Wednesday, June 16, 2010

You. The Writer.

Writer's Brain

Today Seekerville is going to help you, the writer,
assimilate with the rest of the world.
We understand that occasionally writers go out into the world
and mingle with non writers. (But we don't recommend it, btw).

I suggest you print this helpful guide to understanding writers
and share it with your non writer friends, relatives and acquaintances.

Ten Things You Should Know About Writers

1. We aren't eavesdropping. Linguistic training is a part of our job. We listen to speech patterns so we can effectively write dialogue beats.

2. Yes. We do have to check Twitter, Facebook and Seekerville hourly. It is essential to stay up to date on the ever changing publishing world.

3. It is normal for writers to speak in the third person present tense. Deal with it.

4. Don't ask if we're published yet. Or if we've published anything you might have read. Trust me, it only makes us cranky.

5. As a general rule, writers are not interested in your brilliant idea for a best-seller that we can write for you and then split the profits.

6. We believe there are dumb questions. Where do you get your ideas is right up there at the top.

7. Our favorite words are not The End, they are, I want to buy your book.

8. For every ten words we write we delete six. We get goosebumps when we write the perfect sentence.

9. We are unable to watch a film with out analyzing the plot elements per the Heroes Journey. (Ordinary World, Call to Adventure, Refusal of the Call...)

10. If you see us sitting in front of the computer/laptop staring at a blank screen for long periods of time without moving, we are still writing. Do not interrupt.

Have at it.
What else do you wish the world
understood about
YOU. The Writer?

I'll leave you with some of my favorite videos on the topic...

A World Without Writers

A Day In The Life Of A Writer

Ray Bradbury on Writing

Advice From Stephen King


  1. You nailed it!!!

    Coffee on.


  2. Too funny! :D Thanks for sharing!

    How about some cupcakes tonight? Cupcake Wars was on Food Network, and one of the bakers from our county was the brother of one of the competitors (and he was on the show to help her out)! (She didn't win, but it was still cool!)

    His double chocolate cupcake is worth starting a war over, that's for sure! ;) Just kidding!

    Anyway, have a great day everyone!


  3. lol
    These videos are priceless.
    Loved the points you made! Thanks for the post.

  4. Stephen King nailed it! I hate meeting people who say they want to write a book, and when I ask what kinds of books they like to read, they'll say, "Oh, I don't read books very much...."


  5. Ha. Helen. I love you. Drinking greedily.

    Yup, I'm in on all this.

    Which is why I relish Seekerville.

    Birds of a feather.

    Like minds.

    Very Cuckoos Nest, but writer-friendly.

    Who could ask for more. And have I mentioned I LOVE that Amber brings food regularly.

    Your mama raised you right!

    And Cecelia Dowdy, oh mylanta, girl, that's it in a nutshell...

    Get those brain cells movin'.

  6. This is brilliant. I'll definitely post it on my office door...along with a sign that says "Enter at your own risk...writer at work." LOL.

    I'm offering decadent chocolate brownies to the buffet table. I volunteered to make brownies for the dads at church this Sunday (Father's Day) and I had to do a test run to make sure I could bake brownies. (I can). Here's a whole pan to prove it.

    Here's what I wish the world understood about me, the writer:

    What mess? That’s my desk!

    When I say I’m going to flip, don’t be alarmed when I reach into my purse and pull out…my Flip Dictionary.

    When I say ‘Go away, I’m writing’ I MEAN ‘Go away, I’m writing.’

    I’m not sleeping, I’m writing with my eyes closed.

  7. Love this, Tina!

    Another statement from the non-writing peanut gallery--"I've always wanted to write a book" to which I answer "Why don't you?"

    Their answer is what gets me. "Because I have a life."

    So do I, a very full one in fact. Not only am I a wife, mother and all the other things my non-writing life involved, I've also been a girl pilot during WWII, an indentured servant panning gold to secure her freedom, a nursing student going uncover for the FDA.

