When people find out you’re a writer, they barrage you with all sorts of questions. Some of them are intriguing, while others make us want to punch you for being so ignorant. If you have any friends who can’t shut their trap with these annoying questions, please direct them to this page at your earliest convenience.
1) Where do you get your ideas?
Like the many questions on this list, it is so innocent but so ignorant, all at the same time. You can’t sum it up in a few simple sentences. In fact, I’ll most likely write a blog post on inspirations.
And your non-writing friends probably already think you are crazy, so telling them, “I had this weird dream about a girl named Sarah who was killed in a forest by a bloody X,” isn’t the best way to answer.
Trust me; this is also the same with other creative professions. I’ll keep bringing my friend Iana, a phenomenal drawing prodigy, into this conversation. Artists of all sorts get these questions or their variants. Iana dislikes this question as much as we writers do. We get our ideas from the strange half-erased message on the ground, dreams, TV shows, books, and so much more. It’s too complicated to explain that we are NOT WRITING A FANFIC just because I took a character’s name and personality from a TV show.
2) What’s your book about?
I get asked this nearly every time someone finds out I’m writing a novel. They have no idea how much it irritates and annoys writers.
Sure, I have a logline, a summary rewritten for the fifth time and an in head story map. So why does this question bother me?
We’re putting our idea out for the world to see. Not the writing, the idea. One girl asked for an opinion about putting witches and wizards in her story, and everyone said it was cliché because of Harry Potter. JK Rowling DID NOT invent witches and wizards, if I recall correctly. Because non-writers are often ignorant or know squat about if something’s been done before (because, technically everything has been done before) or if something is cliché, it pisses us off.
(Plus, paranormal romance novels with vampire love triangles are pretty cliché at this point, in my opinion.)
The drawer’s variation of this is, “Who are you drawing?” or “Is that so-and-so?” For Iana, it drives her crazy because she doesn’t necessarily draw people. She makes people up in her mind, much like writers do. Since most of the time people can tell who she is drawing (Iana is really good), she usually hears the latter, and answers yes, even if it’s not, because it makes people shut up.
3) Am I in your story/ Can I be in your story?
Please. I have about a bazillion requests for people to be put in my story. This is MY story. If you want to be in a story, write YOUR OWN STORY, for Pete’s sake!
However, I do use names of people I know. So, just because your name is Maggie and the main character’s name is Maggie doesn’t mean you’re in the story! (Another reason why peer editing at school is horrible, but that’s another post.)
This question usually follows the ‘what is your book about’ question. We may or may not incorporate you into our story. Please try again on a different story.
That drawer’s version of this is: “Can you draw me?” Sometimes, Iana feels like drawing a rabbit-person with a Pikachu. Sometimes, artists DON’T like drawing all the time. Trust me. Been there, done that.
I’m leaving for camp in two days. I’ll be back next Saturday-Sunday or something. Don’t expect a post from me until then.