Gone Writing

Sorry guys, I did not close the book last night (mostly because I got in a fascinating biological talk about the research for it with older son.  SORRY.)  So today I’m working.

If you want to amuse me, and keep yourselves busy so you don’t blow up the world, I’m running low on “You might be a writer if….” jokes.  We used to have tons of them when I had a writers’ group, and it made great impromptu posters, but I can’t think of any now.

I’ll give one: You might be a writer if you spin up a “Zombie Nazi Sharks On a Plane” concept as a joke, and then realize you have three main characters in your head and the sharks are named Adolph, Hermann, Joachim and Cuddles.

Head>desk.

203 responses to “Gone Writing

  1. You might be a writer if you watch a movie and all you can think about is how the script writer totally missed the potential for . . . and you start writing your own better ending.

    • Oh, that is so me for “Star Trek Into Darkness” …

      See, the reason Khanberbatch isn’t acting like Montalkhan is because they’re different people! In “Space Seed,” there are 83 Augments, but “Into Darkness” says there are 72 and that they had trouble with the unfreezing process. In the real world, “Khan” is a title, not a name, so Khan Noonien Singh is just Noonien Singh who is the leader. Well, what happened was that he was killed when the ST:ID Starfleet tried to thaw him out. Khanberbatch “John Harrison” was his highest ranking lieutenant who survived thawing, so he took the title of Khan. (Note, no one in the movie ever calls him Noonien Singh, so it’s like one version of the script actually had this element.)

      This then ties into the same leader/follower dynamic of Pike/Kirk — both men have been advanced to leadership positions before they were ready and have lost the mentors they needed. This is why they keep getting played by Admiral Marcus, who is literally a father figure and who actually has the experience necessary for his rank.

      I swear, there’s a good plot in that mess of a movie; it just needed a script writer to find it.

      • I like this idea. And why must the supermen always be either superheros or supervillains? Can’t they just be ordinary? Have an enjoyable day job that uses their special skills instead of putting on spandex and going out every night looking for trouble?

        • I recall some odd movie where a doctor fellow got super-sight that eventually became permanent and annoying X-ray vision. He set up shop as psychic or such doing diagnosis, at least that’s the bit I still remember. It might have been some oddball TV-show (ala Twilight Zone) and not a movie. It’s been a few decades…

          • I believe that you are referring to “X: The Man With X-Ray Eyes” starring Ray Milland as the Dr. James Xavier (no relation) and directed by Roger Corman.

            • That does seem to be it. I suspect I saw it on a late night broadcast on ch. 11 WLUK Green Bay sometime in the 1980’s.

              • I am the Sensei of Schlock. I live to serve.

              • I recall being envious of my cousins living in town because they had cable, and got 11 easily. All I had was 13-PBS 6 in Marquette, and 3/5 (3 in Escanaba was a repeater for channel 5 in Green Bay, today, they even have their own news crew) so for ABC we had to try to get it via UHF

              • There is a persistent legend that at the end of the film, in a few prints, when the main character has torn out his own eyes, he Screams “I can still see!” . Makes sense from a story POV, but I’ve never seen it, not talked to anyone who has.

        • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

          Because a super-being who has a “regular” job isn’t as exciting as one who becomes a hero or a villain? 😉

          Note, the Wearing The Cape series has several supers who are more involved in “disaster clean-ups” rather than fighting super-criminals.

          • It’s one thing to follow the people with more exciting careers, but there should be a background of people with more mundane super-careers. which is why I am lazily working on a career guide for a super-powered kids high school.

            Then you could have the guy with the super rotting powers who sells compost. Or the guy with a voice of command and teleport powers who works in crowd control — they send him as a last resort to prevent riots or panics. Or the guy with disease powers who works at vaccine creation.

            And some of the other jobs will have stories, too.

            • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

              Nod.

              Of course, there would also be people like Ironjack.

              Full time job unrelated to his powers but might get involved in emergency situations.

            • The series “Pushing Daisies” is pretty close to what you are talking about here.

            • Feather Blade

              The one that drain life from plants, who sets up an all-natural organic weed control business, and contracts out to the Park Service to kill European milfoil infestations. (That’s the power I want)

              • Oooh. And Scottish thistles, in the southwest? And mesquite! Oh, for the power to eradicate mesquite!

                The only person more beloved would be the insect-killer who is contracted to remove the spruce bark beetles before they devastate yet more forests!

                • Dragonknitter

                  Kudzu!

