When I first started writing fiction, I’d freely share the specifics of whatever story I was writing.
But then…after I’d tell someone about my latest greatest idea, it would jinx me. No, I don’t mean it literally, but inevitably if I told someone what I was writing, I’d stop. Either the person would say something that deterred me—like she or he had just read a book exactly like the one I was writing—or when I said the idea out loud it sounded dumb and lost that magic “it factor.”
This came up recently when I participated in a “blog hop” about writing process. One of the questions asked what I was currently working on.
Most of the writers I know have strong feelings about this subject—kind of like whether or not you like to listen to music while you write—either you do or you don’t. Different writers have different reasons…some are similar to mine, some writers I’ve known are afraid another writer might (for lack of a better word) steal their idea. Consequently, if I ask a writer friend what she’s working on and she changes the subject, I smile and nod.[pullquote]Most of the writers I know have strong feelings about this subject—kind of like whether or not you like to listen to music while you write—either you do or you don’t. [/pullquote]
When I first started writing fiction—part time, when I was a full time tech writer, during my “free sharing days”—my mother asked me what I was writing about. I told her I was writing a mystery novel about a woman who solved mysteries with the help of her dog. A week later I got a book in the mail (from my mother) about a woman who solved mysteries with the help of her dog. I stopped writing.
Another time, shortly after I moved into our old house, I did a month of research about the previous owners of our house—all the way back to 1895 when it was built. The characters were so interesting that I told my aunt I was thinking of writing a book called The Yellow House—about my house’s “people.” She said: “Who but you would be interested in reading about the history of your house?” All the notes sit, collecting dust, in a box under my desk.
See what I mean?
For a long time after that I kept my writing totally secret, never uttering a peep. If someone asked what I was writing, I’d say, “fiction.” When they gave me a questioning look, I’d add, “a novel.”