My mention of steak knives in my last post obviously touched a nerve (I realise that's a slightly nervous-making metaphor, but never mind) so, in conversation with a few of my fellows, I've been rounding up the most annoying things we get asked. Alternative answers and questions gratefully received. (And you'll find I've dropped the funny-word-verification-thingy. If I get bored with deleting spam I'll have to put it back)
Top Five questions that drive aspiring writers mad:
Q: Hoping to be the next JKR, eh? A: Well, I wouldn't mind her money, but I hope I write better than she does.
Q: Isn't it only celebrities who get published these days? A: No. Look at the debut novel prizelists: not a celebrity in sight.
Q: What makes you think you'll ever be published? A: Because I'm very, very good.
Q: I've always thought my life would make a good novel, I just never have the time to write it. A: A page a day is a first draft in a year. Go for it.
Q: Why don't you write something you could sell to Hollywood? A: Because they do films. I write novels.
Top Five questions that published writers try very hard to be nice about, because they're honestly (if ignorantly) meant:
Q: Hoping to be the next JKR, eh? A: Well, I wouldn't mind her money, and she can tell a good story, but I hope I write better than she does.
Q: Where do you get your ideas from? A: The obituaries.
Q: Will you read my novel? A: Well, that's how I earn part of my living: would you like me to send you my fees list?
Q: I've got a great idea for a novel. How about I tell you, and you write it? We could divide the money. A: I'm afraid I have more than enough of my own ideas to deal with.
Q: So how much did it cost you to get published? A: No, they pay me.
Top Five annoying things I've been asked since I first started writing:
Q: Hoping to be the next JKR, eh? A: Well, I wouldn't mind her money but...
Q: What period do you write? (even other writers ask this) A: Whatever takes my fancy.
Q: You must have made lots of money, haven't you? A: Well, I've been much, much luckier than most debut novelists. It divides out to rather less than the minimum wage.
Q: Do you think you'd have been published if you weren't a Darwin? A: Yes. I've always been a Darwin, but I only got a contract once I learnt to write a good enough novel.
Q: Will you sign my copy of The Origin of Species? A: No. I only sign books I've actually written.