                • No more mesquite BBQ? Villainous…

                  • Trust me, there will always be plenty of mesquite. It even has a historical range where it’s supposed to be, before the cattle brought it north and made it a danger to the water table. However, having mesquite not be growing as the invasive water-hogging weed that it is, in places where water is scarce and mesquite is invasive, would be a very good thing!

                    Please, please continue the mesquite BBQ. If all the world decided to eat mesquite-smoked meats, such that it became a prize plant people would pay to remove? This would be truly awesome for everyone!

            • Career guide? I want to see the MMPI-equivalent to help them determine what careers might best suit them.

              Would you rather a) stop a bus high-jacking b) rescue workers from a mine collapse

              • The MMPI has supposedly changed over the years. I took it several times in the 1960s and 1970s. Back then, the majority of the question set revolved around homosexuality, thievery, and religious fervor.

                “Do you like to look at the genitals of others of the same sex?”

                “Would be be okay to take something if no one saw youdo it?”

                “Does God often speak to you personally?”

                The 500 or so questions were mostly rephrasings of the same three basic subjects.

                I thought that showed quite a bit about what the test designers were concerned with. [googles] Looks like they’ve redesigned it since, and not it’s a dessert topping and a floor wax…

              • eh, the thing is that they could use the mundane version for jobs where their talents do not apply, and where it does, their selection is apt to be limited. Maybe a few dozen careers for the most flexible of talents.

                • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                  I’m also thinking about people like “Legal Eagle” (Wearing The Cape series).

                  He was a law student who loved sky-diving and when his parachute failed he gained the power of flight.

                  There might have been careers where his flight power would be useful but he continued his legal education and is now a lawyer specializing in “Super Hero Law”.

                  Why should a person’s special powers dictate what his career should be?

                  If somebody could trade punches with Superman but wanted a career that had nothing to do with his powers, why would you want to force him into a career that he didn’t want?

                  As far as I’m concerned, that would be a “good” way to send him down the super-villain route. 😉

                  • You give me an idea for a bullet proof guy who just wants to teach… so takes a job teaching in a bad part of town. After all, HE doesn’t have to worry about getting shot. (Stabbed might be another story depending on how the ‘bullet proof’ power works.) I could see more little tie-ins with powers in a world where they’re vastly common. The rock star with super strength or super agility or flying could really amp up some aspects of a performance. The mason with X-Ray vision? Checking his footing to be sure it was done right before he starts laying brick or stone.

                    • X-ray vision would probably be right handy for a building inspector. Or even the termite guy.

                    • A plumber with force fields.

                    • Force fields would be so useful in so many professions, that picking a single one is like picking a single flower from a field full of them.

                      Emergency services would be what comes to mind for me, but even a butcher could benefit, if he could shape the force field to conform to the shape of his fingers, to protect them from the knives. This is, of course, assuming that he couldn’t just use the force fields to do the cutting.

            • BobtheRegisterredFool

              The Whateley Academy setting has a major focus on mundane utility.

            • I want the power of sorting. *Poof* the garage is organized; *poof* all of the dirt and dust is outside; *poof* all the bermuda grass is within its defined bounds. At a micro level, *poof* all the dead branches etc. are sorted into salable planks or lovely wood furniture with no visible joins…

          • Someday, in a weak moment, I’ll get cable and join the current culture.

        • Which is one of the best things about the Wearing the Cape series: it actually shows that with many breakthroughs, come many companies to put them to work doing construction / repair / hair weaving (low-powered ability to manipulate thread like substances).

          • Though powers there are weighted to the combat side, seeing how they appear.

            Kurt Busiek’s Astro City Sideliners are perhaps the purest example. Though their story is the tendency of villains to try to exploit them, so they are heavy on self-defense and teamwork.

          • Soon I WIll Be Invincible also had that as a minor bit of worldbuilding: one of the villain’s motives is that after every attempt to take over the world, the ‘good guys’ deconstruct / reverse-engineer the technology and use it for major advances. However, they neither give him the credit nor the royalties. So he breaks out to take over the world and show them… and… yeah.

        • Terry Sanders

          I once imagined a powerful super who managed (a la the running joke in SHE-HULK) to figure out he was in a comic book. His immediate response was to disappear. Go completely off the grid. Do NOTHING to attract attention from anybody. Because he knew that the moment the writers “became aware of his existence,”* he and everyone he cared about were doomed to endless misery that even death would not extinguish.

          Eventually some storyline brings some Title Characters into contact with him. He immediately commits suicide. Before they can figure out who he is…

          *Yeah, he thought about the philosophical implications. He doesn’t know whether he is just part of the background, or a writer came up with him, or if a writer is GOING to come up with him. He’s decided not thinking about it is the better part of sanity…

        • SheSellsSeashells

          Which reminds me of Bujold’s “Ethan of Athos”, where the hero, upon finding out that his friend is secretly telepathic, starts rhapsodizing about what an incredible diagnostic aid that would be in pediatric medicine. The friend was…nonplussed.

