From Sarah, With Joy

Writer querying two novels and some other word babies. I tend to effervesce.

New post every Monday

Monday, May 16, 2011

Why I'm hesitant to reveal info about my WIP


I've heard varying opinions on when to talk with other people about the projects you're working on. Some people like having feedback and outside perspective throughout the entire process. Others, (me), are so self-conscious that any outside eyes, friendly or otherwise, make them fidget with doubt. I start second-guessing myself and my piece as soon as someone else has seen it. Therefore I prefer to have it as done as I can make it before I let anyone look at it or even hear about it, or it could make finishing it even harder.

Does that make sense? Part of me really wants to tell you my title, my main character, maybe post a clip now and then. But then I worry that doing so will make me feel cheesy and dumb, even if all the comments are nice and supportive, which I'm sure they would be. So basically, I'm still internally debating about what to do. The book is only 1/3 done, so maybe I just need to give it a bit more time before I put anything out there.

What are your thoughts? Are you someone who likes constant feedback, or prefers keeping things close for as long as possible?

Sarah Allen

20 comments:

  1. I feel the same way. I have mentioned my wip but never posted any information about it. I came to the decision that I would wait until I am done. But I am not sure how much I will share even then.

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  2. My personal experience is that telling someone about what I'm working on, or worse, letting them read pages, acts like a release valve for all that creative energy. I could be zipping along on a great story, then let let someone read it, or heck, even just tell them about it, and poof! it's all gone. I'm not sure why, but I've heard of that happening to others, too.

    That's not to say that would be your experience, though. You could have a very positive experience sharing you WIP's with others. Follow your instincts.

    Dan

    Dan

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  3. I think I'm feeling what Dan mentioned...

    I can tell people I'm working on something, and sometimes refer to it as "the ____ story" (with the blank being something minor, like it's currently "the balloon story") among writer friends, but I can't tell more than that. To me, writing is all about telling the story. I just need to get it out there. If I nutshell it for you - it's out there! It's told, and now I don't need to write it. I know that sounds a little extreme, but that's how it is for me.

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  4. I know exactly what you mean. I love getting comments on my work. And feedback, and all sorts of stuff during the creative process.

    But I've learned over time that getting feedback and input at certain times can completely kill my forward momentum. If I share chapters for feedback before I'm done with the story, even the slightest "this could be a little better" can completely kill my desire to finish.

    On a similar note, if I start talking about plotline with someone and they have thoughts about where it should go that don't mesh with mine, once again dead in the water for a while.

    So I've learned, as much as I love to share, I wait until a draft is completely done before putting it out there.

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  5. I think what you're experiencing is a very familiar thing for most of us 'scribblers', especially those of us who blog.

    Unless you're actively trying to generate commercial interest in a story you've written and are wanting others to buy, I've never been one for sharing a ton of information publicly on my projects.

    For one, if you have an interest in pursuing traditional publication for what you're working on, it can be damaging to share it on the web. (Too much, and a publisher will consider it already published.)

    If you want to give your blog readers a taste of your writing chops, I think there are better ways to do so like flash fiction, contests, poetry, and short fiction.

    As far as the fear factor of letting others into your world, I'd say it's as necessary part of the process, but only at certain junctures and only with certain folks. You love your followers (we all do!), but that doesn't make them good candidates for feedback. Develop a relationship with a small number of writers whom you trust and share work with.

    Hope this helps, and keep at it! I'm scared to death of other people's opinions of my writing too! :-)

    EJ

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  6. I'm with everyone above. I have a hard time sharing parts of my books with others until I feel that I'm at the right place to do so. What if they give me feedback that stalls my writing process?

    I've also read several blog posts by agents who dislike writers putting big chunks of their manuscript on the web for all to read.

    I have trust issues with who I let read my work. For this reason I recently joined the SCBWI and found a local critique group that I'd like to join. You don't know if people are who they say they are on the web, in person is different.

