Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Ah! The writer’s life for me!

Looking at Vicki’s post yesterday and what she currently has in her job jar sort of made my head swim. If I had that kind of workload, I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night.

Wait a moment! I do have that sort of workload. My issue is that it doesn’t involve just writing. If you were being generous, you’d say I cast my net widely. If you were being ungenerous, you’d say I was a bit schizophrenic. Let me tell you folks, it would be just lovely to have only writing deadlines.

Anyway, it set my mind to thinking on comments I’ve had over the years from people who are intrigued when I tell them that I write crime fiction for (part) of my living. Here are some memorable ones:
  • “Do you like sit in a room and work all day long on your novels?” (I wish!) “Doesn’t that get really boring?”
  • “You must be doing well. Writers make a lot of money, I hear.” (I wish!)
  • “What do you do with the rest of your time?” (I usually spend it drinking…)
  • “I’d write a novel if I had the time.” (Usually followed by…) “Hey, if I give you my plot premise, you could write the novel and we can split the money 50/50!” (Good luck on that one!)
  • “You’re so lucky doing something you love that’s also pretty easy. Must be nice.” (I’m not even going to comment on this one!)
  • “Isn’t it a really depressing thing to do? Novels are usually so sad and stuff.” (And yes, this person did say “and stuff”.)
  • “Well, I wouldn’t read your novels. I only have time to read magazines.” Then I asked how many magazines per week. “Three or four.”
  • “What a waste of time!” (Seriously)
  • “I would really like to write a novel, too. Do you have time to walk me through what I need to know?”
  • “I’m writing a novel, too! I’ve written over 40,000 words!” Then I asked what it’s about. “I’m not really sure yet.” (Houston, I think we have a problem…)
  • “Have you ever been on TV? Every author’s on TV!”
I’m sure the other writers among those who visit Type M, must have similar comments with which they’ve dealt. Come on, share the good ones!


Eileen Goudge said...

Oh, boy. If I had a dollar for everyone who "offered" that 50/50 split, I could retire. The one I hear most frequently is, "I only read non-fiction." I guess magazines fall in that category. Next time someone asks what I do for a living, I'm going to say "I'm a drug dealer." That ought to shut 'em up. Unless they're looking to score.

Rick Blechta said...

I wonder what it is that people think this is an idea that every writer will jump at. Yes, the concept of a story is very important, but twice, I asked people to "sort of" tell me in general terms what their story is about (they seem to think this is the best idea ever and that I'll steal it). What I've gotten is a plot with no arc to it. Nothing really changes except their main character gets to the bottom of the issue. When I explain that fiction is about a lot more than a few plot points, one got angry and the other defensive (even though I was very nice and "neutral" about what I was asking). Bottom line was, both said it was my job to provide that stuff. Oh. So now I'm an employee...

Eileen Goudge said...

Rick, you go way deeper with these folks than I do. I try to get away as quickly and cleanly as possible. If the subject arises in a seminar or when I'm on a panel and can't escape, I set the bar high by saying the only time I ever saw it work was when Ross Perot asked Ken Follett to write the story that became his bestselling "On Wings of Eagles." Until I meet someone who can match that, it's every man for himself.

Rick Blechta said...

Sometimes I like to find out what these people actually think it is we do.

Or I'm stuck and cannot get away from them.