Authors and readers are a bit different. Let’s face it. We’re not what people would consider normal. More often than not, we’re inside our heads, thinking about a scene, or thinking about the book we just read. And you know, I’ve always been fine with that. But its those people who don’t live inside their heads like we do, who might not understand.
The other day I was standing in line at the grocery store. A woman who lives close by was in front of me. We said the obligatory hellos, but then I fell silent, slipping into my head to plot out a scene from my newest work in progress. It was only after she left that I realized perhaps I should have tried to make conversation. Had she thought I was rude? I’ve been told before that some people think I’m either shy, or stuck up. It’s neither, I hope, its just that sometimes I’m talking to the characters inside my head.
And when I’m not inside my head, I’m observing. Authors take notes from real life. Many times we’re listening in on conversation, taking notes on how people react to a situation and what people say. So don’t be surprised if you find us staring as you and your husband argue. We’re not nosey, just doing research.
But there is something to the introvert stereotype. It’s no surprise that many writers are reclusive. We spend all day alone, with little interaction with “real” people. And we kind of like it that way. We’re with our characters, in a safe environment called out minds. I’ve been to many writers conferences were an author is standing off in the corner, barely talking.
It’s hard not to take offense, to think they’re conceited, but most likely they’re just feeling unsure, or perhaps plotting. So don’t be afraid to talk to an author. But once we open up, beware. It’s an avalanche of suppressed conversation. Suddenly, we’ve got someone “real” to talk to. I once kept my poor neighbor outside for 30 mins. I’d been inside alone all day when I’d gone to get the mail and he happened to be nearby. Even though I could tell the man was trying desperately to get away from me, for some insane reason I couldn’t seem to shut up.
So tell me, how do you label yourself? Are you reclusive, shy, talkative?