Tuesday, March 25, 2014

I, uh, well . . .

There is one question that most writers hate to answer.

"What sort of stuff do you write?"

That, and, "What do you like to read?"

The answer to both is, "EVERYTHING."

But we can't say say that, because the person asking us is probably looking for specifics. But then, as most of us do, we start to ramble.

"Well, I write a lot of fantasy, but sometimes I get tired of that, so I try to branch out by writing dystopian, sci-fi, romance, short stories, poems, horror, medieval fantasy, middle-grade, YA, picture books, fan-fiction--especially Harry Potter fan-fiction--non-fiction, historical fiction, contemporary, and any combination thereof. Oh, and I have a blog."

Then sometimes they ask what I blog about.

After I figured out that I was just substituting the answer, "EVERYTHING" for a longer version of the same exact response, I started coming up with shorter answers.

"I write a lot of fantasy. Mostly middle-grade. Kids are fun to write for."


"I've been writing a lot of young adult contemporaries recently. I'm trying to branch out a little."


"I've been experimenting with poetry. Our local library's annual poetry contest is coming up, and I really want to submit something great."

I have to stop myself from saying, "But that's not all I write! I also write [insert extremely long list here]."
Because how can I sum up what I do every day in just a few short sentences?!

Even questions like, "What have you been writing recently?" is hard to answer, because every day I write something different. Every. Day. Some days it's a blog post like this one, other times it's a chapter of my YA dystopian novel, and sometimes I edit my YA medieval fantasy novella. But I can't just say, "Hmm, mostly fantasy, though I write other stuff, too."

But after a long, long time of getting this question and not knowing what to say, I've finally come up with the perfect response.

"Do you want the long answer or the short answer?"

How about you? How do you answer these questions? Leave a comment!


Rich said...


Connecting to the soul said...

Hehe, I loved your post. It seems I have been asked this most recently in fact, my answer is simple I write Christian lit. Whether its devotional or story, it will ( for the most part) have Christian theme. And I can now say that without feeling guilty


The Magic Violinist said...

@Rich ;)

@Debi I envy your ability to be concise! It seems like even when I try to make my answer short, I end up expanding on my response way more than I should.

Boquinha said...

I like this post. That is a hard question to answer for someone like you for whom the answer is "EVERYTHING." Saying that sounds too broad, but explaining everything detail by detail might seem too specific or long to you. For the record, I never mind the long answer. :)

The Magic Violinist said...

@Boquinha Good to know. ;) But now that you've said that, prepare yourself for very. Long. Answers.

Emma said...

And then the other dreaded question: What's your book about? Please, people, I know you're trying to be friendly. Don't ask that question unless you honestly want to know. In which case you will be ok with a one sentence summary that doesn't make sense and has to be followed up by a long explanation that leads to a three hour storytelling session in which you'll get the whole plot, told out of order, and any random backstory that pops into my mind or that you ask about.

The short version: What do I write about? Fantasy. What's my book about? A girl at a school of magic (run by an insane murderer). Depending on who you are, you may or may not get the second half of that sentence.

Emma said...

Sorry, didn't mean to write my own post in the comments. ;) Great post! I love your solution!

The Magic Violinist said...

@Emma I get a lot of those, too! :P I don't mind that one as much, though, because at least they're asking me a specific question rather than the broad, unanswerable one.

Dr. Mark said...

"Everything" seems reasonable to me. It accurately reflects how diverse your talents and interests are. And if it requires the long answer, so be it. It's more interesting that way anyway.

The Magic Violinist said...

@Dr. Mark Ha ha, I always think it's interesting to get a long answer from other writers, but I doubt everyone thinks that. ;)