Lost for Words

Okay, so I’ve become quite bold lately.  I’ve started telling people that I write.  Hey, I’ve actually thrown off my inner hermit and put myself on the web.  And people, for the most part have been really nice.   But the thing is once you’ve put yourself out there people tend to want to know what you write.   And I’m afraid in my experience the conversation heads rapidly down hill from there.  It usually goes something like this:

“Wow that’s great.  What have you published?”

“Er.  Well I haven’t actually finished the book yet, but I’ve got this great idea and I know how it all ends.  I just need to find the time to finish it.” 

“Oh.  Well what’s it about?”

Now for someone who purports to like using words, this is when they usually fail me.  Things I’ve actually said include:

“It’s an epic fantasy.”  I’m very clear about the epic part.  I once had a very awkward conversation with a real estate agent who thought I was writing erotic fiction…

“Yeah it has dragons in it.”  

“There’s a guy, and his wife died and he makes some bad decisions.”  Wow what a hook.

“Actually it’s a trilogy…”

So as you’ve guessed, I am still working towards the putting together a pitch stage.  But in the spirit of this blog, and the sharing of the writing journey, I have put up a new page about my current work in progress – The Fall of the Kings  It has to be an improvement on the above.

To all the writers out there who might have gone through this awkward phase too, I’d love to hear how you handle the Question.  And for all those wonderful people who have tried to show a genuine interest – thanks.   I’m obviously a work in progress too!


8 thoughts on “Lost for Words

  1. Hi Raewyn,

    I found that awkwardness in the early stages of my ms too. But I had set myself a writing plan and was exceeding my daily word-count, so it didn’t matter what other people said. I was achieving my goal day-by-day and felt good about that. I started writing in January 2009 and now after 15 revisions/re-writes my 132,000-word non-fiction ms is in final edit with my publisher. Apart from tecnical papers and some journal articles I haven’t really published anything yet either, but because I had a writing plan, people sensed my determination to make this happen.

    Early in the process I wrote out a blurb in 4 different formats: a 1-sentence pitch (twitter-length); an ‘elevator-length’ 1-paragraph pitch; a 200-word pitch and a chapter-by-chapter description. This then became my skeleton around which I built my body.

    I started writing book manuscripts many years ago and thereby inspired my wife Gigi to write too. She now has 3 published books and is working on the fourth of a series of eight. (you follow her on twitter).

    I certainly wish you all the best with your venture, and that confident determination to make it happen. That will shine through when people ask awkward questions.

    Albert Sedlmayer

    1. Thanks so much for the encouragement Albert, and congratulations for not only following through with your own writing dreams but for inspiring Gigi too!

      Like you I’ve published a few small articles and written more legal briefs than I care to think about, but my own creative writing has been something I’ve done for fun. So I’m looking forward to the challenge of giving this MS some serious love and attention, setting my own goals and sharing the story when it’s done.

  2. HA! I can totally relate! I had my hubby read the first three pages I wrote and he just handed it back to me like it was nothing–thought my soul had been thrown on the floor and stomped on! LOL! BUT, to his defense, he isn’t a YA reader and that’s what I’m writing–YA paranormal-type. Then I had my 14 year-old cousin and 21 year-old sis-in-law read it and both were dying for more…so that made me feel better–Gotta love trying to explain yourself and your story and WHY you want to write—I always feel like I’m backpedaling for some reason….But the reality is, we shouldn’t be looking for permission to follow our hearts and our dreams. We should be doing it because we want to. 😉 I look forward to reading more of your posts, Raewyn!!

    1. Thanks Jennifer, I have so been there. You LOL about your husband (now), but I totally get it – and it’s even harder when you are writing to a specific audience. One of the nicest responses I ever had was from my Dad who is a lovely man, but in no universe gets the fantasy genre at all. I gave him a few early chapters and he sat down and read them through – and said something along the lines of – “Wow how do you come up with all of this.” Not a torrent of praise, but how much did he love me to spend half an hour reading through something not his cup of tea at all! Keep following your dreams – I’m off to check out your blog!

  3. The dreaded question: what are you writing about?
    I usually try to summarise in a few sentences. Genre, context, main character, overarching conflict/antagonist.

    For example: “Cascade” is a historical fantasy set in a fictional world, which is reminiscent of the Three Kingdoms era of China. Follow Bai Jiang of Li from oppressed child draftee to famous warlord. Are his alliances and strategic genius enough to overcome the tyrannous Li family?

    Maybe having a few sentences to carry round in your head will help you answer the question and get people’s interest. All the best!

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