So here's a question for you: When you mention to someone that you're a (not-yet-published) writer, what do you tell them when they say, "So, what are you writing?"
It's not like you're going to pitch your WIP to a perfect stranger, but sometimes people are genuinely interested. Do you have a quick something-or-other ready to share with people that won't make their eyes glaze over?
Yesterday, the hip dude who checked out my lunch at Whole Foods had the same name as one of the characters in my current project (KALAN), except it was spelled slightly differently (KALLAN). So of course I couldn't keep my mouth shut.
ME: So, do you pronounce your name with a short A or a long A?
KALLAN: *eyes darting to the side* Oh, uh...
ME: *internal dialogue* Holy phonetics, he doesn't know what I mean!
KALLAN: It's KALLAN.
(as in, short A)
ME: Kallan. It's a cool name!
KALLAN: *smiles* Thank you!
(here comes the part where I couldn't keep my mouth shut)
ME: I'm a novelist, and one of the characters in my current novel has your name, except I spell it with one L and it's pronounced KALAN.
(as in, long A)
KALLAN: *face lights up with genuine interest* Really?
KALLAN: Wow! So, what's your story about?
ME: *internal dialogue* Crap.
KALLAN: I mean, what's it called?
(well, that's a little easier)
ME: It's called Sustenance, and it's a YA dystopian novel.
(Which it isn't, actually, but the term "speculative fiction" isn't something to throw around in casual conversation with potentially non-reading strangers.)
KALLAN: *displays much enthusiasm* I'd really like to read that.
ME: *stuffy little chuckle* Well, I'm getting ready to shoot it to my agent, so I'll let you know!
KALLAN: Yeah, I'd really like to read that!
(Then again, what else do you say to an overly chatty writer with a plate of tabouli and oriental noodles and a lovely container of lemon bars?)
So, yeah. I should have known better. Because OF COURSE your declaration of writerhood is going to be followed by silly questions like, "What do you write?"
And you can't exactly say, "Stories." (Well, you could.)
So, what do you say? Or are you smarter than I am, and bite your tongue when young check-out clerks share your characters' names?
I'll be taking notes on your responses; clearly I need help!