who you know

Justine Larbalestier has a post up called Why do all the writers know each other? — a question put to her by a workshop student.

I read Justine’s weblog now and then, but I don’t know her, in case you were wondering. We do have the same fabulous agent, but otherwise our worlds don’t much intersect. She writes sci-fi, which I read but don’t write.

Part of her answer to the question:

So how do all us writers know each other? From hanging out in places other writers are likely to be: conventions, conferences, book festivals, university English departments, writers’ workshops.

Now see, I would say that most writers don’t know each other. And if one author does know a lot of other authors, it’s almost always restricted to the genre in which he or she writes.

I’m defining “know” this way: somebody I can contact who will remember me, usually somebody I have met in person. My list isn’t particularly long, maybe fifteen names of other published novelists. The list gets longer if I count other authors I know exclusively through email and weblogs. These are people I might email with a work-related question, and know I’ll get a response. It’s my sense that we’d get along if we met.

As I write in two genres, I have two sets of connections. If I really had to, I could follow the romance connections or the litcrit connections and find my way to almost anybody within those groups. I can’t imagine under what circumstances I’d try to set that train in motion, but I think it would be possible. On the other hand, I have no idea how I’d get in touch with the authors who have established themselves in mystery, horror, or sci-fi. Unless they happen to be represented by the same agent, which is how I came to meet Garth Nix.

In general I don’t miss having a lot of connections. Maybe I’d feel differently about it if I were twenty-one and living in Manhattan, but right now? I’m one of the more reclusive types.

And I have to get back to that blank page, all by my lonesome.