Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Adventures in Writing





Have you ever wondered what people think when you mention you write romance novels? Over the years, I've watched people's reactions and have made a couple of observations which I'd like to share.

The most wonderful reaction is the delighted expression followed by the question, "What's the name of some of your books?" Even better is the person who says, "I've read your books." It's enough to make you want to hug the individual.

Then there are the friends who shake their heads and claim they don't know how you do it. Often these people will ask about the latest book, and sometimes they'll even buy it. Another hugging occasion?

Of course, there are those who want to know where you get your ideas and those may or may not be that interested. No hugging there.

The reactions I hate are from those people who look like they are looking down their noses at what you do. Their comments can hurt. (Definitely no hugging!) I've seen disgust mirrored on faces, followed by comments about not reading that kind of trash, to snide remarks about anybody can write one of those silly things, to the one I hate the most. "Why don't you write a real book?"

Arguing with an individual who has already determined what you do has no merit, is worthless. They already have an opinion, and it's often set in stone. The temptation to tell them to just try and write a romance is something I battle every time I hear that kind of negative reaction. I've learned it's part of the business, and it's one an author has to accept.

But the reaction that has the steam rising is the leering comment asking if romance writers all practice the stuff in their books. I bite my tongue, because I really want to tell them to mind their own business, but I try to smile pleasantly and say, "I did tell you I write fiction, didn't I? If I write a scene where I kill off a character, that doesn't mean I've actually killed someone, does it?"

However, the one reaction a romance author, and probably most authors, get over and over is the one I have a pat answer for. When a person says, "I could write a book. In fact why don't I tell you my story and you can write it for me." That comment is usually followed by, "My life (experience, situation, whatever) is really interesting."

My answer, after hearing this comment, is " Why don't you try to write it yourself? It will sound much better coming from you.?" A couple of times people have actually asked how they might go about getting started. I'll never know if they try to write that book, but maybe my comments will someday lead to a best seller. You never know.

I'd love to hear what kind of reactions you've gotten when you say you write fiction.

Allison
Heart-warming Romance with a Sensual Touch

4 comments:

Big Mike said...

You think you get weird stares? You should see the looks I get as a 300 lb moose writing romantic suspense. Like they've been hit by a 2 by 4.

Michael Davis (Davisstories.com)
Author of the Year (2008 and 2009)
Award of Excellence (2012)

TKToppin said...

Yeh, I've been getting some similar reactions of late. Mostly because I'm a female writing science fiction/action. First the don't believe me, then they glaze over when I mention its SF on not proper fiction, then I just shut up. And I also get that last bit, where people tell me their life would make a good story. Like you, I tell them the same thing. But of course, it depends on the person and their attitude, where after my mental eye-roll, I just smile and say something encouraging.
Great post!

TKToppin said...

Sorry for the typos...my keyboard's batter is about to die...

Julie Eberhart Painter said...

I've had those reactions, too. But the most upsetting is the one to my first novel, now out of print and rightly so.

I had a vivid abortion scene in that book -- friend of the heroine, with grizzly results. (I use the word vivid because my 90-year-old friend told me "that's exactly the way it was then.")

My husband's coworkers had read the book and asked me at the company picnic if I'd really had an abortion.