Sunday, December 16, 2012

Answers to the Five Worst Writer Questions

This is the pumpkin spider that lives in our kitchen window, out hunting at dawn this morning. Love the creepy perspective of this pic!

So, this week we're talking about our favorite responses to our least favorite questions about being a writer. What the least favorite question is changes over time, depending on where you are in your career. But they all share the same quality - they're annoying questions because the asker is *really* asking something entirely different.

Here they are for me, by career stage, the apparent question and the real question, along with my suggested reply. At least you'll amuse yourself.

Career Stage: Newbie/Wannabe Writer
The Question: What do you write?
What they're really saying: Are you anybody worth talking to or are you, as I suspect, a mere wannabe?
Quip Tip: "Sexual fables involving lots of mucus, in ancient Chinese script."

Career Stage: Pre-Pubbed
The Question: What is your book about?
What they're really saying: Are you really writing something or are you, as I suspect, one of those people who forever alludes to the novel they're writing, but never produces anything?
Quip Tip: "About 250 pages."

Career Stage:  Published in e-Books Only
The Question: Don't you want to be really published?
What they're really saying: Obviously digital publishing doesn't count.
Quip Tip: "No - I believe printing letters on paper steals the soul of a story."

Career Stage:  Still New, but with a Few Publications
The Question Have I heard of you?
What they're really saying: I don't actually read, but I'd like to be able to tell my friends I met someone famous.
Quip Tip: "Do you watch America's Most Wanted?" (add knowing nod for effect)  

Career Stage: Newly Acquired Three-Book Print Deal
The Question: Who's your agent?
What they're really saying: I wonder if your agent will sell my books too!
Quip Tip: "Actually I don't know - she won't tell me. Something about a restraining order."

Anyone have some better answers? I never seem to think up good ones on the spot...


  1. This is very funny, Jeffe. I especially like ""No - I believe printing letters on paper steals the soul of a story." Thanks for the laugh.

  2. Good but creepy pic, Jeffe! From that angle and the light, it looks like a black widow - which only makes it creepier. :shudder:

    Great post, too. I love your quips. And it's nice to know what people are actually saying when they ask those questions. ;o)

    1. This spider is MUCH bigger than a black widow - prettier, too. And thanks - I'm happy to translate any time!

  3. LOL, "About 250 Pages" -- I'm stealing that one!

    1. I totally stole that one from a friend of mine - best answer ever!

  4. Have I heard of you?
    Ehm.... my answer would be How would I know, Im not your external memory.

    Weird, rude question...

    1. LOL. I *love* that answer! I might use that next time...

  5. I love the subtext of these q & a's .... and the spider pic!!! So cool!!

    1. subtext AND spiders - never say I don't deliver!