer these pretty common questions?

1. So you're still writing your little book?
What I tend to say... Yes or just nod.
What I'd really like to say is... For sure! I've started several others, I just can't stop. Part of me would die if I stopped writing.

2. Must be nice not having a real job.
What I tend to say... Yeah.
What I'd really like to say is... Are you serious? What's not real about schooling 4 kids, and working at my dream? If only I got paid what I'm worth. But then, I wouldn't change what I have for anything. My mind is clear to write because I don't work a day job.

3. Writing doesn't sound too difficult.
What I tend to say... You're right, it's easy.
What I'd really like to say is... The difficulty comes with hours of practise and learning to refine the craft. Then feeling like you get slapped and punched around when you finally work up enough courage to submit to publishers/agents and the majority respond by way of rejection.

4. I always thought I'd write a book after I retire.
What I tend to say... Yeah, you should!
What I'd really like to say is... Think about starting now, it takes a whole lot longer than you'd think.

5. skip... I don't have a degree... just a writing certificate - But for those who do have degrees.. yes... just like all degrees .. real work is involved

6. Have you been published yet?
What I tend to say.. Just some short stories... or... I'm still waiting to hear about my novels
What I'd really like to say is... Have you been to the moon yet?

7. Can I be a character in you story?
What I tend to say is... Sure.
What I'd really like to say is ... You already are .. hmmm bahahaha

8. So I have this great idea I think you should use.
What I tend to say is... Yeah what?
What I'd really like to say is... Can you just hold that til I get all my own ideas down on paper and perfected. - which may or may not happen before I die.

9. Aren't writers just professional liars?
What I tend to say is .. No way!
What I'd really like to say is.. You sound like my mother.

10 You're writing a book? Tell me everything.
What I tend to say is .. What would you like to know?
What I'd really like to say is ... Buy my books when they come out .. then buy my biography when that comes out. The in between bits you can follow on Twitter, Facebook and my blog. If you're just asking to be polite... don't. xx

So how do you answer interesting questions?


  1. One of the most frustrating things is that others have no idea how long the process is. You wrote a book? Will it be out next week? Um, no. It's truly one of the longest wait for results career one could choose.

  2. Ah, that first question really rankles me. I always want to reply, "Yes, because practice makes perfect." Writing is like any other talent. Use it, and it grows. But people equate it with being published, so it's hard to make them understand that it's not all about a book deal.

  3. Oh that is so funny. Your answers are great and i think some people would go even further than that lol. Argh plebians ;)

  4. Number 7 cracked me up!! Hee hee...

    And the idea thing also gets me. Although if its someone close to me, they'll drop a hint of "Hey that'd make a good book" and that's like dinging the bell to have the dog get the food, I'll grab my notebook and write it down.

    I'm not sure yet if any stories have come out of what people have said, though. :)

  5. #7 is GREAT! That should stop all other questions..especially if you say is a horror novel.

  6. Ah yes, I remember these questions. Some people just have no sense of what's appropriate! Love your answers.

  7. I once had a guy make me listen to his idea for a novel. He begged me to write it, telling me he didn't want any credit for the idea; he just wanted it written. I never wrote it. It wasn't my kind of story at all.

    Also, at just about every signing I do, I get someone who says, "I wrote this story..." And then they ask me a thousand questions about how to get published. I usually hand them my business card and tell them when they are ready to submit, email me and I'll explain the process to them. Not a one has ever emailed me. ;)

  8. My pet peeve is people who say they are gonna write (a book) one day ... well bully for them (sorry, that's not very nice of me, is it!). I figure if you are gonna write, you would already BE writing. One day will never come. There is only today. If writing is a passion, you will already be doing it.

  9. I reposted this on FB. Your responses are great. :)

    I avoid discussing writing and the industry with people who don't write. I'll be vague or change the subject.

  10. Michelle,
    My 15-yr old daughter Elizabeth is sitting right here and reading your post with me. She totally agrees with everything you wrote, except for the part about being a mom! She wants me to keep #9 in...for laughs.

  11. I lol'd at #7 So funny! I get these questions a lot so I tend not to tell people I don't know so well that I'm a writer.

  12. # 7 made me laugh out loud too! It is usually some pushy person asking that question who gets to play herself in the story.

    My answers sound a lot like yours. I get revenge in my writing :D

  13. I loved your answers to no.10 :)

    I had someone look me in the eye and say, 'Let me read it when you're done and I'll tell you if it's any good.' He was serious, even though he's never read an historical romance. I thanked him for his good intentions, and went back to my writing buddies... where I know people who study the craft of writing will give me all that and more, and know what they're talking about! :)

  14. Too funny. I think I've heard most of these...


  15. Yes, there are definite similarities between getting published and getting to the moon! I wish we could answer that way and still be liked by the person who was asking. :D

  16. Love those answers that you'd like to say, especially "Have you been to the moon yet?" to answer the "Have you been published yet?" question.

    I've become more frank with my answers to these questions over time, but I give the answers I really want to give in a soft and humorous way that hopefully does not offend.

  17. Hmmm... one question I've been asked is "Can I have a copy when it's published?" with the air of somebody who's not so much interested in reading it as they are scoring a freebie. I try to look at the positive - they believe one day my stuff will be.

    Bryce Courtenay might send out free copies of his stuff to anybody who approaches him in the supermarket... and maybe when I earn the sort of royalties he does I will too.

  18. Lots of Good information in your post, I favorited your blog post so I can visit again in the future, Thanks.

  19. Very funny blog post! I particularly liked... "Can I be a character..." ! Very witty!

  20. Fun post and topic.

    I am not a full-time writer so most don't apply to me, but I do get lots of questions about my usual writing topic (missing persons cases). I do get #3 and really don't have a clever retort for it. I just smile knowing that when one tries writing--the truth is certainly revealed.


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