        • I actually have a plan for a superhero story where the hero’s favorite pizza joint uses speedsters for delivery. 😀

        • Well, unless they successfully keep their superpowers a secret, they will inevitably be called on to use them in emergencies, anyway. See the movie Hancock, which I thought covered the extremely reluctant hero fairly well.

          Eventually, many would either decide to go full-time, or lose their patience and become super-thugs, at a minimum.

        • This might be a “get off my lawn!” moment, but I’m flashing on the Monty Python “Bicycle Repairman” sketch. BR is the only one not wearing a cape, but he’s the hero.

        • Kurt Busiek’s Astro City series of comics deals with this idea a lot. There’s also Alan Moore’s Top Ten series, where the gimmick is EVERYONE has superpowers and it follows a police department that tries to deal with all the nonsense that causes.

    • I’ve done this with books– usually dreamed a better ending lol

    • We’ve not only done that with movies but with plays and musicals. Disney’s Lion King musical, for instance, really missed an opportunity when they stayed close to the original animated music. All of the stuff where they started bringing in actual Serengeti African musical and dance elements were ten times as interesting on stage than the imported Disney animation elements.

      Or take a perennial favorite, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. There are several issues, all because it was a very short piece expanded to a full-length musical, or just outright dated. (Pharaoh as Elvis is a concept that is fading rapidly from public consciousness.) I think it should be restrained back to one act, the framing story dropped entirely (you don’t need it to explain the narrator), all of the scripted encores dropped, and for the love of all that’s holy, don’t put the show-stopping number at the intro. It’s called “show-stopping” for a reason, and you don’t want to kill your momentum at the beginning.

    • BEST way to rip off a story. You still have to scrape off the serial numbers but it has its own inherent pulling free.

  2. Watch out for Cuddles.

    • Definitely don’t want to pet him the wrong way.

    • Two dogs from my childhood, belonging to an acquaintance who, I swear to God, owned a junkyard for them to roam, and who had rescued their forebears from that Nazi concentration camp that bred war dogs for the German war efforts.

      Fang. Big, black, and an utter teddy bear of a big dog. German Shepherd distilled to the ultimate expression thereof.

      Linoleum Oogie. Brown-ish, equally as big as Fang, but… Psychotic as all get-out. Named because, like the character from advertising, he liked to eat linoleum as a puppy. Canine version of Mad-Eye Moody, with an eye that “wasn’t quite… right…”.

      Of the two, Fang was the one you wanted to deal with. If he liked you, he’d go so far as to bite Oogie, and put him into a submission position. He was kinda the alpha of the pair, but with a bit of a daffy quality.

      Oogie? That dog was flat-out psychotic. Bipolar, even–If he was in the mood, he’d come up to you all friendly-like, and then let you pet him. Minute you turned your back? Yeah… Lose a chunk out of your ass.

      I don’t know if these animals and people who wind up with distinctly harmless-sounding names and nicknames are responding to the naming itself, or if there’s a subconscious marking we’re all doing when we do it, but I’ll tell you this much: Don’t ever start a fight with a guy nicknamed “Tiny”.

      Dogs named “Fluffy” also bear considerable watching, as well–They might be toy poodles, but I know of a 140-lb Great Pyrenees flock protector named “Fluffy McStuffy” that is a positive terror to all and sundry that might possibly constitute a threat to his sheep. That dog won a fight with a not-so-small, not-so-emaciated cougar, so you can kinda get the idea, there…

      • I’ve encountered real junkyard dogs and they scared the everloving sh*t out of me. I love dogs, and they generally love me (not wisely but too well, actually) and I know the “rules”. These dogs…I would cheerfully shoot in a heartbeat if they took one step my direction. No qualms. Vicious, vicious bastards.

        Now the *humans* in charge of this junkyard/impound lot? They scared me too. It appears it wasn’t just dogs the Nazis were doing nasty genetic experiments on. That whole place would have been a lot better for a good dousing in napalm… *shudder*

      • What with our Fluffy about here, we’re kinda enured. (Look, when the enormous fire-breathing and very scaly dragon decides to be Fluffy, what you say is, “Good idea, Fluffy!” )

      • Poochie!

