|Authors, like cats, are solitary creatures who only come out for food.|
Writers are romantic, sensitive creatures, often a lot of work for the significant other—especially those who don’t want to end up the murdering puppy-kicker in the next book. But with our enigmatic, mysterious ways (re: fleeing social interaction), our romantic notions (“No, I’m sure we’ll be able to buy a new car with the sequel’s royalties”), and perchance for poetry, (“I can use ‘shattered’ however I want, asshole!”) it’s hard not to fall in love with us.
So when you set your eye on one of these strange beings, here’s a few tips on how not to tick us off.
Note: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is probably your narcissism talking. Or at least that's the story I'm going with.
1. Giving unsolicited writing advice (that your English teacher told you.)
Writer: I’m having such a hard time with this third draft. I know it’s not there yet, but there’s not really anything really wrong with it. I don’t even know what I’m looking for.
Pursuer: Try getting rid of adverbs.
Pursuer: Have you checked for passive sentences?
Writer: Yes, Shakespeare. I’ve also used this newfangled option called, “Google.”
Pursuer: I also hate when people overuse “furthermore.”
If you don’t can’t say anything new… Tell her she’s pretty.
2. Asking what he/she does when you’re talking through Facebook.
Pursuer: how are u?
Pursuer: where u from
Writer: The U.S.
Pursuer: i am in India.
Pursuer: wat do u do?
Writer: Did you look at my profile before friending me?
Writer: Do you see where it says my name? And the word “author” before it? And profile photo that has a book cover on it? And my status where I talk about second drafts being the spawn of the devil?
If you can’t take the time to look at her profile, she can’t take the time to Skype herself topless.
3. Make sure to never support his/her current project.
Writer: I don’t want you to pay for this meal.
Pursuer: But I invited you out.
Writer: I know. It’s like forty bucks. I want to pay for it.
Pursuer: Well, okay. But if I happen to meet the waiter on my way to the bathroom, there’s no reason I shouldn’t take the opportunity.
Writer: I really don’t want you to. I mean it.
Pursuer: Sure, sure. So what are you working on?
Writer: Well, I just got some copies of my book. I’m going to go around and try to sell them to people… twelve dollars instead of fourteen.
Pursuer: Let me see. Is it in the bookstore?
Pursuer: I’ll get it at the bookstore then.
Writer: I’d give it to you for free, but then you’d have to come up with an excuse about not reading it too.
Remember, don’t waste your money or effort on what’s important to them; spend it on flowers. And when in doubt, lie.
4. Compare him/her to other authors. Especially to ones you don’t like.
Writer: It’s about a young man and woman whose village has been destroyed by a phantom beast. There’s rumors of disappearances and people turning into creatures. They have to go find the phantom and where it came from before the man becomes a monster.
Pursuer: So what genre is that? Fantasy?
Writer: I was thinking maybe paranormal romance.
Pursuer: Oh. You trying to write the next Twilight or something? I hate that book.
Writer: Yeah. I’m thinking of changing my name to Steve Meyer and putting a decapitated hand on the cover. What do you think?
Nothing gets a writer into bed faster than being told his idea sounds a lot like that book you think is stupid.
5. Side with his/her critics.
Writer: She wrote that I needed to “simplify everything.” Which I could do, you know? I could go through every single sentence and make it short and straightforward. But then it would sound like a Dick and Jane book. I don’t like that style at all. I never have, and it’s not fun. So I go to her and ask, “Can you point out specific places where I could simplify my prose?” And she says, “Everything! Just everything!” Yeah. I’m going to write, “See El’erlear. See El’erlear run. See ogre. See El’erlear slice off ogre’s head.” There is no way to be simple and diverse, and I don’t see a reason to. I like stylized prose.
Pursuer: Yeah, but sometimes writers can overwrite and come off as confusing or pretentious. She’s probably right.
Writer: You know how you ask me if you look fat?
Pursuer: I don’t know what you’re talking about.
Writer: Well, I just asked if I looked fat, and you said, “Yep. I don’t understand how you could even consider you don’t.”
There is a time and place for feedback. When they’re feeling insecure isn’t it.
And always remember, we're artists. We may be overly sensitive, but crazy is what you have to deal with if you want genius. Happy Valentine's Day!