    Sounds pretty full to me--or maybe it's like my dh says and I just need a prescription. ~grin~

  8. Loved the post and the videos! The one showing the process was priceless!

    The question I hate the most is, "Are you almost finished?" Unless you're an agent or editor interested in publishing the book; don't ask that.

  9. Another comment that floors me:

    Relative: When can we read your book?
    Me: It's not published yet.
    Relative: Just sent it to us by e-mail.

    (Why did I let it leak out that I write?)

  10. Oh, man, Tina -- I could wallpaper my house with #5 ...

    This was hilarious and soooo true!!

    One of my favorites around my house is:

    "Are you okay?"

    "Uh, yeah, I'm okay. When I have tears, my eyes closed or my face screwed up in a melodramatic frown at the computer, I am not depressed, angry or have gas ... I am writing!"


  11. Hmmm, how about a couple of more.

    From a co-worker on short stories: If they pay by the word, why don't you write longer stories and make more money!

    From a relative: I'll buy one of your books when you write a mystery. Guess he won't be buying one of my books in the near future or probably ever!

  12. You've all been holding all this in? Release it.

    Now let's eat chocolate croissants.

    There. Much better.

  13. LOL, Tina!! Great post. I get #5 a lot! And want to hear #7 way more! Instead I hear: "A friend loaned me your book. Loved it!"

    That's nice, but what I want to suggest: "Get a bank loan and buy it."

    I brought dark chocolate Hershey Kisses to ease my sudden crankiness. :-)


  14. Kav, I'm stealing brownies and those quips.


  15. Tina, These are so right on.

    Kav, I'm so in with the "I'm not sleeping, I'm writing." Got caught several times when dh goes away to give me time to write and comes home to find me on the bed. LOL. But I am writing.

    The other question I don't like. "Are you famous?"

    Boy all this chocolate this morning. Yum. Ought to get a lot of writing done today. Especially mixed with high octane coffee. Go go go.

  16. Remember:

    Best advert (Susan Boyle) for writers:

    Passed around books. How often have we gone out and bought books (me, me!!! Raising hand wildly) because someone handed me their copy of a book and said: "I think you'll like this..."

    Nicholas Sparks...

    Jan Karon....

    Nora Roberts...

    Julie Garwood...

    T. D. Jakes....

    I'm okay if they pass 'em around, figure it's planning for the future....

    But I'll eat half of those kisses, Janet.


  17. In truth, I rarely share books. Only with other writers. They understand the value of a book I have on my keeper shelf. Some I still will not share for fear of not having them returned.

    So if someone lends you a keeper it is a HUGE thing.

    I have scoured the internet for old books by Deb Dixon, Dixie Browning, and Jenny Crusie, and Jayne Ann Krentz and have them on my shelf. (I am a dialogue freak and these are dialogue queens.)

    Someday I want to be 86 and still writing like Ray Bradbury and have someone scouring the internet for an old book of mine.

    "Whatever, Scarlett"

  18. How about"

    "Anyone can write a book."

    Uhh, yeah, but not everyone will become published.

    "Will you become rich like Stephen King or Danielle Steele?"

    Nope, stick to episodes of Castle if you want to see rich and famous.

    "You should tell my would be a best-seller."

    Then YOU write it...and see how far from the mark you are.

    "How long does it take to write a book?"

    As long as it takes to tell a great story.

    "Send me an autographed copy."

    Buy my book and I'll gladly autograph it for you.

    Great post, Tina!!
    I (heart) Seekerville. :)

  19. If you're a prospective children's author or even a published one there's always some wiseguy who will say: "Oh -- you ever gonna try writing a real books sometime?"

    Or the totally clueless gusher who says: "I think I'll write a picture book this evening. Shouldn't take long. How hard can it be?"

    Sorry...Tina told us to release it.

