Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Why Be Secretive About Your Writing

If you were to ask me what my current novel is about, I am liable to tell you it is about 65,000 words.
Why be secretive about my work? Don't I want to interest people in my story. Yep, I want to. My problem is I am a pure story teller. I am not trying to be rude. The problem stems from my desire to get my story onto the printed page (well, at least the hard drive of my computer). Perhaps when I am old and forgetful enough to hide my own Easter eggs, I will open up about my #WIPs. But, for now I suffer over each request to "tell me what it's about."  If I were to open up and reveal the details of the story, I have thus already told the story. Why tell it again? I lose all desire to continue.
I made this mistake when I was learning my craft and left behind a huge number of what could have been great stories. But, considering my state of learning, it is probably just as well. I lacked the ability to tell those stories as well as I would have wanted to.
I do have regrets over one MS that I had finished a draft and a half of, only to have hurricane Katrina destroy it. I remember nearly every line of that MS and it centered around a concept that had been floating around in my head for over twenty years.
I will never go back to that novel. It will never be rewritten. Even though I originally had been so inspired as to have finished the first draft in less than a month. In my mixed up confusion of a brain, I have already told that story.
I'll admit there are some who can repeat their stories over and over again and still put pen to paper. I believe the true story teller wants his audience to experience the emotional impact of their story fresh and strong. While there is something to be said for wearing the old comfortable shoes, that, to me, is for the reader not the writer. If you wish to pick up one of my novels over and over again, more power to you. I've a few novels that I find comfort in rereading myself. But please, don't ask me what my Work in Progress is about.