Monday, October 15, 2012

What's it like?

Adrienne here - posting a few days late , apologies. I was checking out our nifty new digs here and looking through some of the archived blogs, and realized that some readers could possibly think we Evil Writers can be a bit...well, angry. It's true, writers get frustrated with things, I think partially because our profession is so misunderstood by those on the outside. Problem is, those on the outside are our readers; part of the symbiotic relationship that helps us to exist. However, when we hear the same questions asked of us over and over by non-writers, it can get a bit tiresome, namely because what we do is often treated flippantly. Why? Because it is entertainment, and entertainment is something people feel fully entitled to judge - as they should. It's subjective. But when you're the one producing the entertainment, you kind of prefer that someone actually READS what you've created before trying to categorize or pass judgement on it.

For instance, the dreaded 'Will I like it?' I have an author friend who goes absolutely ballistic when someone asks this. "How the hell should I know? I'm not in their head, I don't know what they like and don't like!" I usually ignore the 'Will I like it' question, because it's nothing more than a grab for power from someone who gets that you, as an author, will always be in the defensive position. You have poured yourself into a work of art, and now others are within their rights to judge it, as every single one of them are potential audience members. I always sort of see them like this in my head when they smirkingly ask these type of questions:
So what's my own personal pet peeve, when it comes to 'annoying potential reader questions'? For me it's 'What's it like?' Now you may be thinking, but Adrienne, that's a perfectly fair question, they want to know what the book is about before reading it! But no, they didn't ask what it's ABOUT. They asked what it's LIKE. And I've learned that this is where they want to draw a comparison to something that already exists. Writer advice columns will tell you this is a good, acceptable thing, even when querying, to say your book is akin to some other well known story or author. But out in the world, meeting new people or even mingling with those you're already acquainted with? It's annoying as hell. I recently had the 'What's it like' from a curious party guest, and explained that the book in question had beings from another world, visiting a modern city here on Earth. "So it's like Men in Black," they responded. No. NO! It's NOTHING like Men in Black! Men in Black did not corner the market on aliens coming to our planet. It's KIND of a huge genre, actually. There's that anger again...but we get this sort of thing all the time. If it's fantasy, it must be like Harry Potter. If there are two guys camping in the woods, it's Brokeback Mountain. If it has vampires, it's Twi--no, I won't even say that, as some of my fellow members here may find that cutting a bit too close to the quick.

Bottom line, no matter how familiar some of the themes may sound when describing our story, it's not LIKE anything else. Because it's ours. It's unique, and we want you to have a unique experience while reading it. That's our job; to give you an experience that's nothing quite like what you've had before. So if you want to know what our book is like, maybe you should just read it. Or not read it. Your call. But when you stand there smirking at us with your thumb teetering like Joaquin Phoenix in Gladiator, before you've even read one page, quite frankly, it makes us want to punch you in the face. And takes great restraint not to do so.

4 comments:

  1. I think mine is, "How's it selling?"

    DIE IN A FIRE.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yessss! I doubt there's another profession where people feel so entitled to peek into your bank account.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Mad TV had a Asian guy that said 'It's like... it's like...bubbles...'. Or was it some other such show? Either way...

    'It's like...it's like...bubbles!' With a smile, of course. Always with a smile. (Smiling tends to scare people. Lol)

    ReplyDelete

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