Saturday, March 19, 2011

Just Curious....

At a Pampered Chef party I attended last night, two ladies I didn't know were talking about rural postal routes.

I couldn't believe my ears.

In my WiP there's a minor character who's a rural postal carrier. And here I had EXPERTS sitting in the same room! Brilliant!

I swallowed my shyness and asked one of them some questions about schedules and the US Mail sign they put on the top of their cars. It's not a huge part of my novel, but I wanted to make sure I had all my facts straight. Everyone knows there's no better source than a first-person source, right?

(The lady I interrogated probably wondered why I was so curious about rural postal routes.)

I didn't tell her I was writing a novel. I don't mind being an out-of-the-closet writer online, but when people ask me what I do, I tell them I'm a stay-at-home mom, not a novelist. And when I ask questions pertaining to research for my novels I never say, "I'm wondering this because in the novel I'm writing...." I'm still too shy for that (unless the expert is part of my family and already knows about my writing obsession).

How do you handle research? For those of you who are unpublished like I am, do you come out and say you're doing research for a novel? Or are you shy like me? I wonder if I'll change and be more bold if I'm ever published....


  1. Not a question of 'if' but 'when' you'll be published Amy! I am still shy about telling people, but am expanding my circle because I want to be more accountable to following through with the process. :)

  2. I used to be a lot more shy about my "writer" status, too. Lately, though, I've come out of my shell-- I think it's been since working on my most recent WIP. It's actually kind of liberating to announce I'm a writer. :) It still gives me a little scare sometimes, though-- like someone's going to call me on my unpublished status and say I'm lying.

    Good luck with your WIP, and that's so awesome you got some first-hand help on the details of your book! It always helps things flow better when that happens. :)

  3. I know exactly what you mean but what I have found is that if I ask someone a question for research purposes they almost fall over themselves to answer if I say it's research for a book. They don't care if this is a first or fiftieth book. They're just eager to become involved so go ahead and come out of the writing closet. People, it would seem, find us fascinating.

  4. I've never had to do that kind of research, Amy. (I guess because I'm not a closet novelist . . .) But I still totally thought this post was super cute!

    Did you get any great details??

  5. It took me a long time to be able to tell people "I'm a writer". I felt like I was claiming something that wasn't true. When I started talking about it, I felt like I was able to give myself credibility as an artist.

  6. Well, Amy, I'm not a writer, but I completely understand your shyness. I find the same if I'm talking about playing the French Horn.
    I wonder is it because we feel we "not really doing it", or we don't want to put ourselves "out there".

  7. I won't go so far as to admit "I'm a writer" (how brazen! haha), but I will tell people I'm working on a novel or blog if it's relevant to the conversation - then I giggle like a hyena/babboon (hyboon? babena?).

    And sometimes you have to strike while the research iron's hot - for my novel I had to write about infertility, so when my paying work had me writing articles for an obs&gyne annual report, I gulped and asked the docs I interviewed a few questions. (I've also chatted quickly with my family doc about it.) It's such a lovely surprise when people don't laugh at you or "pfft" in your face - they usually just take the fact that you're writing a novel at face value and are more than happy to help! I always joke that I'll put them in the acknowledgements "when" it gets published!

    Two rural birds in the hand...

  8. I do the same thing! No one in my real like knows I write ... yet. Hopefully one of these days I'll have something to share! :)