I was speaking to an acquaintance the other day and she asked me what I was working on, writing-wise. I told her a new series of contemporary romance books concerning several members of the same family. She floored me when she then asked, “but, what’s it about?”
Really? Didn’t I just say it’s a series of contemporary romance stories about a family? What part didn’t she understand? A series of books? Contemporary Romance? Family members?
Then it hit me.
This chick is not a writer. Of anything. Not letters, not emails, not lists. I don’t think she even writes a check, just pays everything electronically with a swipe of her index finger on her smart phone. And it was me who wasn’t understanding her, not the other way around. If she had been a writer, or even remotely acquainted with some sort of writing, she would have understood the description I gave her. But she wasn’t, so she didn’t. She really did want to know what the book was about – everything from the plot line down to the characters and where it was taking place. To her, that’s what the book was about, not my clinical, yet apt, description.
Sometimes I take for granted that people know what I’m talking about when they ask me about my writing. In truth, the only people who ever understand completely what you are saying when you discuss writing are actual writers. My non-writing friends do not know, for instance, what ARC’s are. Nor do they understand the difference between line editing copy and galleys. To them, ARC is what Noah sailed on – just spelled incorrectly. Writers know it’s an acronym for Advance Reader Copies of books. Line editing I still think is self explanatory(!) and galleys are not the area in the bottom of boats where you cook your meals, but the final copy of your book you need to check for any and all mistakes before it goes to print with those mistakes on the page forever.
I enjoy writing contemporary romances, but I love reading Regencies. I mentioned this to another acquaintance once and she asked, “what’s a regency?” Again, really? Not her fault. Her sum total of reading concerns biographies of celebrities, PEOPLE, and Cosmo. The funny thing is when I explained what a regency romance was and told her some of my favorite authors and titles, she actually became a fan. She asked once if it was possible to turn a regency romance into a contemporary one. Hello! Anyone remember CLUELESS!??
I really do need to have more patience with, and be kinder to, my non-writing friends – of which all my close close friends are. There are so many times, though, I am happy that I belong to the NH Romance Writers of America group and the national RWA. It’s so great to be able to talk about my writing with some people who never require detailed explanations of what my book is about! They get it on the first try.