Sunday, September 7, 2014

How to Not Write Novel #2

There are in fact many, MANY, more reasons NOT to tell people you are writing a novel than there are reasons to tell people what you're up to.

Let's look at a few of them:

1- I don't know if you know these people (I sure do), they are the people who endlessly tell you about their book but never actually write it. Let's face it, it's a lot funner, and easier, to just talk about writing a book. Actually writing it is work. Hard work. Or maybe it's just that the book has been talked to death. Talk about something long enough and it feels like it's already written. Or maybe another, newer idea supplants it before anything on the other book can even get put on paper. 

2- People love nothing more than a parade they can rain on. And you being happy and excited about the book you're working on is BEGGING for a reality check. Don't let them rain you out! When people ask what (if anything) you are writing just say stuff. 

3- People love to tell you all about what you SHOULD be writing, and it generally  involves them and their ideas, which they've never done anything with. People also want to contribute, for I don't know what reason but this one irks me likes no one's business. Often because other people's ideas are so far OFF from what my vision is that I get really annoyed with them for daring to foist their ideas off on my work.

These are only three reasons! The responses to "I'm writing a novel." vary from actively hurtful, to poor advice, to plain discouraging. It's best to keep your work and your ideas close to the vest until you have a  finished product, or a sturdy support system.

So what are some of the choice responses you've gotten?


Liane Spicer said...

I'm secretive about my writing because I don't want to have to explain and defend. Early on I read Page After Page by Heather Sellers who said that talking too much about a book is one way of ensuring it doesn't get written. I tell new writers to shut up and write, and not to share the book until the first draft is done.

Liane Spicer said...

Oops... My point being that I've managed to avoid these situations because I just don't talk about my WIPs.

Charles Gramlich said...

Unlike movies, books are very hard to describe in a few words. That's why when folks ask me who know I write I'll just say the genre.

Che Gilson said...

Both of those are good plans! I think a lot of newer writers are so excited about writing that they only learn the hard way to keep their books quiet until they need some beta readers.

daytonward said...

"You're a writer?"

"Yep. I'm writing a novel at the moment."

"People still read books?"

"Not all people, apparently."

Actual conversation.

Che Gilson said...

LOL! Yeah...

G. B. Miller said...

I've been pretty fortunate not to have those kind of responses when I tell people that I'm writing a novella. People who know me actually are reasonably intelligent enough to ask how my writing is going and/or if I'm coming out with anything new.

In fact, most people's response to the statement that I write is basically, "that's cool."

Father Nature's Corner

Che Gilson said...

I've gotten some positive reception, but I've also gotten the "You should get a job" line!

EEGiorgi said...

yup! been in all three of those situations :-)

daytonward said...

Then there's this (or variations thereof):

"You're a writer? Maybe you can give me a copy of one of your books."

"Your wife's a dentist, right? Maybe she can give me a free root canal."


Sunny Frazier said...

I try to warn people about talking out the plot of their book. Do they listen? No. The problem with all the talk and embellishment is that, in your head, the book is written.

Here's another pitfall: if you actually do sit down and write, it will never meet your expectations. What sounded incredible in your head falls short on paper.

Announce that you are writing a novel and it starts people pressuring you: "When is your book coming out?" The smart answer is "When it's ready." Fans have no idea that writing a book takes a lot of time. That on top of a life (which we try to have) and other obligations.