    And if you want to see a book trailer for something brilliant (and proof of just how hard writing for children can be) check this out (if the link doesn't work -- google It's a book by Lane Smith book trailer...choose the macmillan site.

  20. Awe, thanks, Lisa.

    Buy the books people. Buy the books.

  21. Kav, that was adorable and to the point, lol.

    Thanks for sharing.

  22. I'm laughing so hard! The poor people who have to live with us writers! I'm so thankful that you guys understand that when I'm lying on the couch with my eyes closed I'm not napping. :)

    Great post, Tina!

  23. LOL.
    If only it wasn't so TRUE.

    I'm fond to saying to people...when I

    1) Forget their name,

    2) Zone out in the middle of a conversation. (HEY something you said can be twisted into a great line in my WIP)

    3) Tell them a 'fictional version' of events (some nitpickers call this LYING-but it's not, I just did a few revisions to make the story jump off the page)...

    4) Make a promise to get something and forget...I FORGOT...FORGETTING is NOT the same as breaking a promise.

    I say, "I'm sorry, inside my head, I live in 1880 most of the time."

  24. Oh, and my advice for the 'where to you get your ideas' question?

    Get an answer. Make something up so you're ready. The upside of getting the same question over and over is you can make up an answer, revise it, add dialogue tags, include the senses, set the scene. You can be READY with a great answer.

  25. We are a strange breed, are we not? I loved the "Life without Writers" video. :)

    One question I hate is: "How much did/does the publisher pay you?"

    I wouldn't dream of asking someone how much money they do or don't make!

    My standard response is, "Rest assured, Stephen King makes more money than I do."

  26. I have people say things like, "I think I've got a book in me."

    Quite often.

    I always mentally picture them being shoved through a printing press in the hopes 'the book in them' will be squished out and appear on the page.

    Actually, getting published is about that painful.

  27. My standard answer to the 'how much do you get paid' question is, "It's 'don't give up your day job' money."

  28. When people tell me, with a half envious look, that they've always wanted to write a book, I just smile and say, "You should!!!" They don't seem to have anything to say to that.

  29. Janet, laughing seriously out loud here. And it's embarrassing because I'm NOT alone.

    Get a bank loan and buy it.


  30. Hi, Stephanie. Morning, Mary and Melly.

    The funny thing is I work with a writer at my day job. Super Romance author Rogenna Brewer.

    So when something comes up in our office-- like a great idea or premise or line...our heads swivel and our eyes light up. We have to quickly take dibs on it because we both know, IMMEDIATELY, that it is going in a book!

  31. Morning, Erica.

    Yeah, I'm juggling three jobs because writing is so darn lucrative.

    I write because I love it, not because I discovered it was a get rich scheme.

  32. And it's funny how many people say "You're gonna be FAMOUS!" I hate to tell them, but of the millions of writers out there, only about .000001 percent are actually famous.

    I usually just nod and say, "Yes, I know."

  33. Too funny! Loved this! Glad to hear that I am not alone! Thanks!

  34. Just finished watching the videos - PRICELESS! My favorite? When Stephen King talked about that "moment," when you put down what you've been reading and think, "This really sucks. I could do better than THIS."

    That's what spurred me on to start writing.

    Kav, all, thanks for the chocolate. I went to a restaurant with a friend of mine in Lexington, KY, and they had what they called the "Danger Brownie." It was a brownie with a Bourbon Ball stuck on top and frosting all over it. Yep. It was dangerous, alright.

  35. ROFLOLOL! Tina, this is hilarious and oh, so true.

    Thanks for the laugh.

    I'd also want people to know that it's abolutely NOT okay to ask how much we make per book. Seriously, do writers EVER ask non-writers, "So, how much did you take home on your last check?"

    Too funny.


  36. I get 'you're famous' a lot.

    I remember walking into a restaurant once, my husband was already there, and I sat down at the table with him and some other folks and one of them said, "There's Mary Connealy, the most famous person in this country."

