Power of Story

I had a very productive writing session at the coffee shop yesterday. It was a nice day so I was able to ride my bike there—a good way to prime the mind. After settling in with my java, I wrote for about three hours. A new WIP. I’m still in the early this-story-is-awesome stage, where the words just pour forth. Always a great feeling.
Towards the middle of my session, after the noonday rush had emptied out and there were just a handful of people left in the café, a woman approached me and said, “Look at you! Still working so hard. What are you studying?”
I kinda blinked up at her in confusion and said I was writing. I was so in the zone I couldn’t come up with anything else. After some awkward chitchat (I write fiction, yes I’m published, no you won’t find my name on a book’s cover) she went back to her table where she was studying for some kind of exam, nursing I think. She was very sweet, but I was unprepared for her questions and felt like an idiot talking to her.
This incident taught me a few things.
  1. I can apparently still pass for a college student.
  2. People project themselves onto others all the time. Because she was a young woman at a coffee shop studying, I must be too.
  3. Your average person equates writers to (printed) books. When I explained I had a couple short stories published, she got a confused look on her face then smiled politely and said “Oh.”
  4. Writing could be seen as a study of the human condition, of ourselves and the world around us, negotiated on the page.
I still got another hour of work done after our talk. That’s the power of a good story, to help you forget the world around you. I could ignore the fact that she didn’t understand all the work that went into my short stories, all the work that still goes into them and my novel projects.
I could just focus on my words, my world, my story. And it was good.

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5 thoughts on “Power of Story

  1. Laura Marcella says:

    Sometimes I think people who aren't big-time readers don't realize there's more fiction out there than just the latest hyped book. After talking with you, maybe she'll be interested in reading some short stories. You might've just converted someone into reading more!

  2. Lori M. Lee says:

    YAY NEW BOOK. I can't to read it 😀 I'm so glad you got some quality writing time in today. And yes, I totally understand the whole “writer = book” mentality. I get that a lot too. Friends/family who didn't quite understand when I got my agent kept asking if my book was published yet.

  3. Sharon K. Mayhew says:

    It is a great feeling to get lost in your writing. I've been doing it quite a bit the last few months. I typed the end today. I know it's not really the end, because I sent it to some critiquers, but it felt good to be ready to send it them.

  4. Adventures in YA Publishing says:

    Oh, I am so right there with you (except for the look like a student part. Um, no. :<) Good luck with the story. I love, love, love this stage, except that for me it always comes in the second half of the book or during the outline/discovery draft. Once I start writing chapter one, I'm always convinced nothing has ever sucked so bad. :) Best, Martina

  5. Elizabeth Twist says:

    The world of writing is such a weird cabal. I guess a lot of people never think about what goes into a story or a book. Even having written a bunch of stuff, I am always surprised by how time consuming and all-consuming writing something as simple as a piece of flash fiction can be.

    Yay for happy drafting excitement time! Are you doing NaNoWriMo this year?

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