From the Writer's Board
Issue # 2: 03/01/01
and Using Language in Fiction
know you've made it when...
the clerk in a bookstore who is taking your check recognizes your name and
realizes you might be at least related to someone whose books he stocked
the clerk where you've been buying books for five years suddenly makes the
connection between you and his end-cap display.
your new next door neighbor has heard of you.
your old next door neighbor has heard of you.
your parents stop suggesting you get a real job.
checks arrive before the rent is due.
you don't rent, you own. Outright.
you see someone you don't know reading one of your books in a public
you've stopped worrying about money.
you've stopped worrying about your sales numbers.
you've stopped worrying about whether your next manuscript will sell.
you've started worrying about tax shelters.
telling the maitre 'd your name results in a table better than the one
next to the restrooms.
any of these happen, I'll figure I've made it.
-- Holly Lisle
These are a few posts taken from the Forward Motion Writers' Board. I hope you enjoy them!
decide to treat yourself one day, and so you go buy the Writers' Digest
book "Body Trauma: A Writer's Guide to Wounds and Injuries." And
then you spend the evening lounging around in bed reading it.
-- Bryn Neuenschwander
Your pots have burn scars on the bottoms because you thought you'd
"just write a paragraph or two" while the water boiled and then
you forgot about the pot...
You steal ideas from your own dreams
You buy a Latin/English dictionary just so you can make up neat-sounding
Something bizarre, dramatic, and/or faintly unpleasant happens, and you
secretly think "This would make SUCH a great scene in a
you worry when you *don't* hear voices.
you make notes while reading fiction, and you're not a student.
-- Katherine (Kewms)
You shake your head over the poor narrative flow in technical reports.
When people ask you about your work-in-progress, you get so caught up
telling them all the backstory that you never actually get around to
summarizing the plot.
You see obscure reference manuals like "Guide to Deep-sea
Invertebrates" in the bookstore and think, I really need to get that.
Your idea of a jackpot Christmas is getting pens, notebooks, printer
cartridges, and an ergonomic keyboard.
And you definitely know you're a writer if you find yourself agreeing with
and contributing to "you might be a writer if" lists!
-- Beth Adele Long
You try to piece together the not-terribly-important-and-only- sketched
history behind a story...only to find that given dates are wildly
inconsistent or the whole thing's self-contradictory. And it ruins the
whole book for you because it's a testament to the author's laziness.
-- Jeff Burke
Your family won't watch movies with you because you always see what's
coming next plotwise... or confuse them by telling them what SHOULD have
When you're sitting somewhere quietly, not bothering anyone, your SO says,
"Will you just stop writing for ONE minute!"
-- Dona Vaughn
You can't watch a movie without mentally trying to figure out how it might
be written if it was a novel.
Your friends introduce you to people at parties as "the girl who's
always got a pen in her hand -- *please* don't ask her what she's
Your friends don't bother to introduce you to people at parties, because
they know you're just going to sit in the corner writing, and no one will
notice you anyways.
Your power goes out and you're so desperate to make your writing goal for
the day that you sit with a flashlight and write the scene out longhand.
When you can't get any editing done at home, you e-mail chapters to work.
No one understands what you do anyway, and you look like you're doing real
You hear the word 'sleep' and wonder what people are talking about.
-- Vicki McElfresh
You say 'I'm sorry, my mind's on another planet today,' and quite
literally mean it.
There are tear marks down the side of your space-bar
from that last tragic scene.
read that and initially space-bar meant a place
near the spaceport where off-duty ground engineers drink and fugitives
arrange to get off planet quietly. Doubly so if you started drafting the
-- Bob Billing
You get a brand new dictionary and your sister tells you to leave it in
the car when you go into the restaurant to eat because you keep trying to
read it like a novel . . .
The WIP-labels (or report-writing, for those in non-industrial fields) you
have to do at work remind you of all the writing-time you're
"wasting" for a paycheck.
You start to think you need another alarm clock, so you can set it to go
off when it's time for you to get ready for bed/work.
You start weighing time with your friends/family against that exciting new
story idea/outline you want to work out...
When you get stares from people who think you're schizophrenic---and
you're actually working out important dialogue in your WIP.
You have to remind yourself to suspend disbelief while watching an action
movie because you're pretty darned certain no one can do that.
-- A. Shelton (Zaiud)
you find staying up 'till 3 in the morning to get into the right mindset
and banging your head into the computer "fun."
You've ever woken up ~on~ the keyboard at 3am...<g>
-- Jennifer St. Clair Bush
And then turned it into a scene where the heroine dozes off at the
controls of a spaceship.
-- Bob Billing
actually have woken up at the keyboard...
dozing in the chair at 5 a.m. after pulling an all-nighter.
-- Jim Mills
you wake up at 4 a.m. and turn on the PC to write a scene or two because
you can't get back to sleep.
you sleep all afternoon so you can stay up at night and write.
you plan your writing activities around your spouse's (or significant
other's) work schedule so that you can spend time with that Spouse/S.O.
(alternately, you plan your writing activities around any other real life
activity. You do remember what real life is, don't you?).
people keep asking you when you're going to get a job. (I wonder if they
ask Steven King that question?)
-- Jim Mills
You're single and you realize that interest in any possible significant
other has to at least equal if not surpass interest in your writing.
A. Shelton (Zaiud)
you try to look a word up in the dictionary, only to remember that you
invented it yourself.
went out one evening and couldn't shake the feeling I was underdressed ...
because I wasn't wearing a sword.
was a walking stick and a cloak, but I know what you mean.
-- Jennifer St.Clair Bush
You can look up at a starry sky, and point out exactly where your
-- Bob Billing
People dress up as your characters--and it's not even Halloween.
You have a hard time finding nice, normal names for your characters.
You've exhausted the entire baby name book for your stories. Twice.
Your writing awards are on display in the National Museum.
Your agent needed to be taken under the Witness Protection program--other
agents are killing to get his job.
You get calls from writers asking if they can worship at the Temple of
you create a really bad, thin plot, then make millions and sail the seas
in your luxury yacht with your adoring readers as crew, and laugh as
people and even barmy Hollywood idols snap up your books and do courses in
your works at ludicrous prices and accept them as fact.
-- Damon M. Lord