Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Who Do You Tell?

A writer acquaintance recently expressed dismay because she had told her husband about a bright, shiny new story idea, only to have him nod blankly, say "that's nice, dear," and move on to "what's for dinner?" The writer felt slighted and deflated, as if her great story had been rejected before it was even written. This story made me think about when we share our ideas and with whom. I am lucky to have a spouse who shares my love of fantasy, and particularly YA, and who is pretty easily sucked into my story ideas. But I still find that I have to be careful about when I share my story ideas because telling an idea before it has time to grow sometimes seems to stunt it. It's as if I've already let it out into the world and I no longer feel that burning urge to write it, whereas if I had kept mum I would have been desperate to get it down on the page. And telling a story idea before at least a scene or two are down on paper feels risky somehow, like telling someone that you are pregnant as soon as you get the test. So much can still go wrong! I almost feel superstitious about it. And yet, once those few scenes are down it can feel great to tell someone all about it, particularly other writers and critique group members who know when it is too early to critique, when it is time to just say "Sounds super. Go write."

So what about you? Who do you share your story ideas with? When? How much does their reaction matter?

3 comments:

Sarah Matanah said...

I tell people randomly. People process things so differently that whatever they're thinking and my idea end up having very little to do with each other.

Norma Boe said...

For me, sometimes talking about an idea can be like a mouthful of cheap gum. The flavor fades quickly, and I'm left with hard to chew rubber. I have to spit out before I get to blow decent bubble.

And it's not just talking about it that can take all the shiny out of an idea. I'm great at outlining and revising an idea to death.

I'm jealous of those people who can just get an idea and start writing to see where it goes.

Nola J Moore said...

So as it turns out, I should have stopped here long enough to say that the writer in this post is NOT ME. :) Poor hubby, all concerned....

I will say, though, that who I tell and at what stage depends a lot on the project, and on the people involved. I know who I can talk to about a new idea and still be excited about it afterwards. I know which folks only get to read final drafts. This took a bit of practice to discover, but it wasn't hard. And I got a thicker skin in the process....