I dread going to writer’s club meetings for one reason – the question. And that is, ‘What do you write?’
It’s a natural question, no more intimidating than, ‘What do you do for a living?’ or ‘Are you married?’ or ‘Do you have children?’ Although, come to think about it, people don’t much like those questions either. They’re used under the guise of harmless conversation, and we all default to them from time to time. But the truth is that they are tools used to assess the character, status, quality, etc. of the new acquaintance. Similarly, judgements fly following the dreaded, ‘What do you write?’ Of course, no one lets on. People smile and nod with looks of intent fascination as you prattle on about your chosen field. But here’s what they’re really thinking:
Literary fiction? Sure you do, honey.
A World War II novel? God if I have to read another one of those…
Fantasy/Sci-fi/Steam-Punk/Historical Fiction? Oooookaaaay……
Upmarket fiction, eh? In other words, you don’t have a clue, do you?
Ah, well. The answer is, I suppose, that I need to get a spine. I need to lay it on the line, or admit that I don’t know, opinions be damned. And, I should take heart. I should remember that the guy asking the question might be just as clueless as I am.