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  7. I go back and forth. I 100% do not like talking out loud about my WIP to other people. When I talk about it, it just loses something and it sounds dumb and I second guess myself. My last novel, I had feedback throughout and it actually helped motivate me and understand where my story was going. This time around, I am more hesitant to get feedback because I want to get to the heart of the story before I get people's opinions. I think you should go with your gut. If you're not ready, then you're not ready. Don't do it. But eventually, you should let others see it. Let them help you and don't think that it has to be perfect first (easier said than done, I'm sure :-) If you let your work out in a place where you feel comfortable and ready, it can only benefit you.

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  8. I did share an excerpt of a WIP for a blogfest last year but I think by the time I'd written it I'd figured out it wasn't going to get to the querying stage in its current form so I wasn't too worried. Now I don't think I'd share an excerpt of a WIP for a variety of reasons. I was going to say I'm not as precious about the title or my main character but there is one title I love for its promise of the premise and the irony that I wouldn't share and I wouldn't share a logline before I had a finished manuscript to go with it so someone couldn't steal it (as if they would). So yeah, I guess I'm in the same boat!
    - Sophia.

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  9. Oh, boy, I totally relate to your itch for privacy. I tend to keep my new ideas close to the vest and I only show new chapters to my trusted workshop group. That said, I've gotten slightly less that way as time goes on. I have managed to "talk around" the actual project while getting very close to its core by posing blog questions and the like ON the subject, but not specifically, know what I mean?

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  10. I know how you feel. I was like that on my last book. My prob was the fact that one of the characters was a horrid person and I was having anxiety about him. I complained about him and the book but just recently revealed. do what you feel comfortable with when you feel comfy!

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  11. I've put a scene or two on my blog or on my website but not ones that reveal too much of the story. I like getting the feedback on the scene but prefer to keep the whole thing to myself and my crit group while it's still a WIP

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  12. Tough one. I don't have anyone to really bounce my stuff off, so I am working blindly with no real feedback. Sometimes I feel like I'm working in a vacuum, which makes me very uncomfortable.

    Either way, it's not easy.

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  13. You need to do whatever keeps you positive and upbeat about your story. Hide it from the world until that very last word is written if you need to. Then you can celebrate by telling us and we'll all be celebrating right along with you! Good luck, Sarah. And THanks so much for stopping by my blog today.

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  14. During NaNo, I usually write a blurb about what I'll be working on and then post excerpts once a week.

    I also have two on-going serials (two different blogs) that I update once a week. So I guess that makes me someone who enjoys the constant feedback. :-)

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  15. I'm the same way. I've mentioned the name of one of my characters on my blog but that's it. I feel weird mentioning what my book is about or even the title. I think I'll feel a little more comfortable with it once it's done. :)

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  16. Sounds like your censoring yourself, perhaps afraid that others might do the same-- but rejoice in your creative powers and post it for you. the right people will show up and comment and you can always moderate the comments first-- all best-- j

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  17. Wow - such a great post, and the comments you've inspired are incredible!!! I'm naturally kind of superstitious / secretive with my writing - but I'm working on it!

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  18. I can definitely relate to what you're feeling here. I'm not afraid of criticism before it's finished, because sometimes constructive criticism can help lead you on a more improved path or find issues before they truly get any worse with a finished product. But I do get the thought that it might be discouraging and you might start to second guess yourself. I think for me I really like originality in my works, and since I'm working on vampire fiction right now--what's so uber popular now--I don't want too much revealed or anything borrowed from the concept. It's hard to make an "original" vampire story nowadays, so I don't even like too much outside interference. Ah, the struggles of a writer lol.

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  19. I love to hear the opinion of trusted people, those who'd tell me if it's rubbish or not. Hadn't it been for the early feedback of my friend when I started the first novel, I would have ended up with 1. an entirely different book and 2. that would have been unreadable.

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  20. Push through and finish it!!!! you can do it. just Write, Write WRITE!

    And then go comment on my blog about this very topic...because I mentioned you in my post "Critique Groups: When?" and how you prefer to wait til you're done for someone to read your work. http://tademings.blogspot.com/

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I absolutely love hearing from you! Thank you so, so much for your thoughts and comments, they really do make my day. Consider yourself awesome. Also, I do my best to respond to every comment within 24 hours, so I invite you to come back and continue the conversation :)

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