    I replied, "I'm not even the most famous person at this table. Let's ask around, I'll bet more people here know you than me."

    Another standard reply to the 'famous' comment....

    "Uh...If you have to TELL people I'm famous...that pretty much means I'm not."

  37. I meant COUNTY not COUNTRY, the most famous person in this COUNTY.


    Famous for typos.

  38. County, country. Potatoes, potahtoes.

    We know you are the famous Mary Connealy married to that famous cowboy farmer.

    BTW, who knows how to pronounce Connealy? I always thought it was CON-A-LEE. Turns out I met her and it, KA-NEELIE.

    I am still getting over that.

  39. When I start talking about figuring out how a killer could commit murder and not leave evidence, I usually have to say, "Don't worry. I'm not a serial-killer- the villain in my story is."

    Breakfast is great ladies. Best thing about cyber-breakfast is the zero caloric intake.

  40. It's a BOOK! Oh was that ever wonderful... Thanks Kav!

    What a commentary on our "times" today. Loved it and posted on my FB page. Too wonderful.

    I'm getting the "Is your book out yet?" question a lot. Several who understand say, "How far along in the process are you?" or "How is it coming?" Much kinder. :)

    Always a great day in Seekerville.

  41. Since many of us are (or were) contest junkies, the question is always: "So, does this mean they're going to PAY you for winning?"

    Family reunion, 1995: "How's the writing going?"

    Family reunion, 1996: "Have you finished anything?"

    Family reunion, 1997: "Have you sold anything yet?"

    Family reunion, 1998: "How many books have you written by now?"

    Family reunion... you get the idea.

  42. Lisa Jordan has officially graduated to potential snark status.

    I'm so stinkin' proud of her!!!

  43. Someone kept asking me (every time we met...) "So? You published yet?"

    In THAT tone of voice that meant "ain't gonna' happen, Cupcake, no way, no how..."


    When Winter's End came out, he read it and SAID: (no, I'm not kidding...)

    "So, I read your book..."

    Pause... Pause... Pause...

    I smile, nodding, we're in public and I CAN'T KICK HIM!!!

    "It kept my interest."

    Then he shrugged. Like that was a HUGE FAVOR TO ME to keep his interest.


  44. Great post. So true. I have one to add:

    Just because I am in this world and I am looking at you, it doesn't mean I'm listening. I might be plotting and it's doubtful I will retain what you say.

  45. Awesome post. I'm going to read this to my family pronto. Maybe it'll help them understand me better and realize that I am normal, sort of. :)

  46. Go, Ruthy!!

    OMG, Shannon, that' so true. I have perfected the 'nod.' (BTW love your new website!!)

    Anyone else tell your family not to bring you current event news while you are writing? I just can't have negative stuff in my brain while I am writing. Normal people process it and move on-but writers, well we have it simmering on our back lobe for hours, or days.

    Angela, you are normal in our world.

  47. When I was in school, kids would say, "Stop staring at me!"
    I would "wake up" from my thoughts and wonder where this idiot had come from. I didn't want to tell them that I was somewhere else!
    Ray Bradbury and I come from the same home town and we both write for a living and there endeth the similarities. What a great writer. Have you read Fahrenheidt 451? You SHOULD!!

  48. Shannon, I so relate to "The Nod"

    My younger son has a a t-shirt that says: "This is the part where I nod and act like I'm listening"

    Tina, ditto on the current news. Dh informs me of all kinds of horrific events (child lost in the woods, an abduction, etc.) either while I'm writing or moments before bedtime.

    He rolls over and goes to sleep immediately. I lay awake praying and worrying about that poor child lost in the mountains, or that poor girl.

    And if I'm trying to write? Sheesh.

  49. Tina, that is so true for me! My mother wants to call me and tell me the latest horrifying, bizarre murder or accidental death that she's heard about from watching the news (which I never watch, BTW) and then I'm like, Why did you feel the need to tell me that? I so could have lived without that in my head. But I never associated it with the fact that I'm a writer and things go round and round inside my head and get built up and expanded by my insane imagination!