        Poochie was a junkyard dog of my mother’s acquaintance, who had a recliner that was his chair, where no one else was allowed to sit on pain of… well, blood loss, removal of flesh from bone, the usual. Poochie liked to chew on tires, until one day somebody gave him a newfangled steel-belted radial by mistake. The next day they found chunks of steel and puddles of blood all over, but by gum, that tire bit him and he bit it right back until its remains were scattered at his feet. Did much the same to intruders without waiting for the “they bit him first” excuse.

        One day, my brother demonstrated that while toddlers may be slower when toddling, if they drop to a crawl, they’re lightning fast. He got away, and mi mama started searching frantically, enlisting the help of the junkyard workers. Because junkyards and very small boys… big trouble.

        They found mi hermano on Poochie’s recliner, straddled on top of Poochie, tugging on his ears. And the poor, poor dog gave mi mama what she descried as the most heartfelt, pleading brown eyes of “Get him off me! For the love of Dog!”

        • I live outside of Philly, and close to home is a butchers’ that boasts dogs so big that I tell the guys in the shop how lifelike to dog costumes they put on the ponies are. Short-haired dogs with a lot of Great Dane in ’em.

          Then there’s the enormous black Great Dane named Thor who used to be amfeature of life in nearby New Hope. On any sunny day could be out walking the shopping district and hear a yapyapyapyapyapyap! Sure enough somebody’s rat/terrier cross would be telling off Thor, who would have his ears pricked forward and his head in one side as if to say “You’re kidding, right? I excreted something bigger then you this morning!”

      • Currently working on a novel which includes a rail-gun Bolo named Fluffy. Her mural is a cute bunny with a bazooka.

        Included with the ebook will be a cartoon, Fluffy Visits The Forest of Heck. You can envision how that turns out.

  3. You might be a writer if you find yourself ROTFL over “you might be a writer if …” jokes.

  4. You might be a writer when you catch yourself trying to make a DVD instruction manual interesting.

  5. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    You might be a good writer when your fans add to your crazy idea. 😀

  6. You might be a writer if you’s spending to long thinking about a snappy response to this.

  7. I thought they were supposed to be jokes. . . .

    I once used a random fantasy title generator.

    Jewel of the Tiger! Available now at Amazon and many other fine online book-sellers.

  8. You might be a writer if you see an injury on TV and find yourself mentally taking notes on how the blood looks.

  9. You might be a writer if you hear a discussion on how to spot red flags for terrorism on social media and feel compelled to immediately clear your browser history.

  10. Christopher M. Chupik

    Zombie Nazi Shark Plane has a budget of $112 Cdn and goes into production next week. Tommy Wiseau has been tapped to star. The script is going to be written in the next five hours.

  11. Sorry, but I have to ask, when did you change the name of the current work from Darkship Revenge to The Neverending Story?

  12. If you’re slowly wading through an academic paper on the changing climate at the end of the last ice age on the Eurasian steppes, and your brain helpfully comes up with several characters among the nomads and the settled tribes to debate the changes and how they need to run/fight/live/worship, you might be a writer.

    • Oh yes. A quick bit of research for one book can spawn a whole series in another genre if you’re not careful.

      • Tell me about it . . . the Tripolya-culture based story is starting to jump up and down demanding that i at least start the blasted thing. Look, I have an academic paper to finish researching and a novel draft to finish writing!

        • If you’re referring to the proto-bronze age culture ca, Ukraine, you’re in for a treat. The Museum of Russian Art here in Minneapolis had a showing of art and artifacts from that time/place. *Really* fascinating stuff.

          • I’ve got eight ILL academic monographs and paper assemblies (one’s a festschrift done a wee bit too late), several museum catalogues, and a few other things scattered around. It’s hmm, Eneolithic or Chalcolithic is the usual term, Copper Age is the regional term, not-quite-Bronze Age, Old Europe (if you want to use M. Gimbutas’s term but not some of her ideas), an interesting example of how people attempt to reorganize and reconfigure society in the face of looming disaster (in this case non-anthropogenic climate change) and external pressure.

            • You know you’re a writer because you just spent an hour skimming articles about the neolithic cultures someone else mentioned researching in depth, and you hadn’t a clue . . . and had to scratch that itch of curiosity right then.

  13. You might be a writer if you type “t” in the address bar and your browser fills in “thesaurus.com.”

  14. As for the prompt … you may be a writer if you have a desk covered with scenes from your novel written on notebook paper that you brought home from work, because your work computer is so locked down you can’t email the Word docs to your personal email.

    • …Or you took a job specifically because it has enough free time to write?

      (Brandon Sanderson. Night Clerk at hotel.)

