Monday, September 24, 2007

Talking about Writing

The first week of September, my wife and I went to the beach with my extended family. We had a great time. While I was there, I took my laptop and worked on the novel I'm writing. Generally, I would try to slip out to the porch with a cup of coffee where I would write, sip coffee, stare at the ocean, and pretend to work. It was wonderful. One afternoon, my brother-in-law asked me what I was working on. I stammered around a bit, but I didn't have a good answer. Actually, I could have told him exactly what I was writing, but I prefer not to talk about works in progress (WIP). My wife knows this, and she jumped in and saved me. Eventually, I just told him it was a fantasy novel and let it go at that. He doesn't read fantasy himself, I don't think, so he is probably now thinking Lord of the Rings. (It's nothing like LOTR.) I have read other writers talk about how they don't like discussing their WIP, so I'm not alone in this. But when he asked, I really, really felt like I was by myself in the spotlight. I didn't want to give the answer, but I couldn't think what else to say. Part of my "logic" on this is gut-level superstition: if I talk about it, that would ruin the work in some obscure way. However, part of my reluctance is more rational: I write to express something, and if I talk about it, I might not need to write it anymore. Or maybe I'm just crazy. What do you think? How should I have answered my brother in law?

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