    Thanks, Tina. Now I understand myself better, even if I won't be able to convince my mother not to tell me those stories.

  50. Lyn, I love Ray Bradbury. Love him. So stinkin' amazingly talented.

    Great stuff.

    And Tina, yeah, it's a "no-go" on the negativity at my house too.

    And I've passed that trait on to a couple of my writer-type kids. They just absorb too much. Not enough shrug-it-off filterization.

  51. I love Lyn Cote's comment. At least we can recognize when a writer is in the zone. It's an 'artistic thing'...

    What, Me? Staring at you? No I'm looking through you to the much more interesting movie playing in my head!

    In my family, my children don't talk about mom's writing because it's apparently this little pretend life I have!

  52. I'm so glad to hear there are others who refuse to watch the news. I boycotted year ago because of the worry factor and it's just so depressing.

    My family knows by now they have to call me when something major happens to tell me to turn on the tv. On 9-11 I got 4 phone calls within 15 minutes!

    But, most of the time I like being happily oblivious.

  53. I knew it, I knew it!!! This HAD to be Tina posting! One of the most recognizable "voices" in Seekerville!

    Oh, boy, this post struck about six dozen chords with me! And then so much more I relate to in everyone's comments!

    The question I get most often from friends at church who know I have books out is, "So are you working on another book?" Like, what else would I be doing with my time? I'M A WRITER, FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!!!!

    Or the phone calls from the VBS organizer, etc., asking for volunteers. Since obviously I am home all day and HAVE NOTHING BETTER TO DO!!!!!

    And then there's hubby, who creeps quietly up the stairs, peers around the door to my office, and whispers, "Is this a good time to ask you about something? I think my computer just imploded."

    Oh my. Pass the chocolate. Peanut M&Ms would be great.

    Oh, and my word verification? Reminds me of the sound I want to make in my throat whenever anyone hands me one of these lines:


  54. This post was just too funny and reading everyone's comments made me laugh too!

    Happy writing everyone!

  55. Debra Marvin's comment about 'it's an artist thing.'



    So sorry, darling, I have an artistic temperment. I can't be held responsible for my actions because I am an ARTIST!!!!!

    I can't paint to save my life though, not even walls.

  56. Great post, Tina!!!

    Everyone I know has a story idea they want me to write.

    I've also had a number of people at church ask me to ghost write their family histories. How fun would that be?

    Love this one: "One of these days, I'm gonna write a book." Okay, do it then.

    "How long did it take you to publish?" Hmmm, longer than you've been alive. :) Of course, I'm joking. Not that long...but it seemed like it.

  57. Was that from the fair maiden who shares my name.

    Loved the post.

    Where did you get the idea from?

    I've been staring at my screen so long I feel like I'm growing vines or mold I can't be sure

    but I finally broke away

  58. Btw my favorite line

    I don't know if fiction is really from God, maybe you should use your gift to help someone else write their biography.

  59. Oh, I loved this list! I think I will print it out and carry copies of it around with me to hand to people. I still get stumped when people ask me "What is your book/story about?" I get tongue-tied and am unable to verbalize it!

  60. LOL, Tina Pinson.

    Write those scintillating bios girl.

    Long ago when someone handed me a binder filled with stories and family photos I realized they didn't really want expect anything from me except for me to tell them it's wonderful. I can do that.

  61. Great post, Tina!

    One of the best questions I get is, "When are you going to be on Oprah?"

    LOL! And gosh, then I have to admit that, well, she probably doesn't have a clue who I am. :)

  62. Ruthy!

    Turkeyhead? ROFLOL!!! I snorked my Diet Dr. Pepper when I read that!

