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  1. #1

    Stupid things non-writers say

    Mini-rant (not enough coffee yet this a.m.):

    My Dad, who is well-meaning but a bit self-absorbed and clueless, inspired this "stupid things to say to a writer" thread. Any time the topic of writing comes up (which is not often because I refuse to talk about it these days), he says, "You know who's made a lot of money writing? Harold Robbins! You could be like him!" Yes, he's said this more than once.

    Um, yeah. You'd think he'd at least pick a better, or at least more recent example, like Dan Brown. Not that either of them write litfic, romance, or food essays (my genres).

    The pathetic part is that he has no clue what I write, nor does he bother asking me (like I said, self-absorbed). Oh, and he's never even read Harold Robbins's books. If he did, I don't think he'd be so eager for me to write "like him."

    So, what are some stupid things people have said to you (besides the trusty "I want to write someday" or "I could have written [insert name of story here] if I had the time")?
    Last edited by Bubastes; 11-29-2006 at 07:08 PM.
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  2. #2
    A flowering bud of bitchiness TrainofThought's Avatar
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    I try to stay away from writing topics, but a month ago my aunt asked the title of my book. I told her the title with others sitting around and she said, along with another, “What? I don’t know that word. I don’t like the title, so you need to change it.” Being the smart a$$ I am I responded, “I don’t care whether you like it or not. If you don’t know the word, you definitely aren’t part of my target audience.” She shut up, we moved onto another topic and I doubt we will be discussing my book again.

  3. #3
    Mr Mojo Risin... DWSTXS's Avatar
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    non writers idiocy

    Quote Originally Posted by TrainofThought View Post
    I try to stay away from writing topics, but a month ago my aunt asked the title of my book. I told her the title with others sitting around and she said, along with another, ďWhat? I donít know that word. I donít like the title, so you need to change it.Ē Being the smart a$$ I am I responded, ďI donít care whether you like it or not. If you donít know the word, you definitely arenít part of my target audience.Ē She shut up, we moved onto another topic and I doubt we will be discussing my book again.

    Well....that reply was genius! I would loved to have been sitting there, watching the tense-ness meter peg over into the red.....LOL

    Me, I would have probably told that person to go buy a dictionary.
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    Tenacious to a fault francist44's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrainofThought View Post
    I try to stay away from writing topics, but a month ago my aunt asked the title of my book. I told her the title with others sitting around and she said, along with another, ďWhat? I donít know that word. I donít like the title, so you need to change it.Ē Being the smart a$$ I am I responded, ďI donít care whether you like it or not. If you donít know the word, you definitely arenít part of my target audience.Ē She shut up, we moved onto another topic and I doubt we will be discussing my book again.

    Lol. Spot-on!

  5. #5
    practical experience, FTW wazzujim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrainofThought View Post
    I try to stay away from writing topics, but a month ago my aunt asked the title of my book. I told her the title with others sitting around and she said, along with another, ďWhat? I donít know that word. I donít like the title, so you need to change it.Ē Being the smart a$$ I am I responded, ďI donít care whether you like it or not. If you donít know the word, you definitely arenít part of my target audience.Ē She shut up, we moved onto another topic and I doubt we will be discussing my book again.
    Too funny!

  6. #6
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    "I have a great idea for a book! You write it and we'll split the money."

    "Gee, you must be rich!"

    "I've always wanted to write but I've never had the time."

  7. #7
    Back and on track Kudra's Avatar
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    Here I was celebrating my personal rejection from a big-time editor, and this silly non-writer person says, "But it's still a rejection, right?"

    Sheesh. You think they'd learn.

    (Maybe I'm the stupid one. )

  8. #8
    practical experience, FTW aghast's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by James D. Macdonald
    "I have a great idea for a book! You write it and we'll split the money."

    "Gee, you must be rich!"

    "I've always wanted to write but I've never had the time."
    add to these - anything i have read, and are you famous? like, duh - oh yeah get that 'are you going on oprah' thing a lot

  9. #9
    Working on 2nd WIP SherryTex's Avatar
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    Ouch.

    Okay, so your Dad thinks you should write like Harold Robbins, might ask why? Better yet, ask which book. Might tell him why you like writing what you write. Show him one of your recent pieces and ask him what he thinks --after he's read it.


