Saturday, September 24, 2011

So…What is it Writers Actually Do?

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?


  1. Well, the proper way of answering might be to say you create whole worlds and societies and epic tales for the reader, of course...

    My writing in the spy and counterterrorism genre would have an answer along the lines of, "well, I devise intricate plots leading to the brutal deaths of thousands of people and the threat of worldwide war with the lives of millions in the balance."

  2. Well, I try not to be snarky, since most of the people who ask are coworkers, and it's asked in a very small-talk-y way (like the weather):
    "So, I hear you're writing a novel?"
    "'s that going?"
    "Awesome, let me know when you're done."
    "will do!"
    *shrug* no big deal.

    To the family members that see me regularly, they know I read and write frequently, so I guess they never feel the need to ask me that question. They *do* like to ask: "So...almost done with the book?" and I try not to grit my teeth at that. ;)

  3. my favorite responses:
    1.) "I hear voices in my head... and I like it!"
    2.) "I can get away with murder."

  4. I can honestly say I've never been asked that question, but I'll keep your answers in mind in case I ever am! Lol... I can only imagine the looks you get when you say: "I can literally say I've killed people." ;-)

  5. I haven't been asked that either. I'll have to remember your answers for when I am asked that question. Lol.

  6. I haven't been asked it either, possibly because I've got a day job and I'm not a full-time or published writer. I'm trying, though!


Please validate me.