Tuesday, May 25, 2010

What I Write: A Play in Three Acts*

*inspired by KV Taylor's comment to yesterday's post: "Don't get me wrong, selling out is great. But if we cared that much about being famous, we'd write more crowd-pleasing fiction by design."

Act 1: Summer, 2007

Me: I think I'm going to try and write a book.

Other: Okay. Have fun.

Act 2: Winter, 2008

Me: I sold my first short story!

Other: Great! You said, "sold". So how much are they paying you?

Me: A penny a word. It's a 2,100 word story.

Other: (face contorted with calculation) That's $21 bucks.

Me: Yeah.

Other: How long did you spend writing the story?

Me: (mumbles, shuffles off stage)

Act 3: Last Week

Me: I sold a book!

Other: Sold? (Stephen King dollar signs appear in Other's eyes) For how much?

Me: Well, I'm making a decent royalty on each copy sold. No advance. But I'm telling stories. I'm telling the kind of stories I like to read. And...well, those stories are kind of strange.

Other: So...you won't be getting rich? Famous? What about that cabin in the mountains?

Me: This isn't about a cabin in the mountains. This isn't about fame. This is about telling the truth and telling stories.

Other: (mumbles, shuffles off stage)


Katey has a way of making my brain work overtime, even in blog comments.


Alan W. Davidson said...

Nice script. Brief. To the point...I'd pay to go see it.

Jamie Eyberg said...

I love it and know that conversation well.

Cate Gardner said...

I fear I couldn't write crowd-pleasing fiction if I tried, my brain doesn't work that way.

Saying that though, I did declare to my mother last week that I was going to be the next JK Rowling and would settle for nothing less. I don't think she believes me. ;)

Kara McElhinny said...

LOL! This is great Aaron, and more true to everyone out there than I realized. Thanks.

Aaron Polson said...

Alan - The best plays get to the point.

Jamie - I have it with myself all the time.

Cate - Mothers do understand our ambition, though.

Hinny - Some of us just can't stop...

Anthony Rapino said...

That was depressing.

Seriously though, that could have been taken right out of my own life. i can't count the number of times I tell someone I just had a short story sold, and they ask how much I got... And yeah, $21 sounds about right.

Barry Napier said...

I love a happy ending!!!

K.C. Shaw said...

Excellent! That puts things into perspective.

Eventually you might have to write a sequel in which you get that cabin in the mountains, too. Just sayin. :)

Aaron Polson said...

Anthony - Depressing...oddly affirming. When the stories win, so do I.

Barry - Wait--I didn't get the cabin yet.

K.C. - Why stop there?

Fox Lee said...

The Stephen King dollar signs are so cute : )

Danielle Birch said...

Now I'm caught on cabin in the mountains. Sigh.

Aaron Polson said...

Natalie - I want a big gold/diamond version hanging from a chain around my neck. Bling!

Danielle - I'd love one for even two months out of the year. Maybe I can be a volunteer park ranger during the summer months...

Jodi Lee (Morrighan) said...

I've had that conversation... ;)

Cabin in the woods, huh? I'd love just one weekend at a cabin by a lake (with loons, must have loons) this summer.

If you sold five 2k/0.01 per word stories a day, every day, for a year: almost enough for a cabin up here. Almost.

Katey said...

Ha! Yeah, that's the script all right. But for every few who shuffle away, there's still one whose eyes light up.

Oh god, that sounded optimistic, didn't it? I need to go to bed.

Michael Stone said...

My significant other has caught on, but my parents, sheesh.
"Hey Mum, I got an agent!"
"Oh, and that's good, is it?"
"Hell, yeah!"
"How much is he paying you?"
"Never mind. Hey, Dad, someone's publishing a 10 year retrospective of my short stories."
"There'll be pictures."
"Hmm. That's something, I suppose."

Aaron Polson said...

Jodi - I better get to work then...that's a sizable word count. ;)

Katey - That's what I love (the lit-up eyes). Optimism is contagious.

Michael - My kids "get it" more than my mom. (and they would totally be into pictures)