Grumpy Writer

IMG_0163IWSG Question o’ the Day: What are your favorite and least favorite questions people ask you about your writing?

But…but…but there are so MANY annoying questions!  Quite a few good ones, too, I should add.  But to define the best and worst?  That’ll take some thought…

I guess I have to say my favorite question — the one I’ve talked about far more times than actually had it asked — is “Do your characters talk to you?”

You’re damned right they do.

My characters don’t just “talk” to me, the most powerful and important of them won’t shut the hell up.  Those little ghosts fluttering around the back of my mind, the voices of stories and characters, are always there, always waiting and wanting to be told.  And when I start writing them?  Yeah, those whispers rise to words and shouts…

My characters have to talk to me, by the way, in order to have power and influence and agency within the story I’m trying to tell.  They have to be real.  If my characters and stories are not real to me, if they don’t truly connect with me at a fundamental level, then there’s just no point in writing them.  If I don’t care, why would any reader?

There have been a lot of those failures, by the way.  I have more unfinished/unused story ideas and material than I like to think about. From ones that are just a few scribbled lines about plot and concept, to others that have seen weeks of planning and development, all were abandoned because they didn’t “talk” to me.

Okay, so what about my least favorite question?  What about the one that gives me a headache?  There are a lot of those to choose from: when will it be done?, what’s it about?, can I sit here?

Okay, so those aren’t the worst — they’re pretty freaking normal, actually — but they are situationally annoying.

It’ll be done when it’s damned-well-done, goddammit!  This question is especially bad when asked right after I’ve found a flaw that is going to require a good chunk of rewriting to fix…

Do you really want to know the details of what it’s about?  Or do you want to know what it’s about?  Do I tell you it’s about an exiled god who wants revenge against his brethren?  Or do I tell you how it’s about the cynicism and weariness that comes with getting older amongst younger friends that (seemingly) aren’t?img_0142

And, no, you can’t sit there.  I’m writing, for fuck’s sake, leave me the hell alone!


But the worst?

“What are you working on?”

Creating the history of my setting…

Throwing together a half-drunk blog post…

Fleshing out my plan for the Act II plot…

Editing a story/article proposal so I can, you know, try to get paid

Writing my favorite characer’s death scene…

What are you working on?  What are you doing?  I’m doing what I always do, I’m writing.  Now leave me the hell alone.

One thought on “Grumpy Writer

  1. kimlajevardi January 2, 2019 / 5:42 pm

    Writing questions after you’ve just found a flaw are truly the worst. I tend to mumble and shake my head a lot more during those moments.


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