Do I laugh or cry?

A selection of recent conversations. You may either want to laugh or cry, maybe do a bit of both.

“What are you so busy with these days? You’re always saying you’re busy.”
“I’ve been writing.”
“Writing?” Insert look of surprise. “What kind of writing? Novels, short stories?”
“Both actually. I’ve already written one novel, I’m in the middle of a second–”
“Really? When’s the first novel going to be published?!”
“Well, I’m still working on revisions of the novel, but I do have a short story coming out.”
“In a book?”
“A real book?” (meaning paper)
“Yes, an anthology.”
“Hey! I’ll buy a copy. Can I find it at the bookstore?”
“Um, you can only buy it online, it’s a small press…”
“It’s only available online?”
“It’s a small press.”
“Oh ok, so what’s it about?”
“It’s horror.”
Conversation ends and no one talks to me anymore.

“I heard you’re writing a book! That’s so exciting! Wat’s it about?”
(It’s a mix of fantasy and science fiction, rather weird, I want to say instead) “Fantasy.”
“Oh, like JK Rowling, stuff?”
“Um… no.”
“So do you have a publisher lined up? When’s it coming out?”
“Um, I’m not sure. I’m not done editing…”
“OK, well just tell me when it comes out in stores!”
End conversation.

“Hey how’s your novel coming along?”
“Good! Almost done! I’m working on one last round of edits.”
“Oh really? Which round is this? 2nd? 3rd?”
“Nope. 7th.”
Stunned looks of horror all around.


  1. Wait, you have a story coming out in a publication?

    I feel like I would remember that if you had mentioned it… am I just that forgetful?

    Either way, congratulations! Are you able to reveal details, yet?

    Interestingly, I never get comments like these when I talk about my writing. As if… nobody actually expects me ever to get published… or something… I don’t know. I just know I never have conversations like this.

    1. I plan on posting the details next week! I believe I only mentioned it in passing. And thanks!

      It’s odd I’ve had all these conversations within the last few weeks. Half comments from, people I didn’t expect to know I was writing at all! Hehe you’re lucky then. I’ve found it quite awkward.

  2. No tears or laughter for the second conversation. That’s just a normal exchange; I’d just move on. I seldom get invested in what feels like platitude conversation. Sometimes I jump on them and clarify with excruciating detail, those poor bastards.

  3. That’s why I don’t talk about my writing very often with people who aren’t writers. Even my mom, who I love to death, will call on a weekend and ask “Do you want to grab lunch and a movie or are you doing that writing again?” I can see the eyeroll from across town. After two years of this “writing thing” sucking all my spare time, she’s running out of sympathy. Thank God my boyfriend and daughter are supportive. 🙂

    1. T. S. Bazelli Author

      Sounds like my parents! I really don’t talk about it much, but people have been getting tired of the ‘I’m busy’ excuse lately. hehe (I live like a mole person these days! Sunlight? What’s that?) So thankful the husband is supportive. He was skeptical at first, but it makes me happy – which ends up being much to his benefit LOL We all need a few cheerleaders 😉

  4. Haha.

    It’s like people who aren’t writers or don’t really understand the writing process just…don’t get it. I only know two people who I can talk to about it (aside from other writers, that is) without getting that “you write fantasy…?” look. All everyone else cares about is (a) whether I’m done with my project and/or (b) if I’m published. Not really interested in the process itself.

    Eventually, they just seem to stop asking…lol.

    Oh yes, and congratulations on you short story publication! ^_^ Can’t wait to hear more about that.

  5. Oh, laugh definitely. They would say the same thing to Stephen King or Shakespeare. They read (apparently, so at least they have that going for them), but they have no idea what goes into producing the stuff they read. Imagine what they’d say to a movie director.

    The bass player in my first band used to talk about the people in the audience, “Just remember, they’re all civilians out there. They have no idea.”

    I look forward to news about the book. Also, these days it’s kind of charming to find people who think books in bookstores are more legitimate than books you buy online. At least they go to bookstores.

  6. With you & Stephen getting published, I’m thinkin I need to get my move on over here in amateur-world… ~:( lol

    Non-Writers and Writers. Tsk. What can we say.

    One of the questions I don’t like to answer: “What’s your book about?” I’ve taken to the advice I once heard, and respond cryptically, “Oh, people n’ stuff…” And don’t you love how everyone thinks that just because you wrote a book you automatically get published? That’s SOOOOO not how it works!!!

    Ha ha, guess you hit a certain chord with me here 😀

    I told someone today that in the story I’m writing, the bad guy is turning out to be mostly misunderstood, and the response was ” .”

    Yah. Exactly.

    1. Yup the expectations really do amuse me LOL. My answer is pretty cryptic too: “it’s fantasy.” I’m not even going to try and explain steampunk… or I’ll end up with the same reaction you get.

  7. Ha ha! I have had _very_ similar conversations.

    One friend, bless him, when I first told him about my writing and showed him the fully completed, print copy of The Mechanician’s Apprentice start to flip out. “So you’re going to rich? You’ll give me some of your money won’t you? And you’ll let me come stay on your private island? I can’t believe this – I’m going to be friends with a rich writer!”

    And I’m still struggling to describe steampunk to people not in the know. “You the Victorians right? Well now imagine they had more advanced technology, stuff like robots. That’s steampunk.” I usually then have to explain why there aren’t any actual punks involved. (:

    1. You know, that’s an excellent description… but unfortunately you then would have to go into a whole explanation on the punk aesthetic. LOL too bad you can’t just send them a link to wikipedia or Stephen’s blog!

      I don’t know where people get the idea that all writers are rich!

  8. Brad

    These conversations are telling, and I think some of you may be missing an opportunity to understand what your stories are really about. Star Wars is science fiction fantasy (I guess?) but that means nothing to me, it’s better to say it’s about an orphan who discovers his father is evil and must destroy him.

    That may not be what Star Wars is about, but my point is non-writers can only relate to stories in a way that they are accustomed to, which means typical real-life situations. That’s why themes, or rather plots like: fish out of water, rags to riches, boy meets girl, there and back again, tragedy, always work. Everyone can relate to rags to riches. It doesn’t matter what the genre, rags to riches is always just that, a story of overcoming odds to become a success (however that is defined: could be a sporting achievement as much as a bank account value).

    So what is Ms. Bazelli’s book about? I don’t know. From your earlier description, it sounds like it’s about a girl who learns the awful consequences of not following her heart, even when powerful and smart people are telling her otherwise. Kind of a “truth perseveres” type of plot but I’m basing that solely on your paragraph of pitch. Maybe you can tell me? (in layman’s terms)

    1. Oh if someone was really interested, I’d tell them, but in most cases the tone of these is mildly patronizing, and or just something to say.

      That is a good way of explaining it without getting mixed up in genre discussions.

      I’d say it’s a story about a woman taking charge of her destiny, and doing what she thinks is right, even if it means being pegged the villain instead of the hero.

  9. And the cycle continues! I hate having conversations like that. They never end and they never change. I’m hoping it’ll get better once I’m actually published.

    I am genuinely interested in knowing when the short story comes out though! Would love to see it in a real anthology 🙂

    1. It’ll be out on the 20th! I’ll post all the details here. 😀

      And… I suspect that when you’re published you’ll just have another set of funny conversations hehe, I doubt anyone not actually in the industry really understands much about how it works.

  10. Harry Markov

    Now I’m inspired to share my awkward conversations with people. Though mine are not as cringe worthy as yours. My colleagues from the office seem generally interested in what I’m doing or so they act. Can’t tell whether it’s not paranoia.

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