Today we have a guest post from the lovely Mae McKinnon!
So you have yourself an author. Now what?
There are many types of authors. In fact, there are as many different types of authors are there are people being authors and then some, because, being creative beings, they’re quite capable of seeing a different point of view, or two, or ten, all at once, but I’m getting ahead of myself. Some require more attentive care, while others, like weeds, will flourish everywhere and anywhere, including where you least expect them.
After many years of studying this elusive creature – the author – I’ve come to the conclusion that there are some attributes that are shared, to a greater or lesser extent, across the field
If your author is staring vaguely ahead, making “hmm” noises in random places in your conversation or has managed to finally fish their pen out from between three notebooks, a jar of phoenix oil, two crumpled up ticket stubs and a shopping list last seen in 2001, leave them alone or they might be prone to biting. Better yet, bring them another cup of something hot and some nibbles and tiptoe gently away.
Unexpected interruptions are amongst the five highest reasons why you might see your author begin to amass blankets, books and walls in an effort to create a writing den where the world stays firmly on the other side of the walls.
Questions and statements such as “you said you’d be finished three hours ago!”, “what d’you say we go to the beach tomorrow?” and “did you see where I put my wallet?” are highly discouraged and will often illicit a gruff response which should not be taken personally.
“Excuse me, I think your leg is on fire!” will receive the same response, but there are times when you must brave your author’s personal space for their sake.
Seemingly random cries of “SHINY!” or “PRECIOUSS!” is a good indicator that you have acquired a fantasy author. These are easily distracted *and* completely absorbed in their work. This isn’t a contradiction. In fact, it’s perfectly natural and just means that your author is hard at work and it’s *not* an invitation to interrupt with questions about what they want for dinner.
It’s important to supply your author with a good editor in addition to their normal diet. This will reduce the amount of being woken up in the middle of the night by your trusted companion having nightmares about commas and fanged grammar sites chasing them. It also contributes to a glossy coat, reduces stress and gives your author someone to talk to that understands what they actually mean compared to what they’re saying.
Bookshops, especially well-stocked larger stores or small second-hand shops designed as a maze built out of books in various stages of falling apart, are excellent if you need to park your author somewhere for several hours.
Warning: You may have trouble retrieving your author again.
If you’ve got four legs, fur, and are known to go meow, woof, whuff or eeep, you will already be an expert in how to best distract, comfort and confuse your author. For best result, we encourage you to place yourself where you can achieve maximum amount of disruption to your author’s writing while obviously still having their best interest at heart.
Sitting on the keyboard has been called the ultimate strategy but should only be attempted when you know that your author has not hit the save button yet.
- Staring vaguely into space.
- Building up a small collection of hot tea or coffee next to them and only remembering said beverage when it’s grown cold.
- Forgetting to eat. This is a frequent occurrence, especially if your author is drafting, editing or writing. Please feed your author regularly after midnight for best result.
- Walking into things. The more stationary the better.
- Talking to themselves, characters, plants, pets, furniture or, should all other intelligible conversation be exhausted, to other human beings.
- Attraction to the nocturnal (steaks rather than stakes will keep your author healthy).
And last, some nuggets of wisdom gathered by our trusty field operatives…
- Encourage your author with words, their favourite cookie and scratches behind their ears when they’ve finished that manuscript/draft/paragraph.
- Make sure there are plenty of your author’s favourite pens, papers, treats and toys at home.
- Be ready with a hug or five when your author is feeling dejected. Rejections has been known to hit many authors very hard, but some days even just waking up will have a similar effect.
- Ask what your author’s book is about or how it’s going or go “gosh, I haven’t seen you in three years, didn’t you use to scribble back in the day?” unless you’re prepared for the consequences.
- Bring your author to social gatherings without ample warning and an escape route planned in advance.
- Forget to feed or exercise your author regularly.
Remember, an author is for life, not just for Christmas!
Mae McKinnon is a fantasy and Sci-fi author and, is a rather peculiar creature herself. This is a tag she wears proudly. She’s got a penchant for dragons, and really, really wishes she could send her Muse to obedience training. When not busy being dictated to be her characters or tearing her hair out at their latest antics, she enjoys crafting, painting, and reading and a whole lot of other things ending in –ing.
She is the author of many titles, including: Academia Draconia, The Damsel and the Dragon, High Fyelds: A New beginning and High Fyelds: The Big Race as well as You’re a dragon – a gamebook