Why can’t people just be quiet? Why must we always vomit from the mouth? Do you ever have moments where you so badly want to tell someone about the story you’re working on, but you know in your heart you really should just keep your mouth closed? I do this all the time. I have these ideas in my head and I’ve just put them down on paper, and I want so badly to share it with someone that I find myself begging and pleading with those around me to let me tell them about it. It’s usually my very tight writing friends, my husband and sometimes even my kids. (I know, I must be desperate).
Maybe I’m looking for validation that the story is good? That I’m on the right track? Sometimes that’s the case. Other times I just want to bounce the idea off of someone because maybe the story isn’t making sense and I want to brainstorm a bit. I find just “speaking” about my topic to someone helps me to break it out further in my head. Sometimes saying things out loud has a way of making things sound, well, not so great and then I know there are inconsistencies and issues that I need to address.
Of course, then there are the random people you meet in daily life who find out you write and ask “what are you working on?” That’s when I should just learn to be quiet and say, “Oh, it’s a YA novel, haven’t gotten it flushed out yet.” Yeah, getting me to be quiet is another blog onto its own. I invariably start spewing, hoping for that “OMG, that sounds amazing” reply. Invariably the response is anything but. They give me this quiet stare, or a little crinkle starts between their eyebrows and already I know that this isn’t going to go well. Then I start to back pedal super-fast and try to justify what I’ve just said. Sometimes I feel like I have to justify the entire novel!
This doesn’t just happen to me with strangers. I have an 11 year old son this happens with all the time. He’s a super high fuctioning Aspie and he loves to come into my room and read over my shoulder when I’m writing (which yes, I find distracting). I love the kid to death, but this is never a good thing. He’ll read something and that little crinkle starts between his own brows and then the inevitable line he quotes nearly every time. “Mom, I’m not trying to be rude but you really should write it this way.” He proceeds to correct my grammar (he is not always correct, by the way), changes my plotlines (all off of a one page reading of a 200+ page book) and explain, in detail, how people really don’t like science fiction and fantasy and I really should make things more real life, less violent and more interesting. After I’ve sucked in my breath, I smile and say, “kiddo, while I appreciate the suggestions, this is my book and this is how I want to write it.” This is usually followed by a “My mom just doesn’t understand anything” shrug and he says, “Just trying to help.” I always make the suggestion that he should write his own book and then he can write whatever he’d like. (that never works – for him that feels like homework and he skedaddles quickly away at any mention of that).
The bottom line on those crinkled brows. I don’t think people are judging. Well, maybe they are, but I did open up the can of worms in the first place. People are built to have opinions, we’re wired to think differently and if you put yourself out there, be prepared for what is going to come back. BUT, food for thought for all you people on the other end of that author’s rant… Here’s what a writer REALLY wants to hear (well, me) … Unless I’ve paid you a tremendous amount of money to edit and destroy my manuscript, or asked you to beta read, or really said, “tell me what you think,” what I really want you to do is just nod and smile. I’m just actually looking for support. I’m really just brainstorming out loud. Trust me, it won’t read like this when it’s done. Well, hopefully it won’t.
So folks, I’d love to hear from you if you have this same problem and, what is your solution?