The minute someone finds out that I am writing a novel, the questions start. I think all of us writers have gotten some or all of these questions before. It doesn’t matter if you are published or not, mid-list or bestseller, the same questions seem to pop up.
What’s your book about?
You know what? This is a good time to work on your pitch. Every time someone asks me that, I try to come up with a snazzy, one sentence answer that makes them follow with “Really? Cool!” Some have worked better than others, but it is good to test drive the pitch sentence as much as possible and pay attention to the reactions you get. Did they look excited? Bored? Confused? Disgusted?
How did you think that up?
I still haven’t found a good answer for this. I can tell them where the inspiration came from, but the moment I start explaining how the characters give me their stories, I get either a blank expression or a terrified one. I just stick to the inspiration answer now, because sometimes I really don’t know where the idea came from. Some ideas just sprout out of nowhere.
Why do fanfics? You’ve thought up your own characters and plots, haven’t you?
This one often comes from other writers. Some writers of “original” works frown upon fan fiction writers. I really don’t see why. To me, writing is writing. I’ve touched on this before in another blog entry. Sometimes, I need a breather from my WIP, but I still want to work the writing muscles. Original characters always pop up in my fan fics anyway, and I keep a file of those characters in case they are strong enough for their own story. And before you ask…no, I have no plans for anyone to ever see the fan fiction I have written.
So when can I read it?
This one makes me laugh, especially when I explain that it is not finished, and they go, “So?” I already have my beta readers selected for a WIP read through before the first draft is complete, and BLAQUE is on its third draft now. My short answer is usually that when it is ready to be published/debuted, they will be among the first to know. That’s a nice way to start building a fan base, actually.
When you become a best-seller, are you going to quit your job?
Another one that makes me laugh. Once I explain how the publishing industry really works, most people understand why I will more than likely keep my day job. Okay, not even more than likely…I will keep my day job.
Oh, I have a book idea! Can you help me write it?
I get confused at this question. How exactly do I help someone write a novel? I can look over their spelling, grammar, and basic plot structure, but the story itself has to be told through their voice. I’ve had folks ask me to be a ghostwriter. Not to sound selfish, but I’ve got my hands full with trying to birth my own debut novel. I really can’t handle birthing someone else’s novel as well. What I do help them with are resources. A co-worker of mine wants to write a children’s picture book, so I recommended books about writing to her and looked up some agents that specialize in picture books. She knows that the actual story, however, is completely up to her.
How many story ideas have you had?
Honestly, I think I’m around 100 ideas since the 6th grade. 99.99% of them will never leave my computer files, notepads, high school folders, or single notebook sheets (college ruled, of course). I will say that there are about five, maybe six…okay, seven…that have true potential. The others? Writing exercises and nonsense.
Why do you write?
This is the easiest one for me to explain, and also the hardest one for a non-writer to understand:
I write because I must.