How Soon Do You Share Your Work?

Censorship, Limitations, Freedom Of ExpressionI know people who won’t bring a manuscript to critique group until it is polished.  Me?  I’ll bring a much earlier draft.  After all, I’m less interested in line edits than I am in knowing if the plot works.

Then I read a blog post from a writer who won’t even discuss a manuscript until she’s completed a fairly polished draft.  She claimed that if she talks about her idea with other people, the need to actually write it down dissipates.  Seriously?  I just didn’t buy it.

But then I noticed something.  I came up with an idea for a fiction novel.  I immediately discussed it with the friend who inspired it.  And I discussed it with my husband as I started doing the research — its historic fiction so there will be a lot of research.  And I blogged about it.  Before too long I realized that some of that enthusiasm had waned.  Had talking about it consumed some of the energy that would have driven me to write it?  I honestly don’t know.

But about the time the enthusiasm for one project was waning, I read a couple of tweets by agents.  One wanted X.  Another wanted Y.  My imagination made a leap and combined X and Y to create my own idea.  I’m not sure why but this time I decided to do something a bit different.  I’ve blogged a bit about doing setting research but that’s been it. I haven’t told anyone what I’m working on beyond the fact that it is early middle grade science fiction.  What inspired it?  I’m keeping that to myself because I don’t want anyone to read it with those bits of inspiration in mind.  They were there and if they come through great.  If they don’t, they still sparked the story.  What matters is whether or not it works.

I knew that finding time to work on this would be tricky, because I’m also writing a book for Red Line. In spite of the Red Line book and teaching a class, I’ve been working on this fiction project for about a month now.  I can’t say that I’ve made an astonishing amount of progress.  I have about 21 pages.  But 21 pages on this story is a lot more than I’ve managed on the other.

Did talking about the project sap the energy?  I really can’t say.



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