  63. This is brilliant, Tina. LOL at "Whatever, Scarlett." Maybe that was how it read in the first draft?

    And, oh my gosh, are the comments fun. Pam, my family reunions sound remarkably like yours. :)

  64. I have to admit that I do love when my older son asks, "Dad, how's your history book going?"

    But he's the only one.

  65. When asked by someone (usually in whiny voice) "Why can't we just get along? Why can't we have world peace?", my wise husband says something like, "Show me a family reunion that goes without a hitch, all luvy-duvy and peaceful like first. Then perhaps we can talk about world peace."

    Good point.


    That's my new fave word.

    Snark alert. Y'all have an excellent afternoon while we still have free speech. (You could look up HR5175 but only if you're not writing.)

    Now where's my chocolate.

  66. You guys are fun. You can come to my party...any time.!!! And you can look right thru me.

  67. Oh. My. Lanta.

    Heehee, just kidding, I promise I won't steal anymore famous Seekerville lines.

    This is HILARIOUS!!! I love it, esp. the last one. I do that all the time. *grin*

  68. I know I'm late to the fun, but just wanted to say...
    GREAT POST, Tina.
    So funny.

    I'd just like to add (if no one else has)
    11. It's perfectly normal to talk to people that no one else can see. It's called character development.
    My kids have accepted this. My husband still isn't sure.

  69. Yes. Pepper, totally correct and Madame Zelda's school of writing encourages this.

    Jessica is emulating Ruthy. What has this world come to?

  70. Pepper, my husband is the same way. Well, all of my family are--they just get that glassy eyed look when I start talking out plot points as if they're stuck in Alegbra class.

    But I've been known to go glassy eyed with them too--it's a great way to work out scenes!

  71. Excellent synopsis! :)

    As for me...

    - Yes, I love my solitude. No, I don't want the radio on. Or the TV. Or my cell phone. And whaddaya mean the library isn't open 24 hrs a day? The kids need somewhere to go when I'm working.

  72. Yay! I'm normal! For a writer anyway.

    Anyone else shush family members when they interrupt your characters' conversation in your head?

  73. Um, no, Shawna..that would be unique even for me, who channels her characters aloud.

  74. So it's really true, what I suspected all along. This whole "writer" thing really is some kind of bizarre cult.... :)


  75. Yes. That is correct Steve.

    By simple adjustment of the frontal lobe at birth we all become part of a crazed robotic clan who snap to attention when the word plot is said three times in rapid succession.

    Why do you ask?

  76. Hey Tina,

    I think you may have detected the serious question I'd been hoping to hide behind the smiley. The penalty is that you get to hear my serious thoughts, which, admittedly are a little half-baked and perhaps not ready for prime time.

    For starters, there are people like myself who write, but whose primary identity is not as a writer.

    Then there are those who identify as a writer. This may be as a career, a profession, a lifestyle, a calling, a grand insanity - it varies.

    In some of the discussions I've seen of the "writing lifestyle" I've seen a degree of emotional intensity and in-group identification that is popularly believed to characterize a cult. I don't really think this applies to all or even most of those who identify as writers. But the tendency is out there.

    Is it useful to go on a crusade against the "cult of writing"? Probably not. Might I occasionally poke a bit of fun at such attitudes? Well, I tried it here and got caught out. Hopefully I didn't give offense, as that was not my intention.


    P.S. Thanks for the comment on my blog. It's been on hiatus, as you can see, but I'm hoping eventually to get back to it - and even more importantly to my WIP. Best wishes.

  77. Steve, we rarely take offense here and if we do we have a delete button and know how to use it. Stop by any time and we like you all the more for challenging the status quo.

    We try to be real around here, but you know the publishing community is a very small pond so we can't be, the current word du jour...transparent... or we might get caught.

  78. Wow! There are a lot of comments here! Great post. I love what Mary said about "living in the 1880's" in her head. Sigh. Me too.

  79. LOL, I have a hard time living in today in my, Katie.