By Rosemary Sneeringer
When you have an idea for a book or story, a big juicy hit that you can’t get out of your head that makes you jaunty and happy when you think of it, you know you have a good thing going. So why spoil it? Keep it to yourself.
There are a number of reasons why you should keep your ideas and your writing close to the vest. When you spill the beans, you have opened your idea up to various interpretations. Up until then it was clean, unsullied and pure, and it was yours alone. When you tell someone else your idea, it’s not your precious private idea anymore. And no matter how much you are protecting the integrity of the idea in your head, their comments will always be in your head now too.
It’s a good idea to incubate your idea alone, and get started writing on it before you tell anyone.
There are some exceptions to this concept. When you’re in a writing class and sharing your writing, this can be a great help, as long as it is a supportive class. You also want to be sure you tune in to your inner compass and only take the suggestions that resonate with you. Your idea should be developed enough to withstand criticism, unless you are just throwing out ideas and not too attached to them.
One thing that often happens is that people try to connect the dots to something they’ve read or seen that sounds even vaguely familiar to what you’re attempting. The funny thing about writing is that the same theme or concept can be the root of a somber and gut-wrenching tragedy or a rollicking comedy, so it’s important to honor what you’re writing as a work that is completely original.
There are so many influences from our culture and thousands of stories we’ve seen in our lives from television episodes alone. So when someone does play with the genre in an inventive way, it’s a shame to close down and conform to convention.
At times, however, you may be deluded and have an idea that’s just not going to work or be marketable. In that case, it’s good to know before you invest too much time in it that it’s a waste of time. Fortunately, this mostly applies to non-fiction, where it’s prudent to do your homework in advance anyway. In fiction, it’s a big, creative world out there, and when invention connects with an audience, it can connect in a big, big way.
Rosemary Sneeringer is The Book Nurturer. An experienced editor, she specializes in helping writers access their inner author to complete their novels, memoirs and books and to grow their businesses. Go to http://www.thebooknurturer.com for more information. Sign up for my FREE newsletter & receive the FREE downloadable meditation “Envisioning Your Book.”
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