      • Twas not the intention with this job, but there are times when I get the day’s work done by lunch and have to fill the time somehow …

        At this point in life, I’d rather have a better paying job that lets me pay off the law school loans faster so I can be a housewife/writer than a poorly paying job that gives me time to write on the job.

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

      Nope.

      You write down story notes and/or chapters because you’re not allowed to use your work computer for such things. 👿

    • Christopher M. Chupik

      I will spend the time going to and from work plotting my work so I know what to do when I get home.

  15. You might be a writer if…

    You have baby name books lying around, and no plans for pregnancy.
    You go on vacation, and instead of taking selfies at the lookout, you’re busy going “So the scouts came up through that draw, which keeps them out of line of sight of the winter camp until that promontory’s look out… unless there’s snow. Yes, snow would be good.”
    On the same vacation, you skip the tourist trap for the exciting opportunity to hike through briars in order to see if the rock art L’amour described in Chapter 5 of that book while the protagonist was watering horses is actually there.
    You look forward to back to school sales for the cheap stacks of notebooks (for those who write / plot / take notes longhand.)
    Your pen may cost more than your shoes. And you have really distinct opinions on ink cartridges. (See: writing longhand)
    When dragged out shopping, you can be found in the bookstore. It’s market research!

    • . . . you go on vacation to RELAX and avoid writing related stuff, and come back with three short-stories and the basis for at least one novel. And books in two languages that you don’t read or speak (yet), but they might have research ideas in them.

    • Cartridges don’t hold enough ink. You want piston fill because eyedropper fill takes too long.

      And you’re learning Pitman because it’s faster than longhand.

    • You glee over a source of cheap fountain pens (under $15 apiece, some under $5) that turn out not to be complete pieces of crap. Speaking of which… I need to get a notebook.

  16. …you need a new keyboard every six months but still use the same mouse that came with your old 386 PC.

    …you buy a 10 port USB hub just for the flashdrives you use to backup your work.

    • My keyboard originally came with an IBM PC/AT. The sticker on the bottom says it was made in 1985.

      I used a PC/XT 83-key board from 1987 to 2009. In 2010 I finally gave into all the software that wanted F11, F12, right-alt, and right-ctrl keys, and went to the AT keyboard.

      However, while the switches on the AT keyboard are fine, the rows are offset, and the board is dished in a fashion that probably was ergonomic when sitting in a typing return on an old-style office desk, but it’s curved the wrong way for sitting on a desk top. Also, the key rows are oddly offset right to left compared to the 83.

      I’ve found a place with a Linux-compatible “key stick” that will let me go back to the 83-key board while mapping the extra keys I need to the stick. But the sucker costs $125, so it’s still on the want list.

      I could type 90wpm on the 83-key; in seven years I’ve never managed to get much over 35 on the 101-key.

      • Those original XT keyboards felt REALLY sold, in part because of the mechanical keys but also because they were so heavy. But all of that weight wasn’t what you usually think of as keyboard components. Inside the keyboard all around the periphery of the case were little plastic bags full of very fine gray sand which added weight to make it FEEL more substantial.

        • Was that the PC board with the tiny Enter key or the XT board with the L-shaped Enter key? My XT board has a sizeable steel plate in the bottom, no sand.

          It weighs more than many new laptop computers. But I don’t have to chase it across the desk when I’m in a typing frenzy.

    • I actually did that. 4-port, but same idea. I upgrade the keyboard and mouse periodically though, for the fun-factor. Currently typing on a clickety-key Corsair gaming model with light-up keys. It’s the bomb.

      You might be a writer if you go everywhere with a USB of all your work on your keychain, just in case.

      You might be a writer if your Significant Whatsit screams down the hallway at night: “Cut out the clickety-clack and come to bed!”

  17. You might be a writer if —
    your nap time is when characters come to talk about their lives or complain about your story arc

  18. You might be a writer if you have a really good You Might be a Writer joke, but you simply must vacuum the cat before you can write it down.

  19. The problem with blowing up the world…
    What do you do for an encore?

    • There might be feeling of disappointment or emptiness after the big planetary event, but you eventually get nova it.

      • While it might seem nebula-ous, with the right superweapon, you can make a whole new world!*

        *Habitability not guaranteed.

    • Tsk. Have you read no Doc Smith?

      You implode up a star.

      Or two.

      • Terry Sanders

        Piker. Haven’t you gotten to SKYLARK OF VALERON yet?

        • I think you mean SKYLARK DUQUESNE.

          • Lensmen were great for finding new and fascinating ways to destroy things.

