Don’t talk about your book? That sounds like I’m giving advice opposite to what all the PR gurus tell us. Right?
Well, I don’t mean AFTER your book’s been published but BEFORE.
The more you talk about the story you’re going to write, the greater the chance you’ll lose that initial enthusiasm. I remember a gal who joined a local writers’ group I belonged to. We met twice a month and for weeks she would come to the meetings and tell us about her story. She worked out an elaborate plot outline and could describe each scene (especially the humorous ones) in great detail. Sometimes she’d come with a written scene or chapter and would read it to us. We would praise the piece or suggest ways we felt she could improve the scene, but that was as far as it ever went. She never wrote the book. And why?
“I got bored with it,” she told us. “And then I got this new idea. How’s this sound?” And she’d start off with another story idea.
Her ideas were good, but by the time she’d finished telling us and anyone who would listen about the story, it had become “old” to her. It lost its freshness. She lost her enthusiasm.
Now some writers can and need to develop complex plot outlines. Somehow, even after working on an outline for a year (Jeffery Deaver does this), they still have the enthusiasm to write the entire book—and do so. A detailed outline works for them, gives them the framework they need, but they don’t talk about the story with everyone they meet, not in minute detail, over and over.
Other writers will spend hours, days…weeks working on an outline, creating a framework that’s so detailed, it’s almost a book in itself. (Years ago I read a synopsis for a mystery that was 99 pages long. She hoped to sell the book on the synopsis. I really don’t know if she did or not. I do know, if I wrote a synopsis that long, it would be difficult for me to give the actual book a fresh approach.)
Often a new writer finds it safer to talk about a story that’s GOING TO BE written. An idea can be played with, modified, and strengthened with each new suggestion. There’s no chance that the idea won’t turn out exactly as imagined…after all, it’s still just an idea. If someone thinks the idea won’t sell…well, that person doesn’t understand the idea. (Or even worse, if the writer believes that opinion, the idea will be dropped, and maybe it was
a good idea. Maybe it was a great idea that simply hadn’t been tried before.)
It’s good to try an idea out on a few trusted friends, but the writer who truly wants to see that story in print knows the only way to accomplish that is to SIT DOWN AND WRITE IT.