My friend Richard Barnes is a fellow author and his latest novel, A Scent of Almond, was just released this month. In celebration of that release I invited him to hijack my blog-space and he obliged with a short conversation on the sometimes awkward situations writers have when talking about their work.
I find myself thinking about my current book, whether it’s in manuscript, in production, or published and wanting promotion. If I’m thinking about writing, I’m talking about writing. The result is the strong tendency to become one-dimensional and a conversational bore.
Oh, how I struggle with this, and believe there are two reasons:
- Creative people need stroking. Lord knows, I’m not writing for the money. I write because I love to see my words set down for posterity, and for the world to judge their worth. In a social setting I have to admit I’m waiting for someone to ask about my writing; not necessarily to boost my ego, but for the outside chance that person will have read some of my stuff and say it was good. It doesn’t matter if the compliment comes from a casual reader. It inspires.
- I get my best ideas for the twists and turns of a plot by bouncing it off someone else. That someone is usually my wife, bless her heart. When a problem arises in the manuscript as to how to go, I find explaining it verbally leads to a solution that, more often than not, I provide myself. That’s not to say my dear soul mate has not given me good ideas, it’s just surprising how just talking it out makes things clear.
So, I’ll continue to struggle, because I don’t see the above conditions changing anytime
soon. I’ll continue to stand in the corner at parties thinking about my plot rather than the relatively mundane things (like who’s president or who’s the current terrorist organization) the others are engaged in solving.
Oh, look. There’s Barbara over by the punch bowl! I wonder if she’s read my latest.
Thank you, Richard!
I have to admit that I like to bounce ideas off someone too. My son is only six but he has the ability to just sit there and listen … OK, so what I really mean is he plays with his toys and constantly suggests that Batman shows up to save the day.
But really, sometimes all I need is to hear the thoughts out loud. Other times I have to pester a writing friend for more in-depth conversations. It really depends on the problem, you know?