One of the struggles many of my writer friends and I have is an innate and deep-seated misanthropy. I’m sorry, did I say misanthropy? I meant deep-seated introversion that is often wrongly interpreted (okay, and I’ll admit, sometimes rightly interpreted) as misanthropy. When we word-lovers find that special someone who Gets It (with the caps), we sometimes latch onto them with a febrile fervency that could easily be considered obsessive. But that’s okay. We are writers, we’re born to obsess. Sometimes over something as mundane as the right shade of orange when describing a sunset. This is the type of consideration that can consume us for hours. And our SOs, if we’ve found someone who can tolerate us, are cool with it.
Back before 2012 when I found my eternal syntax-mate, if I’d written a list of the things I would have sought in him, it would have looked something like this. I know you all relate 😉
Traits of a Writer’s Perfect Partner
Someone who shares a knee-jerk loathing for overdone and unnecessary passive voice.
Someone who will not judge me if I switch genres.
Someone who will not assume my silence is passive aggressive, but will instead understand that I’m merely plotting.
Someone who’ll read all reviews on my works first, weed out the bad, and promise to only let me see the good ones. (While simultaneously synthesizing the helpful critical elements of the bad reviews and politely introducing them to me as his own when the timing is right.)
Someone who understands how important it is to have a theme in a written work and will not fault me for agonizing about it, especially upon discovery that theme is the new category by which I’ve reorganized our bookshelf instead of simple surface options like genre or author.
Someone with whom I can discuss my characters as if they are real people and who will empathize with their trials and tribulations as if they were his own when I talk endlessly about them.
Someone who will understand if I’m late to a dinner or other social function if my excuse is “I was in the zone,” and who will likewise both be cool with and expect me to have a good time without him during a social function if he couldn’t make it because he was in his own zone.
Someone who promises to beta read my work while they’re still alert, and will switch to someone less important’s (snicker-snicker) when he’s tired.
Someone who doesn’t call me crazy if I say something like this while we’re enjoying a peaceful afternoon in the park: “Those children look like they’re having a great time. It just put me in mind of this great scene where a school bus explodes and the protagonist has to choose between saving the injured children or getting to the airport in time to chase down an arms smuggler who might be planning to bomb something bigger next. And the protag’s own kid was on the bus. Honey, we need to go home now, I have to write!”
Someone who agrees that character is story!
And finally, someone who would much rather curl up to a book and each other at night than go out with friends. Because, after all, writers, and possibly by virtue of association writers’ partners, really are just misanthropes with fabulous vocabularies.
Do you have your own list of perfect traits you seek in someone to complement the people-shunning word-obsessive you sometimes are? Feel free to share!
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