Word of the Week: plenitude \ˈple-nə-ˌtüd, -ˌtyüd\ - noun – (hear it!) - 1: the quality or state of being full; 2: a great sufficiency
Four Things to [Please!] Never to Say to a Writer (or My One-Liner Writerly Pet Peeves)
Most people I come across in real life don’t know I write.
Well no, I take that back. Kind of.
Most of my friends and family understand I’m a writer, sure. But others? You know, those acquaintances I say all of six whole sentences to throughout any given day? . . . they’re mostly in the dark.
You see, I don’t normally go around blabbing that I’m a writer; the subject never really comes up comfortably. It’s more or less like trying to introduce them to Sasquatch or inviting them to a three-headed alien party on another planet.
When the subject does crop up, though, I mostly nod and smile and answer their questions in the tongue-tied manner of one who can string together oodles of beautifully written prose, yet can’t construct a spoken sentence to save her life.
Of course. *shrug*
Some are interested, others are not. And even more are kind of suspicious afterwards.
I have, however, heard some irritating things in the course of writerly conversations with those non-writerly laypersons, all of which I’d like to share. And so here they are, in order from slightly chafing, to downright irksome: Four things to [please!] never say to a writer (a.k.a. my one-liner writerly pet peeves).
Irritation # 4: “I don’t read.” (← Mind you, key word here: “don’t,” not “can’t.”)
Well, shit . . . ain’t that just the bee’s knees? . . . Pfft—hell no. It sucks to hear that, especially to a writer.
We’re born to entertain, to bring good stories to a plethora of readers the world over—through the written word! How many tales have these people foregone because they’ve chosen not to read anything? How many times have they missed out on expanding their vocabularies, broadening their horizons, fleshing out their own imaginations? Tons, I can tell you that. Movies just don’t hack it. Spoon-feeding, that’s what that is. Read something, for goodness sake! And let the writer’s story whisk you away to different world. . . .
Irritation # 3: “Writing a book is easy!”
Hahahahahahahahahaha! Oh . . . I’m going to bust a gut laughing at that one.
Wrong. So completely wrong.
Writing a book is NOT easy. Not with:
- the planning, the creating, the revising, the research, and the (sometimes harsh) feedback;
- proper sentence construction, setting the mood, emotionally tugging at readers’ sympathies;
- hook at the outset, proper conclusion at the end;
- development of characters so they aren’t stupid wooden cut outs, development of a story world so it’s scientifically sound;
- omniscient, third person limited, first person, or a combination, AND deciding which would best tell the story;
- description and narrative, dialogue and [interwoven] backstory, pace and scene, AND balancing all of this through “show and tell” so the reader isn’t thrown out of the story;
- suspension of disbelief, breaking the fourth wall, intrusive narrator, maintaining the proper POV(s) (a.k.a. character point of view)
. . . and the list goes on.
Yeah. Writing a book is easy. Not.
Irritation # 2: “Well, that certainly says a lot about you, doesn’t it?” (← in reference to the content of a writer’s novel.)
Um, well . . . no.
I write about demons who eat people to get high. What does that say about me?
That I have a wild imagination.
No, I don’t demon worship. No, I don’t get high. No, I’m not sadistic or sick or whatever else my novel’s content “might” say about me. Novels and their writers are mainly two different things. Sure, we interject bits of ourselves into characters, bits of our ideals into our works, bits of what we’ve been influenced by into our plot lines. Does it completely reflect our overall state of mind? No. We’re just more creative than other people, and we like to show it.
Irritation # 1: “I want to buy a Kindle . . . so I can play games on it.”
Ouch. That’s just so wrong on so many levels.
Playing games is fine; sometimes one needs to play a game as an escape.
But Kindles originally stored BOOKS to be read later. Books. Reading material. Short stories. Whatever. Something to read with, not play games on. People have iPads, Xboxes, Wii’s, and computers, and a plenitude of other things to play games on, so please, please, PLEASE, I beg of everyone everywhere: Reserve a Kindle for reading, treat it like a portable library, or just don’t bother buying one.
Everyone should read more. We’d all benefit from it.