Friday, April 19, 2013

Writing A Novel - Quarantine

If you have been following along with this month's challenge, you probably expected that for my "Q" day that I would be writing about the query process for writing a novel. I thought about it. I planned on it. Then I decided that I had more experience with another "Q" in writing a novel: QUARANTINE.

What I am talking about here is involved in the process of writing. The part where I feel like I can't discuss my story with anyone without possibly contaminating it. I put my imagination into a quarantine.

I realized right away with my first novel how dangerous talking about story can actually be. Immediately after telling someone about the basic premise of my story - a girl keeps getting diary entries from a fellow, anonymous student in her locker - people had a bunch of things to say about it. They were well-meaning comments of interest, curiosity and attempted support:
  • "Ooo! That reminds me of ____" and then fill in the blank. It reminded people of lots of different things. Once they'd tell me that, my mind would work out how it was different. If it wasn't different enough, I would doubt my story and think about changing directions (sometimes I actually would change directions).
  • "Ooo! I love mysteries!" Leading me to think, Is this a mystery? Should it be more sleuth-y? And, in general, second-guess the entire premise of my book.
  • Questions, questions, questions! About characters, about plot, about plot twists, about the ending - well, about everything. While many questions were helpful in helping me clarify portions of my story, but others I just wasn't ready for yet. I started thinking about things before they were developed. It screwed me all up.
There was only solution for novel number two: complete and utter quarantine. To take Stephen King's advice of writing the first draft "with the door shut" to a new extreme. So far, this month, I think it was a very good idea, but only time will tell. It has been difficult in some cases (I usually tell my husband everything), but it's been worth it.

Do you go into a writer's quarantine or do you share as you go?
Thanks for reading! 

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