By Dennis Mellersh
Although it’s a good practice to discuss the craft of writing with other writers, talking with fellow writers and friends about the proposed plot and character development for your book might not be such a good idea.
Talking in too great detail about your proposed book, whether it is fiction or non-fiction, can tend to dissipate the creative energy that should go into the actual writing of your book.
In the world of newspapers, there is a story of a reporter spending a lot of time telling his editor all about a story he was covering. At some point, the editor lost patience and abruptly told the reporter: “Don’t tell me about it. Write it!”
Many creators find that the same holds true in other artistic efforts. A painter, for example, can lose creative energy for their finished work if they do too many sketch versions before tackling their final canvass.
They may find that most of their creative energy has gone into the preliminary work and that subconsciously they have already expressed the idea sufficiently.
With writing, in addition to losing creative energy, divulging plot details and character descriptions to people before you are finished writing can result in discouragement because of possible negative criticism from the people you are telling these details to.
The only appropriate criticism you might want to pay attention to (unless you are attending an educational writing workshop or course) is the criticism that you will undoubtedly get when your fiction or non-fiction book is published.
Even in this instance, numerous established, successful writers say they don’t pay much attention to the critics. They feel that they themselves as writers know what did or didn’t work in the book, and they move on to their next book, applying the lessons they learned while writing their previous book.
Oh yeah, there’s certainly a risk of overtalking and overanalysing. My pet peeve is when aspiring authors go through the nitty-gritty, like “should I use curly quotes or prime marks in my manuscripts”, and forget to write the actual story in the first place. Anyway, thanks for this post!
Thanks for the extra insights Stuart.
You’re right, at some time you have to stop planning and get down to writing.