Saturday, February 12, 2011

Why Romance Writers Make Horrible Friends Bronwyn Storm

Okay, let’s be honest. That’s a terrible and inaccurate title. The true headline should read, “Why Bronwyn Makes a Terrible Friend,” but I hate to think I’m alone living in this, the writer’s brain…besides, every time I see my therapist, he keeps telling me, “You’re not alone. Loads of people have the same experiences you do.” So, I have medical back-up on the title. However, if it offends anyone, please send all comments, complaints, and death threats to Dr. Harold Z. Quack (I so wish I was kidding about his name).

Writers, let me say, can make for great friends. We’re well read, we know big words, and we’re very handy when it comes time to thinking up creative swears (or inventive ways to dispose of a body). But we can also be garbage when it comes to friendship—not on purpose, mind you. There’s just something about the writer’s brain. It functions differently, processes in its own individual way, spins (sometimes madly) on a unique axis (and as many long-suffering spouses and friends will attest to, our brains sometimes spins right off its axis).

Problem #1: You’re Never As We Remember
A writer’s always looking for unique characteristics. Truth be told, we’re scoping you out, checking you from head to toe, and deciding what parts of your anatomy/personality, we can rip off, fiction-up, and use in our next novel. By the next time we meet, we’ve already hijacked the bits and pieces of you, exaggerated them for artistry sake, and suddenly you’re nothing like we “remember.” This has led to some very awkward conversations. Like the time I met this guy and thought, “man, he’d make a great widow.” The next time I saw him, I’d completely forgotten his widow status was fiction. I asked how he was coping with the loss of his wife. To which, he gave a very startled, side-long glance at the woman beside him. She, in turn, gave him a very hard stare, and said, “Dead? Now, I’m dead, am I? I knew you weren’t working late all last week. What’s the tramp’s name?” I realized my mistake, tried to clarify, but a woman who believes her husband has metaphorically killed her is not the easiest creature to reason with—understandably so. I slunk off and left them to their explanations. Needless to say, I was never invited to any of their functions again.

Problem #2: Writers Can Go From Zero-to-Hysterical in 0.00003 Seconds
Listen, we both know your headache is probably just a headache, but when it comes to writers, imagination isn’t just king. It’s a dictator that rules with an iron fist. So, the headache becomes a tumor…and while my friend’s delayed arrival at her house was due to her leaving work late, and the traffic being murder, I’d already decided that she’d been kidnapped on her way to her car, and was now tied and gagged in the cold, blood-stained backseat of a serial killer’s truck. This could have been disastrous—especially since I was already calling 4-1-1 for the nearest police station. Thank God she showed up in the nick of time, and saved me from facing possible charges for filing a false report.

Problem #3: Inappropriate Conversations.
Writers don’t mean to ask the wrong question or say the wrong thing, but like I said in problem #1, we’re always looking for the fictional side of life. And we usually find it—just not always in the way we thought…like the time I was in the doctor’s office and made a comment about him having great eyes. He did. Perfect for the character I was thinking about (who—eek—happened to be a serial killer)…I’m still not sure what’s worse. A medical doctor thinking a patient is hitting on him, or a man hearing a woman say, “What great eyes you have…clear, pure, beautiful. No one would think you’re a rapist-serial-killer.”

Problem #4: We’re Always Stunned When Life Doesn’t Coincide with the Plot Arc.
The problem with writing fiction is that fiction is based on life, and the lines between the two can blur like a Cézanne watercolor. This usually leaves us wondering why the current conflict in your life isn’t arcing out in the graceful arch of a plot curve, or asking what happened to Plot Point #3 in your obstacle. And let me say from personal experience, no one what to hear “things have to get worse, honey, you haven’t hit the Black Moment, yet,” when they’re regaling you with all the thing going wrong in their life.

Problem #5 Writers—Especially Romance Writers are Always Looking for the Happy Ending.
You’ve had a bad day, everything’s going wrong. Do you really need one of us beaking in your ear, and telling you to just hang on, persevere because the happy ending is just around the corner? Do you really want us stuffing you with wine and chocolate and giving you all the possible ways your current crisis is going to go in your favor…hmm…okay, so you know what?

Maybe having a friend who’s a writer isn’t all bad.

I mean, we’ll say the wrong thing at your dinner party, offend your guests, and become convinced that the white powder spilled on the cake isn’t icing sugar but arsenic, but we’ll bring the wine and chocolate, and that has to count for something, right?

There was only one thing Bronwyn Storm wanted to be when she grew up: a superhero. Sadly, this goal was made moot when she realized that being a klutz was not, in fact, a super power, and her super-weakness for anything bright and shiny meant that a magpie with self-control could easily defeat her in a battle of wills. So, she turned to writing as a way to unleash her inner superhero. She doesn’t get to live on a secret space station orbiting the earth (and thank goodness because she gets motion sick on a merry-go-round), but she still get to wear leotards, a cape and say things like, “STAND ASIDE! THIS IS A JOB FOR WRITING-GIRL!”

Visit her at


linda_rettstatt said...

My friends are always afraid they'll end up in one of my books. Well, with good reason, I suppose. I'm always jotting down phrases or situations and saying, "That is so going into a book."

Mrs. Soule said...

This is hilarious - especially Problem 1! Laughed out loud!

desitheblonde said...

well i would like in one and then i would
like to be a sexy worlf

Janet H said...

That is so funny. You are always welcome at my table!

Virginia said...

This is just two cute. Loved number 1


Jean P said...

Oh my gosh, I was giggling reading your post. I especially liked Problem #1.

skpetal at hotmail dot com

Lori, Sr. Editor for Wild Rose Press said...

I must are a superhero. :) One of my favorite things about authors is the imagination that they share with the world. It never ceases to amaze me.

mysticmother said...

Your post cracked me up. We writers are a weird bunch. I check out books at the library on different ways to murder people, including a comprehensive list of poisons and their effects and the person behind me gives me a wide berth. My husband is convinced the government is tracking my internet activities because I reasearched how to make an EMP bomb. I observe everything from the well dressed lawyer who wears flip flops to work to the overweight neighbor who stands on the porch in his underwear and file it away for further use. I also have a vivid imagination and yell at my husband for being five minutes late from work. He tells me I'm always late, why isn't it okay for him? I tell him it's in my nature and he's always punctual so he should be dead in a ditch somewhere. Yes, we're strange, but it's what makes our books so interesting to read.

Anonymous said...

LOL! I love the comments! Yeah, problem #1 is a big one of is #2...Desi, I wouldn't mind being a sexy wolf...actually, I'd settle for a sexy anything. :P

SherryGLoag said...

Hilarious, thanks for a G-R-E-A-T laugh :-) But I beg to disagree with you too. You ARE a superheroine! You make people laugh and that's a prescious gift!

Alicia Dean said...

Hahaha. You make me laugh out loud, but you seem to hit on a few great points at the same time. Thanks so much for the post. Loved it!

Clare Austin said...

Love this, Bronwyn! Now I have a solid reason for my reclusiveness.
Clare Austin

Nobody said...

Funny, my friends ask to be written into the book. Everlasting fame, and all. And a bit part in the movie.

hal said...

Another great post, Bronwyn! A pleasure to read. Writer friends are the best :)