Tuesday, August 5, 2008

You Might Be a Writer...

In the style of Jeff Foxworthy, here are a few behaviours that suggest you might be a writer. If you notice yourself doing any of these things, and you don't write, perhaps you should consider writing a few stories (before your friends and relatives call those nice young men in the nice white coats):

1. If you've ever listened to a co-worker tell you a tragic and/or horrifying personal story, and thought to yourself (or worse, actually said aloud), "That would make a great inciting incident for my vampire circus book!" ... you might be a writer.

2. If you've ever called a morgue or funeral home because you needed to know how much time dead bodies spent there between death and burial, if they smell like rot or chemicals, or whether it's possible for anyone to break in and give someone's dear Uncle Albert a fresh coat of lipstick and eyeshadow ... you might be a writer.

3. If you've ever lost sleep worrying about whether someone who does not actually exist (specifically, a character you've made up) will be able to survive the upcoming alien attack, repair a broken relationship, or save their one-and-only love from interrogation by terrorist ... you might be a writer.

4. If you've ever drawn strange looks and/or comments in public without knowing why, only to realize you have been talking aloud to yourself for fifteen minutes while you work out the latest plot snag in your WIP ... you might be a writer.

5. If you've ever written an angry letter to a publisher or newspaper concerning the three typographical and grammatical errors you found (and secretly thinking that if YOU had been the one writing the book or the article, there would not have been any mistakes, and what's wrong with publishers these days anyway?) ... you might be a writer.

6. If you have spent hours researching esoteric or specialized information on a certain career, historical event, or industrial process, just so you could get one single paragraph correct ... you might be a writer.

7. If you own more than one notebook full of fragmented stories and scribbled sentence fragments that don't make sense a week after you've jotted them down (or several random documents on your computer consisting of the same) ... you might be a writer.

8. If this sentence makes sense to you: "So I had a request for a partial, and the day after I sent it out two more queries paid off, and now I've got three agents reading material - but I'm still worried about the resolution, so I've been revising my secondary plot thread all week, and I'm thinking about killing off Jeffrey in the climax instead of sending him off to prison." ... you might be a writer.

This is by no means a definitive list of the signs of a writer. Feel free to add your own observations!


Kim Smith said...

... if they smell like rot or chemicals, or whether it's possible for anyone to break in and give someone's dear Uncle Albert a fresh coat of lipstick and eyeshadow ... you might be a writer....]\\\\ LOL you might be a suspense/thriller/mystery writer at that~!!!

thanks Sw... love this!

Aaron Paul Lazar said...

Oh, S.W., this is hilarious!! "Yes" to most of the above! LOL.

"If you ever caused your readers to stay up past 1:00 in the morning, or gave them 'Jenner nightmares,' you might be a GREAT writer, like S.W. Vaughn."

Aaron Paul Lazar said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

What a great way to share the idiosyncrasies of a writer! Very creative - not to mention, true.

Marta Stephens said...

How scary is this? I've done most of these and know exactly what #8 means! LOL Thanks so much for the chuckle. :)

JD Rhoades said...

I love this, and I'm linking to it, if you don't mind.

s.w. vaughn said...

Thanks, guys! Glad it brought a few laughs. :-)

Aaron ... aw, shucks. *blush*

JD, link away! The more the merrier. :-)

Bill Cameron said...

If you start transcribing the conversations of total strangers at coffee shop because, hell, there's some good shit here.

One of my personal favorite transcribed moments, from a woman talking on her cell phone: "When people hear about me, they always think I'm older than I am. Probably because I have so many kids, plus being married so many times. Plus, being a widow. It starts to add up, let me tell you." She listened for a while, then added, "Oh, sure, 35 is young to be a grandmother. You don't have to tell me."

Anonymous said...

Very late to this -- while you're dining out and ask your guest who's in finance how do you launder money, anyway? and then wondering why your guest nearly loses his dinner and nearby diners are listening intently.

or while you're being strapped to a gurney groggily asking the rescue personnel for their card bec you could really use a good source and would love to speak with them after surgery ...

or also while dining out ask which poison was it again that works really, really fast and dissolves quickly in which liquid?


Beej said...

My addition would be:
"if you have ever spent time in a cemetery doing research... you might be a writer."

"Should you you find people at the coroner's office are just so very nice and helpful..."

BookLady2911 said...

You might also be a writer if:

1. Someone has stopped you in the middle of your plot explanation to say, "This is fiction, right?"

2. You have ever agonized over how to make your villain someone readers will love to hate.

3. Each of your stories has ten or more separate drafts.
4. You have ever taken a personality quiz as your character.

5. You own every "how to write a novel" book ever written.

6. You have stared at a blank screen for 10 minutes, searching for the perfect hook.

7. You have ever told a character to shut up.

8. Half the time, you laugh because certain hacks have book deals. The other half, you cry because they got them and you didn't.

9. Going to a bookstore makes you want to go home and type your fingers off.

10. You have ever felt total frustration because it seems like all the good plots are taken.

11. You agonize over character names.

12. Formatting is a form of cruel and unusual punishment.

13. You have ever ruthlessly edited your own story.

14. You have ever said, "Can I borrow that?" and used it in a story.

15. Your characters have ever taken over your story.