The best part of being a writer is thinking up smartass replies to annoying questions. In the above case, people learn fast it’s best not to ask. At least, it is when I’m involved.
Besides the obvious, “I put words on paper,” I have a standard reply for this query: “Well, I imagine and research thousands of ways to maim, wound, disarticulate and dismember people.”
Alternate reply: “I can literally say I’ve killed people.”
Of course, that’s not allwriting entails. Sometimes they become infected. Or are under attack by monsters.
My characters don’t live easy lives. What do you expect? I write dystopian!
But people (at least, people I know) don’t seem to get it. I contemplate, I create, I revise, I act—just like anyone does anything. Granted, the details are unique, but it’s still not that different. I’m not sure what mysteries they expect me to reveal.
What do you say when people ask you this? Are you as snarky as I am?