Friday, July 17, 2009

You! Yes, You! Will You Stop Hiding Your Story In That Buried .doc File? We Want to Read It!

I know your secret. You have a hidden desire– a passion. You think that your characters are the most interesting people in the entire world. Your plotlines are a secret garden that you harbor in your mind– a place of escape and bliss. A place that no one else can find you at because there is no evidence of your imaginary fortress.

Well cut it out. I mean it. I know that you adore your hidden sanctuary, but there are so many benefits to sharing your work in progress.

A few writers over at Absolute Write have started two events titled Friday Night Writes and Mid Day Writes. These occasions consist of buckling down on your WIP and posting a snippet every hour. Will something like this benefit you as a writer? Of course it will, but you may be surprised at how much.

I have been writing for a long time. When I was eight years old I was completely infatuated with the Nancy Drew series and soon began to write a mystery novel of my own. It was about twins named Amanda and Tommy, whose slumber party got out of hand when they found that their garage was actually a tunnel that led to another dimension. Corny, I know. Please forgive my eight-year-old imagination.

I never stopped writing, but I never finished a project either. I kept starting and restarting, losing my creative boost within the first fifty pages. I always lost motivation. Something was missing.

It wasn’t until last year that I figured out what that something was. I recently started a new project and had only finished thirty or so pages of it. My best friend wanted to turn one of her pieces of fan fiction into a full blown novel, and for the ten hours that we spent on the I-5 towards the Oregon coast on a road trip we did nothing but gab about our novel ideas. (No pun intended).

Bing. There you go. Missing ingredient. Stick that in your potion and stir it counter clockwise. (I’m still kind of caught up on Half-Blood Prince. Forgive me again.)

Some writers say that music, movies, and other books inspire ideas. Some say that it’s nature, the city, or even a country. Truth be told, inspiration doesn’t even have to come from something that specific. It can come from sharing snippets, from receiving the morale boost of a fellow writer saying “I love your dialogue” or “I love how you describe [insert noun here]“, or even just talking about plotlines and characters with someone as passionate as you are. It does wonders knowing that another writer out there is familiar with your work, someone that is willing to tell you to keep pushing when you arrive at a mental brick wall.

Here are some things that you can do:

- Find a writer friend who is willing to have plot discussions with your over coffee or lunch.

- Join a forum that is open to snippet sharing.

- Build a blog ring whose members are all willing to share some of their work on a certain day of the week.

Now, none of these things work if you aren’t willing to give a little feedback yourself. Make sure that you are reading the work of your fellow writers and responding constructively.

In my opinion, a book isn’t something to only be shared once it is finished. Your first readers have the ability to inspire you, and may even help you mold certain characters and plotlines. You have to trust me on this one. I’ve experienced it.

Peace, Love, and Writing.

Original post published on Old People Writing for Teens by GotYA contributor Sarah Harian. To read original post and reader comments, please click here.

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