Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Ask the Expert

Today, I escorted Miss Boyce to the school in which she is enrolled for kindergarten. While she became acquainted with her teacher and toured the classroom, I spent quality time crammed into a chair sized for a third grader, filling out forms and chatting with the assistant teacher (We'll call her AT, because I love acronyms [Acronyms are distinguished from initialisms because they are pronounced like a word, whereas an initialism is not. NASA is an acronym; FBI is an initialism. Here ends today's grammar lesson.].).

In between detailing transportation arrangements and emergency contacts, AT asked where I work. I told her I work from home. She asked what kind of work I do. "I'm a novelist," I answered.

Her eyes went wide and round. "Really?" she asked breathlessly. "That's... that's my dream. That's what I always wanted to do. How did you do it? What do you write? What kind of training did you have to get? I mean... how did you do that?"

Previously, my sole area of expertise was how to spend all weekend
in one spot, reading. Progress!
At first I was kind of stunned by her reaction. The questions just kept pouring out of her mouth before I could even answer one. The impression she gave was like she'd just tripped over a treasure trove by uncovering my occupation.

AT (I've decided AT is an initialism. "A - T" flows better than "at" with its awkward stop. Adjust your brain-voice accordingly.) wanted to know how I learned to write a novel. She asked how I knew where to submit my work. She wondered about rejection letters, and how an author gets paid. AT had lots and lots of questions.

And I was able to answer them all.

I wouldn't dream of styling myself any kind of actual expert on writing or publishing, but it was gratifying to realize I had good, accurate information to share with someone who wanted to hear it.When I was new to the novel writing thing, I asked all the same questions AT asked me today. I soaked up answers from wherever I could find them, and I was so grateful when authors were willing to share their knowledge.

This conversation kind of gave me a sense of coming full circle. Just as I'm moving to the next stage in my writing journey, I was able to help someone still at the starting line. As I continue to grow my career and develop my craft, I hope to become more useful to the writing community at large.

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