Thursday, September 21, 2006

Guest Blogger: Maya Reynolds and Writing Off Reactions

BS Chick: Maya Reynolds recently sold her first novel to NAL, does the speaking circuit and still finds time to run an ever informative blog, so I was delighted when she offered to guest blog here. Here's her take on writing, responses and reactions, which seems to reinforce my Mama's advice, "When you walk into a room immediately identify all possible exits. You never know when you'll need to get the hell out of there."

"Coming Out As A Writer" by Maya Reynolds

He says that he is often asked about things he rarely worries about: the covers to his books or movie rights. He tries to move the conversation to the actual craft of writing by asking, "Tell me about YOUR book." The response is always the same: "Oh, I haven't written it yet."

I’ve had that experience over and over. It used to be that, when people asked me how to find an agent or publisher, I’d ask questions about the genre of their manuscript or the type of agent they were looking for. These days--wiser and more cynical--I ask, “Do you have a finished manuscript?”

Frequently, the person making the inquiry is taken aback. "Can't I just send my idea?"

I shake my head. "Sorry, you need a finished manuscript first."

This is the point in the conversation I dread. About half of them then say,
"I could give you my idea, you could write it, and we could split the profits 50/50."

This is the also the moment when I seek a distraction that will permit me to escape. I'll say something like, "Gosh, don't those appetizers look good,” or “Oh, there’s that best-seller I’ve been wanting to read.” Once the other person turns his head, I’m outta there.

What I really want to do is say, "Hey! Writers WRITE. That's what they do. That's why they're called writers."

But I never do. I just smile and nod and look for a good place to hide.


David de Beer said...

Shouldn't that be:

I give them a mysterious smile and an enigmatic nod?

Bernita said...

Surely they are not serious?

Anonymous said...

To quote Meg Ryan, "yes, Yes, YES!"

At least they'll split the profits 50-50 with you. The best I've been offered is 60-40.

Great guest blog. Thanks for the laugh.

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