          • Terry Sanders

            Nah. DUQUESNE comes *after* VALERON. He obviously wasn’t ready for the big stuff yet. 🙂

          • Yep. They were detonating entire galaxies in that one…

            I always rooted for DuQuesne. Season as Dictator of It All with his Norlaminian overseer class was an unstable situation that could only get worse.

            “It’s okay because we’re the good guys” isn’t something to base civilizations on…

            • The wholesale elimination of the Fenachrone struck me as the sort of thing a modern editor/publisher might balk at … although, considering modern editors and publishers, if* he made the Fenachrone the embodiment of white males …

              *Okay, granted: many feminist readers would probably argue that Smith did, albeit subconsciously.

              • The Mardonale civilization in the Green System, the Fenachrone, the Chlorans…

                • Jump over to the Lensmen, and you have the Eich, the Ploorans and the Eddorians. Plus the destruction of a few planets that didn’t contain civilizations, but were strongholds of the enemy.

                  • Which poses the question: Was E. E. “Doc” Smith the greatest mass murderer in history? Are there any other authors with comparable death tolls?

                    • Hmm… I wonder how many Chlorans lived in that galaxy? And how does that population compare to the race the Dowd on Star Trek TNG destroyed? I’m thinking that there were orders of magnitude more Chlorans, but it’s at least possible that there were not many per each planet.

    • Fire a gravity nullifier at a large black hole and watch the fireworks.

    • Dougy Adams installed a Vogon Interchange of some kind . Your mileage may vary.

    • Encore: The Great Ophiuchus Void. An artifact of the Big Bang, or did something (or someOne) EAT everything in a billion light year sphere? And if so, what made them stop eating?

      And what if its under the bed right now? D’oh!

  20. You might be a writer if…
    The voices in your head have their own personalities attached.

  21. “(mostly because I got in a fascinating biological talk about the research for it with older son. SORRY.)”
    The Hoyt Family version of “Squirrel!”

  22. You might be a writer if you think about basing a character on a friend/ family member/ in-law, only to realize that your readers would complain that he is too unbelievable.

  23. You might be a writer if you enjoy it when someone pisses you off, because now you have another victim for that serial killer in the novel you’re working on.

  24. You might be a writer if you are reading something in a genre that you usually don’t read and come up with story ideas that must be written down, even though you don’t write in that genre.

    You are certainly a writer if you then decide to exhaustively research that genre so that you can insure that those ideas haven’t been done to death.

  25. If you buy so many books on your week long vacation the TSA insists on searching your luggage containing two tightly packed layers and swabbing every single one of them individually, you might be a writer.

    If at any given point in time you have a couple back-up keyboards in the closet to make sure you never have to switch brand nor model, you might be a writer.

    If you find yourself exclaiming 30 seconds in advance about scene-ending disasters on TV, you might be a writer.

    If you spend your drive home from the movies discussing how the Director or Producers obviously must’ve forced an alternate ending at the last minute because the movie’s writer would never have finished it with one that didn’t fit and looked grafted on, you might be a writer.

    If you know more about how your imaginary story characters feel than about how your closest family does, you might be a writer.

    If your first reaction to a great plot twist in a show is to wonder how you could steal it and re-purpose it (suitably disguised) for your story, you might be a writer.

    If a Disney movie comes out and makes hundreds of millions of dollars and uses a key bit of action you wrote years before, but you know it’s virtually impossible anyone from Disney actually read your story, you might be a writer.

    If you sometimes read books just to analyze their structure, you might be a writer.

    If you faithfully read blogs on writing by writers, you might be a writer.

    If you know what a vignette and a novella are, you might be a writer.

    If you have a mental estimate for how many words are in a line and how many lines are in a page, you might be a writer.

    If your feline friends have grand adventures in your head, you might be a writer.

    If you kids talk about world-building as if it’s a normal thing to do on a regular basis, you might be a writer.

    If you can’t help writing more than a dozen “you might be a writer” jokes in a blog comment, you might be writer.

    • Ship the books home. Much easier! Some bookstores will ship the books for you.

      • And she knows… 😎

        We hit the Victoria BC Booktown on our honeymoon and sent 4 boxes 4′ x 4′ each home.

      • On trip to LA a few months ago, we had time to kill, so we wandered into a used book store that was closing down. The used books that were normally $1-2, were now 10-20 cents each. They had entire SF/Fantasy series complete sets I’d previously only read from the library.

        Everyone in my house reads, so we measured the books by the paper grocery bag once we were done (14).

        Shipping books is cheap, but takes time. I decided to start re-reading one series before the trip ended. The extra 11 thick paperbacks in the series fit like two courses of bricks into the empty space at the bottom of my suitcase. Perfect, I thought, I can fold all my clothes on top and still get the suitcase closed.

