I was asked *the question* this weekend. The one I hate. The one I cannot answer. But back to that in a moment…
As writers, we get many of the same questions asked over and over again, and we can create a general answer for each to have ready at a moment’s notice and shoot off the answer and we’re done. Like:
Q. Where do you get your ideas?
A. Everywhere: radio, TV, movies, news shows are my favorite.
Q. What is your daily writing schedule like?
A. I get out of bed, go to the computer and write. Every day. (Now, clearly this leaves out the shower, feeding the dog, breakfast, exercise, doing something to my hair, my weekly half-hour massage, tea or lunch or sushi with writer pals, and days off to run rivers. But it sounds really dedicated and kinda cool. Like, I’m a writer, Dude. I live for it. Oh — it also leaves out my day job, but that’s another story.)
Q. How do you structure your books to keep up with everything?
A. Up until now I have said I have a: history file, timeline file, character file for each character, and I refer back to them all the time. Soon, MagicalWords.Net will release a program just for this and I will be using it to keep track of everything. I’m probably not supposed to say anything about it, but I’m impressed with the program. I’ve seen an early version of it and it is killer! I wish I’d had it when I started the Skinwalker duology. It sure would have been easier to keep up with the world and the characters and the smells of vampire blood….
Back to the blog topic. And my favorite three questions:
Q. Where’s the bathroom? And, Q. Where are the Nicholas Sparks books? And, Q. Why don’t you write romance? I like romance, you know? You should write romance.
But then there’s *the question*. The one I freaking dread.
The conversation usually starts off this way:
Her: I’ve had a really tragic life.
Me, External Voice: Yeah? Sorry to hear that. (Though I’m known to be a gracious listener so it’s more like, “I am so sorry to hear that. My heart goes out to you.)
Her: And I want to write a book about it.
Me, Internal Voice: (Oh crap. Which question will it be? Will she ask to tell me her story so I can write it for her and she’ll spilt the money with me? I have an answer for that one. All neat and packaged in my brain, waiting for it! A. I can’t. I’m contractually obligated to tell lies for a living. I have to write fiction. My publisher only wants fiction from me. Really. I’m so sorry. If you go on online you can find a ghost writer. Most charge between 5 and 10 K for a book. Good luck! [Which usually leaves her dumfounded. After all: Why would I not jump on the opportunity to do all the work and give half of it away?] Or will she ask *the question?*) Here it comes…
Her: How do you write?
Me, Internal Voice: (Ahhhhhhhh! *The question!* Crap!) External Voice: Would you be more specific? (Hoping she means something else, like, how do you organize or how do you structure a book. But no. She doesn’t.…)
Her: You know. How do you write? How do you *do* it. Write? Words? On paper?
That is *the question* I hate most. *How do you write?*
Me: Ahhhhh! (Stomps feet. Grabs head melodramatically.) I do not know. I have no freaking idea. How do I not write? How do I breathe? How do I dream at night? How do I not think about the pink elephant when you tell not to think about it. I just can’t help myself! It is what I do. Which is no kind of answer at all. Not at all. This weekend, I tried to be nice. Really. I always try to be nice despite what is going on in my head at the time. But I simply cannot answer that question.
So – anyone else have a writing question that begs to remain unasked? Or, even better, an answer to my fear of — *the question.*