Wednesday, May 9, 2012

It Happened...

At work, standing in the cafeteria lunch line, it happened.  A server left his station, walked to the serving station in which line I was waiting and asked, "Are you the one writing the book?"

I nearly fell in the floor!  I made him repeat the question, certain I'd misunderstood it.  "Are you the one writing the book?" he asked again.

Hiding my grin was impossible.  "Yes.  How did you know?"

"Jenn told me."

Jenn is a coworker of mine in another department.  I'd let her read my prologue the previous week.  She told me she liked it, but you know how that goes.  All your friends like what you wrote when they're talking with you about it.  Perhaps she really did.  Or perhaps she was just impressed that I had actually completed my draft.  In any event, it made me feel like a...ahem...writer.

And it felt good!

I don't even need to tell you what the next question was, right?  Anyone who has finished a book (even the first draft) knows the next question.  "What's it about?"

So there it was.  The question I've pondered answering for months.  I've wondered what I'd say, how badly I would answer and whether I'd leave them shaking their heads acting like they understood what I was telling them.

"Well, it's an epic fantasy."  Quickly, I moved to dispel the blank look already forming.  "It's kind of like Lord of the Rings."  Whew.  The nod of comprehension.  I don't need approval, but understanding is crucial.  This way, they can walk away with an inner giggle muttering, "Ha!  The guy thinks he's Tolkien."  That much is acceptable.

So, what makes it even better?  The other server joining the conversation and asking, "Is it like Eragon?"

"A little," I answered.  "It's got dragons."

"I loved Eragon," he told me with a smile.  "When you get it published I'll have to buy a copy."

Then it was my turn to smile.  Yes, folks, it felt mighty good indeed.


Do you have similar stories you'd care to share?

25 comments:

  1. Nice! You're already marketing your book and you didn't even know it. :)

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    1. Interesting...I hadn't even thought about it like that.

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  2. Yay! I'm glad you had such a great experience. I generally don't enjoy talking about my story with non-writers, but I guess it would be better if I did. You never know what kind of connections you can make!

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    1. Not to mention different perspectives!

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  3. Interesting how word gets around. A little bit of limelight makes things right.

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  4. Nice! You're already marketing your book.

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    1. So it would seem. If a writer markets without realizing it, does he still get brownie points?

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  5. Awesome! I usually bungle my way around it and I can see them mentally making a note not to ever ask about it again.

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    1. Oh, that is my big fear. I don't need them to *like* my premise, genre, etc., but I do feel a need for them to at least understand it if they ask. Kinda like the old song from my school days, "Oh, Lord, please don't let me be misunderstood." LOL

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  6. I have some great friends who are also BETA readers. They are super nice and probably have no idea what they're talking about when they say they love my book.

    Still, when we're together and all discussing characters I made up, it makes me feel like a rock star.

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    1. That's because you ARE a superstar, Emily! You've earned it with all those hours of laborious, loving creativity. Enjoy it to the fullest!

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  7. I bet it felt good! Now, finish that book.

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    1. I'm receiving some very good alpha-reader feedback so far and the manuscript is heading to an editor on May 25 for content/developmental feedback. After sewing my baby back together then it'll be time for some line/copy editing and then the real work begins. And even all that work sounds exciting too. (I must be delirious!)

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  8. I haven't had that yet, so I'm envying you right now. Keep going with that book!

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    1. Wow, don't think I ever been envied before. The Bonding will be undergoing edits by this time next month. In the meantime my May NaNoWriMo with the Fantasy Writing Yahoo group is in full swing with the word count going toward Alpha Among Dragons. Deep in the recesses of that which I like to call my mind is percolating plot for The Bonding's sequel. So many words, so little time. So much magic, so few keys...

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  9. That's awesome. I find whenever people find out I'm a writer, they are instantly interested. My theory is that a lot of people have a secret novel inside of them, but few will embrace the unknown and let it out.

    Angela

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    1. I believe you're on to something there, Angela. I find myself immediately asking people about things they've done once they reveal it. Case in point would be running marathons. There's a part of me that would like to do that, but know I never will, due to a lack of willpower, discipline, etc. I like to learn what makes them decide to do it and follow through with it.

      And I'm a firm believer that everyone has a story to tell.

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  10. Being forced to answer questions about your novel makes you think about it in a whole different light. Just being able to narrow it down to one or two sentences really helped me figure out what I could get rid of and tighten up the manuscript. Amazing how these little exercises really play into the whole process (query, logline, synopsis, etc.)

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    1. Yes it does. It's difficult to condense over a hundred-thousand words into a couple dozen, but it's an excellent exercise on so many levels.

      Glad you stopped by!

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  11. My novel is releasing in August and word is starting to get out and you're right the first question about the book feels great, but that second "what's it about" one has me caught like a deer in highlights. As soon as I start describing the book I feel so pretenscious! It's terrible - I need to get better at that!

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    1. Oh yes, I'd read so many people talking about that "What's it about?" question and pondered and pondered, but figured I had much more time to prepare than what I actually had. I guess it just goes to show that we should all be "good little boy scouts" and always be prepared.

      I kept thinking, "What is it I'm supposed to say now? Elevator pitch? Three sentence hook? Back of the book blurb?" LOL. Deer in the headlights is waaay too accurate an analogy.

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  12. LOL, yes! It's even worse when you start describing and they instantly look glazed - whoops, clearly not going to be a reader/fan! :-)

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    1. Too true! Instantaneous fear factor moment when that happens. The scariest thing of all, I think, is that I'm probably going to fumble just as badly the next time I'm asked!

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    2. Well, if Gladwell's 10,000 hour rule applies, in about ten years I should finally get over it :-)

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