        Yeah, so when the TSA decided they wanted to swab every single individual book for explosives (just past the metal detectors, with people streaming past), of course they were all on the bottom underneath everything else.

    • I visited Raleigh, NC in the late ’90s. My host mentioned there were some bookstores downtown, which I had to visit, of course.

      It was maybe half a dozen bookstores in a row near one of the colleges, and they were full of good stuff. And they were incredibly cheap.

      I was driving a pickup truck with a shell on the back. I probably hauled 500 books home on that run…

      There was also a brewpub/library with decent food and the walls paneled in books. Browse the shelves, find something that looked interesting, and you had something to read while you ate. And it was okay to take them home if you wanted; if you brought it or another back later, good, if not, no problem.

      • Half a dozen! I think I missed some of them when I was there, but there were two basically across the street from each other where I got lots of goodies.

    • You might be a writer if you tell other people the plot twist at the *start* of the episode. (It was the third in a sequence, but I got some strange looks from my father and brother, and even stranger looks when I was right. Hey, I know story arcs, okay?)

  26. You might be a writer if your idea of a good weekend involves 10k words on your current WIP.

    • Erk. Yerp. I . . . not goin’ there. Just not goin’ there. So much not working.

      • …You might be a writer if… you immediately started plotting a subversive way to make this either a tragedy – descent into madness sort of plot, or a redemption tale in which our protagonist reflects upon the differences in culture and becomes a proud American citizen, dedicated to upholding the principles of the USA, or something equally interesting out of the premise?

    • OK, so I went there. To my everlasting regret.

    • Hmm. Not sure based on the description if it is actually SF, but then again, that’s never stopped them before. This is darn close to Larry Correia’s sarcastic description of a novel about the weeping of gay polar bears.

      • It’s not SF, it’s romance. Gay romance. With (I’m sure) lots of sex scenes. That’s what the guy writes (he’s straight and married by the way, go fig). I’ve met him, he’s nice enough, and I have to give him props for getting the Slate to advertise his new novel and getting everyone to talk about it.
        I suspect he’ll have something that sells outside of the fandom and San Francisco with all of the hype.
        Of course he may end up on some muslim’s hit list, but I’m sure he knew the risks going in.

        • I deg to biffer. It’s AT LEAST as SF as “If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love.” And if furry ain’t SF how do you explain Erma Felna (Albedo), the Weasel Patrol and Fusion?

          • Because those stories would have been scifi even without the characters being furry. From what the blurb said, the only thing about this story that is different from the world is everyone being furry. It’s even set in common day time, with common day tech.

            At least in ‘if you were a dinosaur’ the person was transmogrified somehow from a human being to a dinosaur, if only in the woman’s thoughts, making it a fantasy. I guess we could call this story fantasy too, but that’s not the market he writes for.

        • married, not straight according to the article.

          • I’ve met the guy, I know some of his friends, I’ve talked to him and his friends. He’s married, to a woman. I’ve heard him say it with my own two ears, and there is stuff out there on the interwebs where he even says that he married a woman.

            • uh. That article is weird though.

              • Yeah, they’re all weird. Like I said, I know these people. I suspect that the writer of the article is either a friend or fanboy of the author. And if you thought the Hugo SMOF’s were weird, strange, or ‘different’ you haven’t seen the bay area furry community!
                I could tell you stories, and Dr. Mauser would be happy to confirm more than a few, I’m sure.

              • Yep. Although I’m not going to PAL. Poor guy is going to see enough trouble for committing a trifecta of appropriation.

            • Maybe it’s a woman who “identifies” as a man. Or maybe they’re both “gender-fluid.” Or they’ve made their own genders up…

    • Christopher M. Chupik

      I wonder how much mediocre crap is going to be marketed as for “fighting Trump” over the next few years?

  27. You might be a writer if you see an article about some scientific discovery or new technology and start thinking of ways that it can be used to save (or destroy) the world.

    … or even how it might save or threaten a single story character.

  28. You might be a writer if you failed to guess the ending of “The Sixth Sense” because it violated one of the old rules of submission for F&SF (do not submit a story in which the hero turns out to be dead.) Mind you, one of Connie Willis’s best stories gets away with that, “Distress Call.”

    • and novels — passage

    • How about getting what seems to have been originally foreshadowed, before the movie makers decided to change the story due to reasons?

