I like how IWSG phrased the question with “favorite” coming first. I think everyone wants others to be interested in their work—especially writers. To show true interest in what someone else is doing, though, a person needs to ask specific questions about the project. Sometimes I think this can help a writer move forward in her story when she’s stuck because a specific question may trigger a path the writer hadn’t thought of before.
As for a favorite question to ask me generally, it’s all in the word choice. My children always ask me what fine adventure I was on today. So did my mother. I think it’s the best way to approach my story writing. As any writer knows, word choice is important, especially when handling a neurotic story teller. Unfortunately, my name’s at the top of the neurotic list!
But about those specific questions I like to be asked about my YA adventure stories, I need people to ask: what are the internal and external problems in this story? Where is it taking place? What are the family dynamics? I need to be able to answer these questions in order to move forward with the story. Of course the person needs to know me and how I write to be able to ask these specifics.
My least favorite question of all time that people ask about my writing is: “Did you ever finish your memoir?”
Instead of actually saying: Yes. Two different versions. I just answer: Nope!
It’s not that easy. I’m not just recounting what happened to me. That’s not memoir. Memoir is a story about a certain time in someone’s life and the life lessons that person learned from the experience. And—man! Is it difficult to do well.
Asking a writer if they’ve finished a book they’ve been working on is like asking “So what did you publish today?”
Writing book-length manuscripts take time—lots of time. This is why it’s a celebration when the story is complete even though there is much more work to accomplish in revision before sending it out for representation or self-publishing it. Then there’s marketing the work. I think when people ask a writer about their writing life, they’re only thinking of the story, and many times they’re only asking generally. Non writers might not understand there is much more to the writing life than just creating stories.
So how do you handle when other people—especially non-writers—ask about your writing endeavors? Please share any thoughts or tips here at Adventures in Writing.
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This post was written for the Insecure Writer’s SupportGroup. We post on the first Wednesday of every month. To join us, or learn more about the group, click HERE.