NEW - CRITIQUE SERVICE

I am now offering a critique and manuscript assessment service. For further details, please e mail me at janelovering@gmail.com

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Things NOT to say to a writer...

This week, just a few little pointers to help make life for writers a little easier, whether you have a writer in your life, or just visit them when they are out in public.

1. "Why is the house such a mess? You've been at home all day, sitting in front of that computer - you could at least have hoovered."

SAY INSTEAD: "How many words have you written today? Well, 250 is quite a lot, more than I could..oh. Never mind, I expect they weren't right anyway. How about a takeaway and then I'll hoover while you think of some better words."

2.  "I've got a great idea for a book." (followed by lengthy story that isn't even a story-idea or an anecdote, more of an implausible rant) . "Now, how about you write that up as a book and I'll give you 10%?"

SAY INSTEAD: "Let me buy your book. Actually, I'll take fifty copies, it looks like the sort of thing all my friends and family would enjoy. Don't worry, we'll all leave Amazon reviews..."

3.  "How much money do you make, then? I bet it's thousands, that J K Rowling is a multi-billionaire, isn't she? Bet you've got a posh house, haven't you?"

SAY INSTEAD:  Nothing, at first. Just gently pat writer's shoulder, while s/he sobs. Offer food. Then, when tears are dry, say, "Let me buy your book. Actually, I'll take fifty copies, it looks like the sort of thing all my friends and family would enjoy. Don't worry, we'll all leave Amazon reviews..."

4. (Whilst in bookshop, during signing, usually when writer is behind huge pile of own books and in front of large poster of own face) "Do you know where the ..................... (insert either books by latest celebrity or 'toilets') are? No? Well you're not much use, are you? Why are you here, then?"

SAY INSTEAD: "Let me buy your book. Actually, I'll take fifty copies, it looks like the sort of thing all my friends and family would enjoy. Don't worry, we'll all leave Amazon reviews..."

5. "Oh, you are lucky to be able to sit at home and scribble. I'd write a book, if I had the time." (often followed by (2) above).

SAY INSTEAD: "Let me buy your book. Actually, I'll take fifty copies, it looks like the sort of thing all my friends and family would enjoy. Don't worry, we'll all leave Amazon reviews..."

6. "I hear that (insert celebrity, usually known for either boobs/fake tan/stupidity/being all over media for no real reason) has just had their book turned into a film. Why don't you get your books made into a film?"

SAY INSTEAD: Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Just keep walking, quite quickly. Honestly. Writers can aim a shoe at the back of your head like nobody's business if you even begin to utter this sentence.

Writers are sensitive creatures, but if you love them and feed them well and leave them largely to their own devices, they will reward you with pages of notes about your bizarre behaviour and habits. And hardly ever bite you.




8 comments:

Chris Stovell said...

I may have to print this out, laminate it and carry it with me at all times so I can offer it to well-meaning folks offering 'advice'.

Jane Lovering said...

If I could fit all this on a T shirt, Chris, I would. But it would have to be tiny print, and a HUGE T shirt, so I don't think I'll bother. Just as long as everyone remembers it...

Julie Stock said...

I laughed out loud at this! It definitely needs compiling somewhere for the wider audience at large!

angela britnell said...

This is so true! If I had money for every time someone has offered me a 'story idea' I'd be as wealthy as JK Rowling!

Noelene said...

Re No.2 "I've got a great idea for a book" [so many have, don't they?] you could try and force yourself to listen to the half hour spiel then say, "Sounds wonderful. Buy my book, see how it's done and trot on home to start writing yours."

Anna Jacobs said...

Made me chuckle. One of my least favourite comments is: 'Do you force yourself to work office hours?'

Actually, I don't force myself to write at all. I love writing. And I work longer than office hours most day.

Raven Dane said...

Hilarious and so true.I recognise all of them ! Plus this corker ;
'Who do you get to do the writing? You can't write all those words on your own...'

Isabella Connor said...

Jane, you have a real talent for making me cry. With laughter.

Liv x