      There are articles online about what seems to have been originally planned for the Star Wars sequels, like that Luke would have had a sister, but it was not Leia, Luke and Leia were supposed to be the main romantic couple when the first movie was being made and a few other things I assumed were going to happen, but then didn’t, except according to some of those articles I have read, yep, they may have been actually planned pretty much the way I guessed when they were making that first movie, and some still when they made the second. But then things did get changed (like they didn’t want to introduce a new character for Luke’s sister, and Leia was already there, and they had by then changed the romance to one between her and Han instead of her and Luke).

      It was a bit weird reading that stuff when I first stumbled on those stories because several of the claims as what had originally been planned did fit what I had back then expected to happen. Like that sister who was not Leia. I mean, there is not that much obvious foreshadowing for that, not really. Just Obi-Wan’s ghost saying that there is “another”. Maybe it’s because Luke and Leia as the romantic couple was pretty heavily hinted at in the first movie so the idea of her as his sister did just not feel right. 😀

  29. I can’t do “You might be a writer”, but I can do jokes based on a syndrome from which I suffer; early onset geezerhood.

    If somebody points out a cute new toy just hitting the marketplace, and your first thought is “I thought those were bug ugly the last two times thEY were ‘new’.”, you might have EOG

    If you’re in a mall and a sweet young thing ripples past in clothes just too tight enough, and your first thought is “Yeah, but she’d want to talk afterwards. *shudder*”, you might have EOG.

    If you are no longer embarassed to go to Disney movies without a kid, you might have EOG.

    If your take on the latest nutritional guidelines published by the Federal Government is to keep eating the way you always have on the grounds “What are the odds,they got it right THS time?”, you might have EOG.

    If you can actually remember when 256K was a lot of memory, you might have EOG.

    If, every four years, you reaction to the Presidential election (no matter who won) is “You poor sonofabitch. You wanted it, and now you’ve got it. Wouldn’t paying on the freeway have hurt less?”, you might have EOG.

  30. BobtheRegisterredFool

    You might be a fanfic writer if you set out to watch a movie or show because of the fanfic possibilities.

    You might be a fanfic writer if you have written the most absurd romantic pairing you could find. (It was for a joke.)

    You might be a fanfic writer if you can predict the reader expectations for Lovecraft Eva or Ranma Sailor Moon.

    You might be a fanfic writer if you have ever wondered if Heinrich Muller was Chosen by a Companion of Valdemar.

    You might be a fanfic writer if your reaction to a loved media property being ruined by the IP holders is “At least I will have a freer hand”.

    You might be a fanfic writer if you’ve ever written a story purely for a pun based on a character’s name.

    • I once wrote fanfic for a series I’d never watched. Eh.

      • BobtheRegisterredFool

        Most recent project I’ve thought on involves three series, of which I only have significant first hand experience with one. The thought was, no, I should not add five more series (which I mainly have second hand experience with). Many of the additions would halfway fit the original idea that brought the first three together, but I almost have a story without losing it in even more complexity.

  31. “You might be a writer if….” No joke, but here is what came to me:

    I was sure it had been only one night, admittedly, one hell of a night.

    The clerk knocking at the door asking me what I wanted for breakfast said it was Wednesday morning. O.K., I thought, it should be Saturday. Whatever. “Bell pepper and onion omelet with cheese, oatmeal, mixed fruit and a double carafe of coffee,’ I said. He went away.

    I turned back to the key board and continued writing. I hoped that I would get that coffee.

  32. Awright, who sent their evil muse to invade my sleep this morning? I practically never remember any dream that had a long timespan to it, yet earlier, until the dog woke me wanting to go outside, I was dreaming of a comparatively long storyline like so:

    Some group was making a movie, or perhaps filming a play on location (there were elements, such as a suggestion of there having been more than one male lead and sort of a sense that it had been played in multiple locations, but it was definitely not on stage). The premise was that a Victorian lady’s ghost was romantically interested in some unlikely man and was pursuing him. He did not at first understand, and thought he was being haunted.

    As far as the play goes, I only got the general plot and the location of the final scene, which was held in a fountain (I don’t even know if she was brought back to life somehow or not). The rest of the dream was the winning of the lottery by George McFly (yes, THAT George McFly), who worked with me at the Aluminum Foundry where I worked almost 25 years ago, plus discussions of meeting the writer, who was a genre giant, some sort of cross between J.K. Rowlling and Meryl Streep.

    There was also some sort of chase through the foundry, which I cannot remember if it was part of the movie/play, or if it was “real”, which involved some sort of humanoid non-humans, such as goblins, perhaps.

    The last part of the dream before being woken up had me talking to the writer, who had just asked if she had seen me before, and I was telling her that I worked with George McFly at the foundry. This was while the cast was in preparation for the final scene, in the fountain.