Character Development, Oldsters

Can you keep a secret?

I’ve gotten several questions lately asking if I would be serializing my novel, Oldsters, here on my blog while I worked on editing my first draft. That, coupled along with a conversation I had with a friend at dinner the other night, sparked the idea for this posting.

While catching each other up on our lives, she told me she had a patent-pending project – something for the movie industry. “That’s great,” I said. “What’s it all about?” She said she didn’t want to really discuss it, but that she had hired a patent attorney and was looking for a marketing company, a “team to get behind me.”

Conversation over, and I was disappointed. I mean, I didn’t need every detail, but I’m sure she could have given me a big-picture view. In any event, I wished her luck, but that was all I could really do. I put that together with the questions I was getting about my own book, and I started thinking about how we guard our creative projects with such a vengeance. I do admit, when I started this blog last year, I did post a couple of the early chapters. Since then, I have posted a few general updates (or challenges I’m currently facing) on my novel, and I have a page dedicated to a “synopsis”, but that’s about it. It’s funny, because I’m pretty sure those first few chapters have already changed significantly; and I don’t think I’d continue to post anything significant in volume from the story.

We creative sorts are a secretive bunch. Think about it, in the great old days, magazines were full of early drafts of what would become classic literature. Hemingway and his bunch scrambled all over each other to get their early drafts into whatever publication would take them. Today, I do see some writers posting their ideas and drafts online, but I know just as many who would never think of doing that. Why? Is it really just a matter of worrying about someone taking your idea or your character sketches? Or is it fear of rejection? I venture to guess it’s probably a bit of both.

For me, it’s more about not really wanting a myriad of opinions or suggestions from others at this point in my development. I do look forward to working with a couple of beta readers when I’m ready, but when it’s time for feedback, I’ll pay most attention to those who love to read – and not writers in particular. I learned from being in a couple of writer groups, that listening to critiques from fellow writers can make you question your own choices – at least when you’re early on in your fiction writing. At some point though, you learn to listen to suggestions with an open mind, picking and choosing, your own voice presiding over all others.

A think a compromise is in order here. I love that readers are asking me about my book. It’s such an exhausting but exciting journey, and as time goes on, I am more aware of how much hard work it takes. So having people show interest is a huge motivator! Next week, I’ll be posting a few character sketches, as well as an exploration of the story’s theme. I’ll look forward to feedback (writers included!) on all that I post.

write on…



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