A Novel Idea

Writers are strange people.

Posted on: June 5, 2010

Writers are strange people. I can say this because I am one.

This week I sat in a room full of wanna-be writers, listening to published writers talking about their journey.

I’m currently gluing my glutes to the chair everyday to meet the wonderful but crazy goal of becoming a paid and published writer by midnight on the 13th April 2011.

I’m doing everything in my power to make that dream a reality (everything ethical and affordable that is).

I saw the event advertised and immediately booked a spot. Right now I’m a sponge in an ocean of information. It didn’t cost me anything to attend, I hadn’t even heard of the writers before, but I didn’t care.

My attitude is if someone has achieved something you dream of; find out how they did it.

But writers are strange. Writing is strange.

Both retain their mystery, sometimes gracefully, sometimes wilfully.

Wanna-be writers are stranger.

I took a seat in the back. I like to observe.

Actually, my nail polish is chipped (I’ve been crafting prose all day, personal grooming takes a back seat). The writers are seated on pedestals at the front of the room so I’m hiding my hands and my eagerness in the back row.

The writers talk about themselves in turn. Nothing new here. A mixed bag of success on first attempt and multiple rejections. There’s no one way to become a published writer.

It’s Q&A time.

An older lady, in the front row, who arrived twenty minutes late and made lots of noise on arrival, now asks a question. Only she hasn’t actually asked a question. She’s spent five minutes complaining about how she was about to be published but then the house got cold feet.

She keeps rambling.

The audience is muttering. She’s over stepped the unspoken time limit and she’s promoting her own work, in a most uninteresting and annoying fashion. The man to my left grumbles to his friend ‘not her again’. I tune out.

The woman in front of me has a hideous mushrooming jacket slung over the seat. I can’t actually cross my legs without nudging it. The girl next to her has died black hair stuffed into a short ponytail. It reminds me of a docked dog’s tail. Her neck is sturdy. It bears a tattoo: 31.08.06.

What happened on the 31st August 2006?

She’s not wearing a wedding ring. She doesn’t look old enough to have children.

Why would you tattoo a special event date somewhere you can’t see it?

My imagination runs away. Maybe she doesn’t know it’s there. Drugged and tattooed. No that’s totally unrealistic. Someone would ask her about it the first time she put her hair up.

A balding man in unassuming grey manages to interject with another question. It’s not particularly interesting. But the audience relaxes as if they were one long breath out.

The tattoo is bugging me. It’s not even in a nice font.

It’s like a bar code or a Nazi branding. I’m freaking myself out. I was going to ask her about it but now I don’t want to know the answer.

Mostly I would just prefer to create the answer.

Writers are strange. Some are intriguing. Just so long as the work is.

Write well. Write often.

V.

(C) Copyright of the author. 2010.

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9 Responses to "Writers are strange people."

Sounds like you had a good people watching session if nothing else. Though, now I’m also wondering what the tattoo might be for.

Yeah, writers are strange people. I think it’s because since we write, we are (a.) used to rambling on in text (like I am now), (b.) we are used to giving creative, sometimes odd descriptions to describe something, and (c.), we have creative things happen when we write, so we come up with creative explanations for normal things (or not so normal things, like tattoos on people’s necks).

I say the tattoed girl is a human replica and the date is the date she was manufactured 🙂
Yes, writers are strange people but it’s those like you, who are wanting to learn that make it in the end because you’re more open to seeing what you’re doing wrong. I’ve met plenty who have written a first draft that’s rubbish and they have started submitting to agents and getting rejections, well, what did they expect?

Cool idea. Did you watch the recent version of Battlestar Galactica?

Actually no, so if I have guessed part of the plot, it’s just one of those lucky coincidences, now you’ve made me curious so I’ll go look it up…

I am intrigued – in a macabre, grotesque way – by the tattoo. Being pleasantly side-tracked from my own novel-writing and stumbling across your blog, I have a sudden urge to throw aside my carefully crafted plot and forty thousand words to embark on something new: a story about a sturdy-necked woman with the 31.08.06 tattoo. What could it mean I wonder?
•She had a horoscope chart prepared and was told that her perfect lover would appear on that date.
•She killed a man on a boat on the last day of winter in 2006.
•She dreamt she would die then and wanted to tempt fate.
•She had her first novel published on that date.
•A religious zealot, she wanted to be easily recognizable to the gods of her cult when they came to rescue the faithful.
•It was her release date from goal.
Lovely descriptive posts. Enjoyed reading them. Good luck with your quest.

Wow. Thanks Karen.

Best wishes for meeting your goal by 13.04.11

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