[Author's Note: This post does not refer to pitching agents, practicing your pitch with fellow pitchers, or working out a complicated plot issue with a trusted colleague. It's really about yapping on, ad nauseum, about one's WIP. Seriously.]
Ever notice how two people in love just shimmer with it? They're completely attuned to one another; every thought, every caressing glance, every breath -- all ions, in fact -- reach toward their core of love. Even separated, their bodies turn toward each other, photosynthesis on steroids.
And when separated, the only conversation worth having revolves around the beauty or amazingness or dipped-in-AwesomeSauce-specialness of this Love.
I imagine each of us is equally in love with our WIPs. Or obsessed, as the case may be. It calls to us when we're driving down the street or washing dishes or playing Scrabble. Characters whisper sweet dialogue into our writer's ear. Plots thicken like grandma's gravy.
So just as lovers often do, we're tempted to talk about our passion.
And I'm reminded of my father telling me once that what is beautiful to one person is sordid to another. I think it was his attempt to cover that birds & the bees thing without getting too specific. But what sticks with me is this concept: just because I'm enamored with
doesn't mean anyone else wants to hear about it.
When Douglas posted on our team blog about discussing one's WIP, I realized that when it comes down to it, I choose not to talk. Even when pressed, I tend to deflect the questions or change the conversation. I do this for several reasons, none of which are necessarily right -- just right for me.
Why I Don't Discuss My WIP
1. It's Unprofessional: I first heard this at a conference, but it rings true for me. If you run into an oft-published author, she won't rattle on about the intricacies of her latest plot. Why would she? She wants you to buy the dang book. And, frankly, it's boring trying to follow someone's retelling of a story. Contrary to what you may have heard, I have little desire to bore those I meet. Talking about the craft of writing, on the other hand, is a time-honored tradition. Chat away.
2. It May Jinx My Work: I don't tend to be superstitious, but I have noticed that once I discuss something plot-related, my energy fizzles. I've already told the story, so why take the time to write it down? It may seem a bit amateurish, but it's the truth. I don't like talking because then the magic is gone.
3. It's Freaky: I've met writers who freak me out. They talk about their characters as if they're real people, like they've just sat down to dinner with them. Some even talk about how demanding their characters are and how they know the story is finished because so-and-so isn't visiting anymore. Alrighty then. It's all well and good to get into the work; it's an entirely different thing to require psychiatric care. My philosophy? If writing is your therapy, great. Just don't share it.
So those are my rules. What works for you? What doesn't?