Catching Fireflies

finding magic along the way

Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen

This post ends with one of my favorite writing-related videos! Enjoy

Write that!

Anyone who has ever attempted to write a story or a book, or even an essay, understands how hard it is to talk about what your are writing.  I imagine that people working in other art forms will have this type of issue as well.

You start off either flying by the seat of your pants and hoping you will be able to construct a loose plot as you go, or you go into the project with an outline and character descriptions and entire worlds created on scrap paper and stick with a tight story arc.

I have tried writing both ways, and believe me, they are equally difficult.

But regardless of the method I choose to follow on a project, I find that I am always hesitant to share much of my ideas with others.  I don’t know if it is an underlying fear that they will tell me the whole idea is stupid, or if I will find that in stating the details out loud that I will tell myself it is stupid.  (Nothing like killing a story before you ever write a word!)

Whatever the reason, I have found that stories tend to lose some of their magic the more they are hashed out over coffee or dinner. Plot twists that seem interesting in your mind but are not fully formed, seem less plausible when spoken aloud.  And characters, fully fleshed out in your writing but shared too soon, become flat and dull.

No, I tend to suffer in silence as my story unfolds, worrying over details and character flaws by myself, and hoping it will all come together at some later point.  Once written, my husband is the first to see my stories.  For better or worse, he is stuck with that task.  🙂  At that point, I am open to discuss plot, character, setting and so on until every loose end is seamlessly weaved into the story.

At the start of NaNoWriMo a few years ago, a fellow writer posted this link to a very funny Mitchell and Webb Youtube Video.

I think this is the reason I keep my stories to myself until they are on the page.  Too many ideas thrown about (or not) will cause my muse to run screaming for a dark corner where she will curl into a fetal position and rock back and forth until the helpful advisor leaves the room.

Tell me if you have ever gotten this kind of “help” with your writing!

6 Comments

  1. Rosemary Reader and Writer

    I absolutely hate having to talk about my what I’m writing. I once had to do so before a group of fellow writers and I was so embarrassed I described the plot and everything about my book in such a muddled way that they all glazed over. I find it really constructive to discuss my work online though. Feedback coming in written form and not face to face somehow makes me feel safer.

    • Oh, I can totally relate to this! I have a hard time explaining my plots to people! Either I get too excited and skip all over the place, or if I am struggling with it, I wind up thinking it is completely ridiculous and wanting to throw it in the garbage. 😊

      • I always worry people will just assume I’m mad and have me committed. Also suffer from being tongue tied. I think explaining your plot to someone else is a very personal issue, there really has to be a lot of trust there in the first place.

        • I totally agree! It is a huge trust issue, both with the person you are sharing with and also with yourself. It is hard enough telling someone you are a writer. You have to have a lot of faith in yourself as a writer to share your actually storyline!

  2. Love it. Absolutely had this before, everyone’s a critic when they think they have influential powers over your writing or even the concept of you as a writer. I can remember being most disheartened when a teacher of mine told me I would never mount up to the task for all my faults. I think those who are welcomed as confidants in a writers pursuits should know to only offer truly helpful critics or else just smile, nod along and give vague encouragement so as not to make ones muse suicidal. And there is always someone who wants you to change everything so that in fact you are a ghost writer and nothing remains of your own originality. *Cough* supervisor at work *Cough*.

    • I always find the nonwriters in my life are a lot more likely to give the “oh, you know what you should write….” feedback. I always tell them that it sounds like they have their story idea and they’re should write it!

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