Many writers have asked along their journey that age-old question: “How do I know when I’m really a Writer?” The stock answer is, “if you’re writing, you’re a writer”. You don’t have to be published. You just have to be writing.
But it seems like there’s more to it than that. There must be something that designates The Writer. I set out to determine what that certain something is. After extensive and exhaustive research (i.e. I just made it all up, rather like I do the historical facts in my novels), I am ready to present the world with my conclusive findings.
Survey says the Number One Answer is:
Yes, my friends, it’s true. You cannot be a *real* writer unless you have at least one, and preferable several, of these furry, infuriating, mouse-munching mammals that we love to love even while all the time they hate us, wandering about your office, lying provocatively on your keyboard, or batting idly at the quill pen in your hand (depending on your writing style). Much like the old saying “The clothes make the man,” it’s equally true that the cat makes the writer. And evidently the more cats, the better the writer.
I’ll pose a prime example. I know a writer, whom I shan’t name for fear of insulting her cat. I’ll call her Lydia. Lydia began her writing career cat-less. She managed even so to finish a manuscript, centering around glittery unicorn romance. She sent out query after query, to no avail. Glittery unicorn romance, she was told, was passe. Perhaps she'd like to try vampires instead?
Ah, but our Lydia wasn’t to be defeated. She decided that she’d done enough revisions. Instead she got a cat. Immediately the Unicorn Love Story was snagged by a high-powered agent at a major firm. Three days later the agent sold the book, in a 17-book deal as a pre-empt, to a major publishing house. Lydia was soon rolling in Rolls Royces and basking in bijouterie. Her cat, whom I’ll call Fido just to ensure there is no way you can identify this marvelous creature, ate caviar kibble every day and hired other cats to catch her mice.
Now Lydia decided that, since she was on a roll, she’d add to her collection. She acquired, by means unknown and best left unexplored, three more of the wonderful creatures we call cat. And look what happened.
Lydia didn’t even have to write another book. Publishers, hearing of her coup, simply loaded up wheelbarrows filled with cash and had them delivered to Lydia’s doorstep. Several, seeing which way the wind was blowing, bestowed upon her gifts of solid gold litter boxes. Lydia’s fame and fortune grew and grew, rather like a particularly pesky hairball.
But alas for poor Lydia. The cats, being the fickle creatures that they are, deserted her. Now she’s back to querying her latest manuscript, a literary novel entitled “Angels, Come Home”, and haunting the pet stores to find just that special cat which will catapult her back to the top of the literary litter box once more.
So as you pursue your vocation of writing the great American novel, make sure you understand that knowing the basics of grammar, style, and voice will only get you so far. But a good cat can take you right to the NYT’s Best Seller List.
In closing, I’ll leave you with just a bit more of my research results. Based on the type of genre fiction you write, here are some examples of the type of cat you should endeavor to have acquire you:
Hard-Boiled Mystery -- A randy Tom who prowls the night-time fences
Pirate Peril – A one-eyed mouser with a penchant for a little ‘nip.
Romance – A slinky Siamese.
Kinky Romance – Two slinky Siamese.
Cozy Mystery – A fluffy calico.
Fantasy -- A Cheshire cat.
Paranormal Romance - A Chesire Siamese
Paranormal Romance - A Chesire Siamese
Keith W. Willis is the author of the fantasy/adventure novel Traitor Knight. He once had a cat, but is no longer so blessed. This may explain a lot of things. You can contact Keith at Writing@Knight.