If you have a friend who’s an author, be prepared:
She will expect you to read her new novel,even when you say you the last novel you read was last summer—that one about billionaire sex or vampires, though you don’t want to admit this to your friend, who has written a serious literary novel.
She will say that you don’t have to read it and really mean—she wants you to buy her novel.
She will confide that she prefers you buy it at an independent bookstore,and you will not know what she means.You haven’t been to a bookstore since you had to buy your mother a Mother’s Day present two years ago. Whatever you read appears on the screen you also play games on and sometimes answer a text or an email or as a last resort:a phone call.
And then when you do buy this novel,because you are a very good friend, she will ask you,“Have you read it? And what you do think?” Since the last time you had to report on a novel was in college or high school, you will deflect her questions with, “how are the sales?” and she will shrug your question off and persist on wanting to know what you think about her novel.
And then when you tell you love it,especially the opening scene, she will ask you about the end.You will have to say you loved it too, even if you skipped to the end and read only the last line, (hint: this English major trick will save you much persistent questioning from the writer).
After being relieved for passing this test,your author friend will ask if you will write an online review, even though you haven’t written anything about a novel since high school or college, and barely write anything longer than a text these days.
You’ll start thinking that having this friend is way too much work, if you haven’t already.
But somehow, guiltily,since you were once an English or liberal arts major too, you will compliment her on the complexity of the story once again, thinking that this will get you out of actually writing anything.But she will nudge you: Amazon only requires twenty measly words for a review.Certainly, you can write twenty words about anything, including her novel, you will think.
So later, while staring at the screen, you will wonder how anyone writes anything, how did your friend write an entire novel of words strung together into sentences baked into paragraphs, resulting in a story with living, breathing characters, which the parts you read were really pretty good, especially that twist, so unexpected, a fictional dream, you remember that phrase from somewhere, and maybe you’ll even finish her novel someday.
You will turn off your screen and sit there in the dark, thinking that if you could only think of a story, and write it down, you could be a writer too.
Caroline Bock is the author of the new young adult novel,