Keeping It Secret by Sydney Salter

Don't ask me about my WIP. It's a secret!

I used to attend a weekly writing group, sharing my stories-in-progress. The feedback was helpful when I was a less-experienced writer. Good critique partners helped me avoid problems from too much telling to poor characterization to plain confusion. The downside was fighting off too many creative minds interfering with my vision. I, too, am guilty of inflicting ooh! what if this or that happened instead-ism on other writers - it's unkind.

To avoid too many creative minds in my head while working on a WIP, I started to only share finished projects. I'd chat about my story, but months of writing group passed before I'd plunk a fat hunk of pages on the table. I learned a lot about problem-solving and muddling through the middle working on my own.

I stopped talking about my WIP about five years ago. I had plunked down my pages. And I waited for my critique partners to read. We met for lunch, marked manuscripts on the table. The main complaint: my love interest wasn't who they had imagined. All my chatter about this guy - an unusual paranormal dude - had stirred their imaginations, and they anticipated someone very different. The good news was that I had succeeded in my vision for the character. The bad news was that they hated him for it. I felt like I hadn't given my character the chance to stand on his own terms because I'd been talking about him too much, using shorthand labels.

I might be feeling way too sensitive. And I may be only going through a phase - like a stubborn toddler. I acknowledge that. But since my wholly misunderstood paranormal dude, I've only talked about the topic of my novels. Sci-fi sports novel. The murder-suicide story.

Maybe I'll feel like talking about my WIP again someday... but for now it's a secret.


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