by Julie Larsen
So recently my social interaction with other human beings has increased dramatically and there is something new that I’ve come to realize. (Something I probably should have realized earlier.) There are a lot of people who know absolutely nothing about writing! It may seem hard to believe when your by yourself writing or when your on social writing sites with other writers but a lot of people know nothing about writing. Many of them are just like I was before I began writing. I think back on all the things I didn’t know about writing like that MC stood for Main character. I didn’t know what scene’s were and I didn’t know exactly what plot points were. I didn’t know the differences between specific genres of writing. Sometimes its hard for writers to tone down their writing slang and jargon when talking to people who have never done anything with writing except what’s required in school. Non-writers talking to writers about writing is the same as an author talking to a dancer. Unless you’ve done some considerable dancing you most likely will have no idea what their talking about. So I’ve come up with 3 things you can do to talk to non-writers.
1. Try to tone down the jargon.
I know that this is the hardest thing to do but try putting yourself into their heads. Most people know only about writing what they learn in school. They know the terms Main Characters and Plot and Climax. They understand Rising Action, Falling Action, and Resolution. But unless they took a more advanced class on writing or are an avid reader they won’t understand that the Exposition and the Denouement are the same as the Setting and the Resolution. Sometimes placing yourself in their heads is the best thing you can do. This point is the hardest to do but the next is a little easier.
2. When explaining the plot of your novel explain by plot points for long version and explain by dust jacket for short versions.
I know one of the scariest things for writers is when people ask the dreaded question. “What’s your story about?”. Every writer hates when people ask this question. Let me make this problem easier. First, ask them in a polite way whether they would like the short version or the long version of the story. If they ask for the long version then go by each plot point and tell them the story. Depending on the length of your story a plot point by plot point description can take a really long time. One time a discussion I had with another writer lasted a full 3 hours and that was only her book. It was a 6-7 hour discussion to get both our book descriptions and they were quite an enjoyable 7 hours. But most people who ask you will be non-writers who only want a short version. Anyone who’s ever read a book has read the back dust jacket of a book right? They’re usually a small synopsis only explaining who the main character is and what conflict arises. Try to think of how those are written and explain your book to them as a dust jacket description. This makes the question very easy to answer.
3. Remain polite and levelheaded.
As a fangirl I know that its hard to explain things about writing when you get excited. You begin to get super happy and sometimes that throws people off when they talk to you. You have to remember that a lot of the people who ask what you’re writing ask more out of politeness than curiosity, unless they’re a writer or reader themselves. Being polite to these kinds of people is hard because they don’t really care and sometimes their attitude about what you’re writing isn’t always the most polite, sometimes staring off into space when you talk. But you just have to put yourself into their head again. If you weren’t a writer and you liked something like, for example, politics, then when someone starts to talking to you about writing you might not really care at all. So being polite and calm is one of the most important things when talking to non-writers.
So now that you have these 3 tricks to talking with non-writers maybe your social interaction will raise greatly now that you kind of have an idea of how to deal with these types of people. Thanks for reading another post about the rambling of my thoughts.