    What's the title TOT? You just lost what could have been a sure buyer of your book by not being gracious of her ignorance. You could have told her what it meant and why the title fit so perfectly and then she would have learned a word, learned more about your book and perhaps been intrigued enough to go home and tell her friends about her niece the writer who would be published soon.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by SherryTex
    Ouch.

    Okay, so your Dad thinks you should write like Harold Robbins, might ask why? Better yet, ask which book. Might tell him why you like writing what you write. Show him one of your recent pieces and ask him what he thinks --after he's read it.
    He hasn't read anything by Harold Robbins. He just sees the money.

    The only Robbins book I've read is Descent From Xanadu (I read it when I was a teenager). It was unintentionally hilarious.
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    Who? TrickyFiction's Avatar
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    While discussing the possibility of including a novel project into my curriculum, my professor suddenly gets all hush hush and says, "We'd better be quiet. Anyone could steal your idea."

    Good grief.

    My father: "You should try to emulate Dan Brown. You know, write another Da Vinci Code."
    Last edited by TrickyFiction; 11-29-2006 at 08:47 PM.

  12. #12
    Pegged Out AW Moderator Ol' Fashioned Girl's Avatar
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    "A writer? Oh. So... um... what do you do?"
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    practical experience, FTW mmallico's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ol' Fashioned Girl View Post
    "A writer? Oh. So... um... what do you do?"
    We party like their is no tomorrow and laugh at the idoits who buy our books. Here's your sign.

  14. #14
    Sky isn't falling, ground is rising Del's Avatar
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    My mom won't read my work because I call it horror. She says she thinks I'll be too gorey. So I asked her "who's your favorite author?" She said Jonathan Kellerman. So I go find a book by JK. The first chapter has a series of mutilations and same gender sex.

    "MOTHER! Why do you read this crap?"

    "He uses short paragraphs."

    I write about monsters. He writes about a detective. I guess it depends on who is doing the mutilating. Go figure...

  15. #15
    Horror Man seun's Avatar
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    This isn't so much a stupid statement than a stupid idea. Non-writers have an idea that writing takes a lot of time but if I say I'm busy writing and can't do something else, they're surprised. It's as if I can do both at the same time or writing is less important than anything else.

  16. #16
    In the Yellow Woods
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    Where do you get your ideas?

    Little shop down the road's running a special on them. Buy one, get one free.
    I am returning this otherwise good typing paper to you because someone has printed gibberish all over it and put your name at the top.

    Professor of English, Ohio University.

    Pedantic Alert: The above is quotation #689 from Michael Moncur's (cynical) Quotations.

  17. #17
    Two years old now. Lyra Jean's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xhouseboy
    Where do you get your ideas?

    Little shop down the road's running a special on them. Buy one, get one free.
    I'm totally going to use this one next time this question is asked of me.

    So is that sentence grammatically correct cause I think my stepmom who's third language is English has better grammar than me. Is that sad or what?
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    taking the road less traveled by... uncommonspirit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seun View Post
    This isn't so much a stupid statement than a stupid idea. Non-writers have an idea that writing takes a lot of time but if I say I'm busy writing and can't do something else, they're surprised. It's as if I can do both at the same time or writing is less important than anything else.
    To be fair, in the everyday world it is possible to multi-task your work with other tasks. Most people do not realize that creative art takes place in parts of the brain that should not be disturbed during the process. That zen-like feeling where stories spring up from. Not having experienced it, they have no concept.

    This attitude is not just for writers, but for every type of artist. If a person doesn't have the spark that drives to create, they will never truly understand. We are like creatures from another world to them. I think that artists also tend to not accept the scheduled thinking of the corporate world, we march to our own drummers. Another gap between us. In the corporate world, worth is measured by money and power. In the artist community, worth is measured by what you create. Two ideas that don't quite mesh.

    I find that I just take a deep breath and remind myself that these non-creative people are my possible future customers. Their function is to buy. Mine is to create.
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    wow

    Quote Originally Posted by Delarege
    My mom won't read my work because I call it horror. She says she thinks I'll be too gorey. So I asked her "who's your favorite author?" She said Jonathan Kellerman. So I go find a book by JK. The first chapter has a series of mutilations and same gender sex.

    "MOTHER! Why do you read this crap?"

    "He uses short paragraphs."

    I write about monsters. He writes about a detective. I guess it depends on who is doing the mutilating. Go figure...
    Short paragraphs? I'm unable to fathom that as a definite attraction one way or another.

