Sometimes I wonder where the line between the truth and another’s feelings should be. Here are a few things that have been said to me about my work. My response or thought, follows.
1. I’ll never let my children read your book. The kids in there are too naughty.
Steve said, after I told him this, ‘She didn’t have a lot of faith in her parenting, did she?’
2. Oh. Contemporary.
Yup. Just dumb, old, sad sack, someone dies and is nekkid, contemporary.
3. That’s what I hate about people like you who say they don’t like fantasy. You just don’t know what you’re talking about.
I considered standing up to this person as this was said in a public place, in front of lots of my friends. But I let it go.
4. I’m not one of these [unpublished] people. My book is the lead title.
For me, humility is pretty important. Being an ass won’t keep you from being popular and rich, but I won’t like you. And neither will some of your contemporaries (who write fantasy! Hahahaha!).
5. You write rated R books.
(I actually liked this, it came from Steve. Still, I was surprised at first because I don’t watch R-rated movies.)
6. Why did you curse in this book?
Uhhhhh. Sorry fifth-grade kid. Ummmmm. ‘It’s life?’
7. I’m just worried you are selling your soul to the devil for money and popularity.
Well, then, my soul is worth pennies on the dollar compared to other people’s souls.
8. Children’s and young adult writing aren’t taken seriously in academia.
Then how do you expect people, who don’t read as children, to read as adults? As far as I’m concerned, we have the most important job of all, no matter what our degrees are.
9. Do you think you’ll ever write for adults?
Only if adults want a story with a main character who sounds twelve.
10. I like so-and-so’s work better than yours.
11. I know she’s sitting right over there, but will you sign Louise Plummer’s book for me?
I will have you all know that I did sign Louise’s book. With my own name. 🙂 Just as the reader asked me to.
12. At ALA a reader came up to me and told me everything I had done wrong in my book, GLIMPSE. She then compared me to a more popular writer of verse-type novels, telling me this other person was a better writer and etc than me.
Laura and Kyra were with me and tracked the girl down. They wanted to beat her up. We argued about it in front of MT Anderson.
13. “I guess you can sign it.” From a young lady who won my book and didn’t want it.
I don’t have to sign it for you.
These are just a fraction of the comments I have gotten. I’m not sure why people feel the need to help us along in these odd ways. And yes, some are funny, but others are painful. And it’s not always from children. Mostly the comments come from unthinking, unkind, educated adults. Sometimes the comments come my fellow writers.
Do they think because we have published a book, we no longer have feelings?
The truth is, most writers are MORE in tune with their feelings than the average bear. Just rewriting these things causes a bit of sting.
There are all kinds of ways to tell someone something about who they are or what they have written. I may not like your book, but you will never know.
Here’s something funny to end on.
I was doing a signing for THE CHOSEN ONE (you have to have read the book to get this).
A long line of librarians waited for me to sign their copies. It was so great, talking to all these men and women.
One came up, clutched the book to her chest and said, “I drive the book mobile as my job. I can’t wait to read this novel.”
I just smiled at her.