Would You Rather
Would you rather write an entire book with your feet or with your tongue?
With my feet. At least then I could lounge on my back as I wrote. I think it would be horrible to have my face down at a keyboard all day - hard on the neck..
Would you rather have one giant bestseller or a long string of moderate sellers?
A long string of moderate sellers. One giant bestseller seems to mean people are always disappointed with whatever you write next. And I’d hate to know I’d reached my peak in terms of commercial success and was on the way down. That would be dispiriting.
Would you rather be a well known author now or be considered a literary genius after you’re dead?
Now! I’m impatient. After my death is useless to me.
Would you rather write a book without using conjunctions or have every sentence of your book begin with one?
Um, what are conjunctions? Kidding. Every sentence begin with one. That would be an interesting challenge - I quite like having those sort of constraints - they stretch you as a writer. It might wuickly get annoying though and then I would wish I’d chosen the other one.
Would you rather have every word of your favorite novel tattooed on your skin or always playing as an audio in the background for the rest of your life?
I pretty much hate tattoos but the idea of an incessant background noise would drive me nuts, so I’ll take the ink.
Would you rather write a book you truly believe in and have no one read it or write a crappy book that comprises everything you believe in and have it become an overnight success?
The book I truly believe in. I would hate to be successful with something I knew was all wrong. That’s a Faustian pact.
Would you rather write a plot twist you hated or write a character you hated?
I can’t really imagine doing either of those - I mean if I hated it, I’d just change it. but having a character the reader hates, that can be fun.
Would you rather use your skin as paper or your blood as ink?
I’m squeamish and don’t like the thought of dripping blood so I’ll go with skin as paper.
Would you rather become a character in your novel or have your characters escape the page and reenact the novel in real life?
Escape the page! That would be incredible.
Would you rather write without using punctuation and capitalization or without using words that contained the letter E?
Without punctuation or capitalisation. I think you would have to make too many compromises to miss out a letter - especially such a common one. Although a book without punctuation would undoubtedly be hard work for the reader.
Would you rather have schools teach your book or ban your book?
Teach my book! I love to think of young minds being war[ed/molded by my strange imaginings.
Would you rather be forced to listen to Ayn Rand bloviate for an hour or be hit on by an angry Dylan Thomas?
I don’t know what bloviate means but it sounds horrible so I’m going to say hit on. It seems weird to think of someone hitting on you in an angry style but it could be interesting.
Would you rather be reduced to speaking only in haiku or be capable of only writing in haiku?
Writing. How tiresome to have to think that hard about everything that came out of my mouth. It would be unbearable.
Would you rather be stuck on an island with only the 50 Shades Series or a series in a language you couldn’t read?
I’m going to be tricksy here and say it depends on the language. I like to imagine that if it was a European language, which was structurally similar to English, I’d be able to absorb it by osmosis if I read it often enough. But if it was in, say, the Cyrillic alphabet, then, I’d go 50 Shades. I could cut it up and make a new book out of it in the style of Jonathan Safran Foer.
Would you rather critics rip your book apart publicly or never talk about it at all?
Never talk about it. Having your book ripped apart publicly would be utterly devastating. Even the odd mediocre review I’ve got has felt like 50 lashings so I couldn’t imagine a real take-down.
Would you rather have everything you think automatically appear on your Twitter feed or have a voice in your head narrate your every move?
Twitter. That would be annoying for everyone else but not as bad as a voice in my head narrating my every move - that would be annoying for me.
Would you rather give up your computer or pens and paper?
My computer. I’m happy writing longhand - I wrote my first two novels that way.
Would you rather write an entire novel standing on your tippy-toes or laying down flat on your back?
The lazy part of me wants to say flat on my back but tippy-toes would give me great calf muscles and I’d probably be motivated to write fast - no messing around because I’d be tired so it might be good for me.
Would you rather read naked in front of a packed room or have no one show up to your reading?
No one show up. I don’t have enough body confidence to be okay with the thought of strangers seeing my body undisguised.
Would you rather read a book that is written poorly but has an excellent story, or read one with weak content but is written well?
I’d rather a well-written weak story. No matter how strong a story is, if the writing is truly awful, I can’t read it. I threw The Da Vinci Code across the room in sheer disgust.
Would you rather have rampant misspellings in your obituary or a negative New York Times review of your book?
The misspelled obituary has got to win out here. I wouldn’t care because I wouldn’t know. Whereas a negative NY Times review would be excoriating.
Annabel Smith is the author of Whiskey & Charlie (a Target book club pick), The Ark and A New Map of the Universe. She holds a PhD in Writing and lives in Perth Western Australia. @annabelsmithaus, annabelsmith.com, thearkbook.com