  20. #20
    practical experience, FTW
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    Quote Originally Posted by Delarege View Post
    My mom won't read my work because I call it horror. She says she thinks I'll be too gorey. So I asked her "who's your favorite author?" She said Jonathan Kellerman. So I go find a book by JK. The first chapter has a series of mutilations and same gender sex.

    "MOTHER! Why do you read this crap?"

    "He uses short paragraphs."

    I write about monsters. He writes about a detective. I guess it depends on who is doing the mutilating. Go figure...

    My mother used to read Stephen King, and Koontz, and I read the same books growing up. She said; I have never read a book, where the author uses swears! (Yes, she did read King, but apparently forgot what a pottie mouth he has.)"You need to take that out of your book, or nobody will even look at it. Let alone publish it."

    Ha ha, okay I quit!!

  21. #21
    Pasture-ized slcboston's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Delarege View Post
    She said Jonathan Kellerman. So I go find a book by JK. The first chapter has a series of mutilations and same gender sex.

    "MOTHER! Why do you read this crap?"
    Oh, hey, I know that book. And in defense of your mother (and the author, whom I do enjoy and would not qualify as "crap" as opposed to any number of other authors out there - okay, ranting here) most of the Alex Delaware novels are short on gore.

    Perhaps your mother isn't the only one being unfairly judgemental?

    (I know this was posted MONTHS ago but I just got around to looking in this thread. Unless I've been here before, which I don't think I have...)
    Last edited by slcboston; 04-30-2008 at 08:35 PM. Reason: delay of post
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  22. #22
    So, is that a no? Dix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Del View Post
    My mom won't read my work because I call it horror. She says she thinks I'll be too gorey. So I asked her "who's your favorite author?" She said Jonathan Kellerman. So I go find a book by JK. The first chapter has a series of mutilations and same gender sex.

    "MOTHER! Why do you read this crap?"

    "He uses short paragraphs."

    I write about monsters. He writes about a detective. I guess it depends on who is doing the mutilating. Go figure...
    This one is so choice! Made me laugh out loud.

    (So, okay, I came late to the thread and was reading 2006!)

    After all these years as a writer, I do understand the frustration in what you're all saying, but I've also learned that in many cases, though naive, it's well intentioned. Like Bubastes' father. At least he's not trying to be discouraging like some of the others are.
    Last edited by Dix; 09-24-2011 at 08:25 AM.
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  23. #23
    Murder isn't so bad...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Del View Post
    My mom won't read my work because I call it horror. She says she thinks I'll be too gorey. So I asked her "who's your favorite author?" She said Jonathan Kellerman. So I go find a book by JK. The first chapter has a series of mutilations and same gender sex.

    "MOTHER! Why do you read this crap?"

    "He uses short paragraphs."
    So this is 6 years late, but I've never read this thread before... To this, I say:


  24. #24
    windblown and wicked SuperModerator Stew21's Avatar
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    I was at a local tavern (hometown hangout) and was with some friends. I was talking about writing my first MS. One of my friends is a beta reader for me. Some old guy that drinks too much and talks too much says, "hey! You could put us in the book! That would be great! There's gotta be a place in there for you to put all of us here in that book! This place is something special. You could write it and even use our real names."
    :head smack:
    "It's chick lit. I really doubt 5 drunk guys at the tavern down the street would have any bearing on the story."
    "Well you could write it so it takes place in this town and then you could put us in."
    Thankfully someone distracted him with a subject change to sports.

  25. #25
    Great chieftain o the puddin'-race SuperModerator Haggis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stew21
    I was at a local tavern (hometown hangout) and was with some friends. I was talking about writing my first MS. One of my friends is a beta reader for me. Some old guy that drinks too much and talks too much says, "hey! You could put us in the book! That would be great! There's gotta be a place in there for you to put all of us here in that book! This place is something special. You could write it and even use our real names."
    :head smack:
    "It's chick lit. I really doubt 5 drunk guys at the tavern down the street would have any bearing on the story."
    "Well you could write it so it takes place in this town and then you could put us in."
    Thankfully someone distracted him with a subject change to sports.
    Hey. I always have the same 5 drunk guys in everything I write. Do you suppose that's what's been holding me back?
    Quote Originally Posted by swachski View Post
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