I don’t want to write your story.
If you’ve seen the tale on my website, you know that I came to writing late in life. The blush has far from worn off—I’m still thrilled every time I get fan mail or someone comes up to me at a book store and says “I love your novels.” I still take my books down from the shelf and run my fingers over the smooth covers and sniff the binders.
I live in Connecticut. Those of you who are from other parts of the world may be picturing rolling lawns and stately homes full of people with PhDs sipping white Merlot. Yes, those places exist in Connecticut. But where I live, it’s a firmly blue-collar area. Local restaurants serve chicken wings and pizza and not much else. Red Sox vs. Yankees arguments are more common than literary discussions.
Don’t get me wrong—I love it here. But when I go down to the local bar and grill and someone finds out that I write books for a living, I often get one of three reactions:
Disbelief (Yes, but what do you really do?).
Shock and awe, followed by an admission of not having read a book since high school.
A sudden, feverish look in the eyes, followed by a request for my business card.
It’s the third one I have to watch out for. I’ve learned to ask, with as much subtlety as possible, why they want it. Because, often as not, it’s because they have a book idea for me.
These fall into two categories (I love lists. Can you tell?):
He, his uncle, or his next door neighbor has such an amazing personal story that if I will just write it down, the book will be a GUARANTEED NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER. Sorry to shout. It’s just that they always use those exact words. Always.
Occasionally there’s a third option, particularly if the venue is a bar and even more particularly if the party concerned has got what my Uncle Avery used to refer to as “a snoot-full.” This is the person who proceeds to drunkenly spew out said GUARANTEED NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER’s plot, and then becomes paranoid that I am going to run home, write it down, send it in, and become a gazillionaire.
Like most writers I know, I have folders and folders, both real and virtual, full of my own book ideas. I’ve written them on the backs of envelopes I found under the seat of my car, in the margins of magazine pages ripped from ancient copies moldering in waiting rooms and in countless notebooks.
I’ll never get the chance to write all these books, even if I live to be 150. Because I’ll always be getting more ideas.
If you have a book idea that’s a GUA (I stopped myself this time.) just dying to be written, then I think you should write it yourself. And I’m not being snotty here—I mean it.
It’s not as hard to write a book as you think. After all, I did it.
Walk into a big bookstore and take a look around. Some human being wrote every one of those books. They weren’t all (trust me on this one) geniuses. And you don’t have to reinvent the wheel – you can stroll over to the writing section of that store and find books that will tell you how to structure a plot, create believable characters, write sparkling dialogue, and even how to get it published afterward.
Hey, I know. I credit my published status to the first book I picked up when I made the decision to write my story down: Writing a Romance Novel for Dummies by Leslie Wainger, a book I highly recommend.
So, sorry, I don’t want to write your book—not because it wouldn’t be amazing. It’s just that I’m busy working on my own. As for your book:
I mean it.
Toni’s web site: http://toniandrews.com/
Where to send your Self Addressed Stamped Envelope to get a signed book plate for your copy: http://toniandrews.com/CryMercyTour.htm
Toni’s Blog: http://tinyurl.com/ToniBlog
Toni’s TV show: http://toniandrews.com/SoManyBooks.htm
Cry Mercy Trailer: http://tinyurl.com/75vl4s
Book Rx, Toni’s “Book Doctor” service: http://toniandrews.com/BookRx.htm