Everyone knows writers are odd little creatures. They burrow themselves in fantastical worlds, their bloodstream is caffeine, and they simultaneously hate and love killing characters. WRITERS ARE WEIRD. And easily frustrated. There are hundreds of lists on what not to say to your resident writer in case they a) hate you, b) grind their teeth, or c) despair of your intelligence, or d) kill off a character you love.
So what CAN we say to writers that won’t cause them to screech in agony??
Do not despair. I’m here to help. (I’m awfully wonderful like that.) I have a list of things you should (and regularly) say to writers to make them love you…or at least tolerate your existence.
1. “YOUR WRITING IS SO INCREDIBLE I’M GOING TO REREAD IT UNTIL MY COPY FALLS APART AND THEN I’M GOING TO STICKY-TAPE MY COPY BACK TOGETHER AND SLEEP WITH IT UNDER MY PILLOW.
You should definitely say this to writers. It’s all very well and good to say “I like your book” but what does that even mean these days?! Do you “like” it meaning you’re mildly interested? Or do you “like” it as in you’re going to marry the book and sleep with it clutched to your chest?
So use this phrase (word for word, okay?) and make sure writers know EXACTLY what you mean.
2. “I KNOW YOU’RE WRITING AT THIS MOMENT, SO I’M GOING TO NOT TALK TO YOU.”
Bless you, BLESS YOU. Because, surprisingly, no, writers do not like someone blathering in their ear while trying to work.
3. “HERE, I BOUGHT YOU YOUR FAVOURITE SNACK, AND I’M WILLING TO BE YOUR SLAVE AND MAKE YOU ANY SNACK YOU LIKE, SO HERE’S A LITTLE SILVER BELL TO RING WHEN YOU NEED A REFILL OF MINI RASPBERRY CREAM CHEESECAKES.”
This phrase is like singing the golden song of the nations. Writers will ADORE you when you commit to their stomach’s enslavement. Books don’t pop onto the screen by willpower alone. They’re fuelled by delicious snacks or coffee or tea. Basically, don’t even talk unless you’ve got an offering of food.
4. “I’M IN AWE OF YOUR TALENT, PASSION AND COMMITMENT OF BEING A WRITER.”
It’s not an easy job, okay?! Writing is finicky. Some days you can’t even force it, which can really put back the daily quota wordcount. And plus it’s exhausting. Writers literally live THOUSANDS of lives! It’s like acting, but you have to be all the characters. This takes passion, and a ton of commitment. And, gee, if someone accuses you of being talented, don’t knock it.
5. “YOUR SADISTIC WRITING BROKE MY HEART AND MADE ME SOB, YOU HORRIBLE GUAVA BRAIN.”
Fact: writers drink tears of readers for breakfast, with a side-dish of pure heartbreak.
6. “OH YOU FINISHED THAT DRAFT OF YOUR NOVEL? WE SHOULD CELEBRATE! LET ME TAKE YOU OUT FOR COFFEE AND CAKE AND PERHAPS BUY YOU A SMALL ISLAND IN THE BAHAMAS IN CONGRATULATIONS!”
Finishing a book is HUGE! And it totally gets brushed over with a “well, good job” when really, writers should be celebrated for each and every draft. Although, I admit, if you buy an island after ever draft you’re liable to have a busy life of island-management ahead of you (especially if you write a lot of drafts).
7. “ARE YOUR CHARACTERS MISBEHAVING? WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT?”
Don’t say this unless you DO want to talk about it…but, honestly, there is unimaginable healing in talking about a problem. If a writer is stuck in the worst block of their life, sometimes talking through it will fix the problem. Writers just want you to listen. Maybe comment. Mostly listen. You should probably bring more snacks though. And who are we kidding? DON’T TALK, JUST LISTEN.
8. “I SHIP SO-AND-SO.”
YOU ARE SHIPPING CHARACTERS IN THEIR BOOK?! Ohhhh, it is a GLORIOUS morning. For starters it means you care about the characters and you’re seeing potential matches and chemistry which means…the writer is doing it right. HUZZAH. And it’s also amusing when you ship the wrong person. The writer can sit back and chuckle quietly while preparing canons to sink your ship.
9. “I CAN’T STOP THINKING ABOUT YOUR BOOK, TO THE POINT WHERE IT’S KEEPING ME UP AT NIGHT BECAUSE I’M OBSESSING ABOUT THE SAFETY OF YOUR CHARACTERS.”
There may be gleeful, sinister laughs involved after this phrase coming from writers. But this is a grossly underused phrase and, honestly, memorise it now so you’ll have it on hand to use when your author-acquaintance is around.
10. “WHEN YOUR BOOK IS PUBLISHED I’M GOING TO BY, LIKE, 3 COPIES, AND THEN I’M GOING TO BUY ALL MY FRIENDS COPIES, AND THEN I’M GOING TO BUY A FEW BACK UP COPIES AND JUST THINK EVERY CHRISTMAS TIME I’M GOING TO GIFT EVERYONE YOUR BOOKS.”
Oh. YES. Writers love you, they do, particularly if you’re a friend or family. But they will love you even more if you give them money. And why buy one copy when you can buy 9?
Now I hope you’ve learn some valuable lessons from this post. Obviously you know not to say crippling things like “why aren’t you published yet” and “your book is dumb” and “I’ll always like Sarah J Maas better than you”. DON’T SAY THOSE THINGS. Use my list. Use it lavishly and liberally. Keep those little writers typing because what would we DO if they stopped?! Keep the writers happy! GO FORTH AND SUPPORT THE WRITERS EMOTIONS.
want to add to my list?! what are some other phrases that you should definitely say to writers? ADD THEM IN THE COMMENTS. also: which of these phrases do you like best?
Cait @ Paper Fury
…is currently plotting a book by lying on the floor and thinking about it. At least, she was thinking about it and then she just realised she was staring aimlessly at nothing with a blank brain. Oops. When not lying uselessly on the floor not-plotting, she’s thinking about braving Mistborn.