Superstition or super cautious?

Whenever I go to writer gatherings I’m amazed at how many authors open up about the book they are working on. I’ve had some conversations where I have had every twist, turn, back-story, overarching plot and undercurrent explained to me. I find these conversations fascinating, and I love the energy you get from the writer, but it is not something I can ever see myself doing.

Instead, when asked about my book, I’ll say something along the lines of; it is a fantasy/ comedy with a flying dog. When pressed for more details I might add that the dog is made of obsidian. I am actually afraid of saying any more. Until the book is written, I don’t want to let it out of my head for anyone.

For a long time I thought this was some crazy writer-superstition (we have many of these, it comes with the territory) but now I am not so sure. My driving factor when writing a book is to tell a story. If I can put down some nice prose and get in some memorable metaphors, well that’s a bonus, but what I want most for people to take away from my book is the memory of well rounded characters and an entertaining story. I don’t care if they don’t quote passages from it.

So if getting the story out into the world is the main reason for writing the book, then I think it follows that telling the story verbally to someone else has much the same effect. I’m worried that if I say what my book is about, I’ll no longer feel the need to write it.

Just the other week, when I sat down to write a finished novel as a screenplay, I was amazed at how much of the story I had forgotten. That story had been told, it had been typed out in full and got to the magic words ‘the end’.  It was out in the world and no longer had to haunt my brain. So could telling someone my story plan do the same thing?

Clearly there are a lot of writers out there who don’t feel this way, in fact talking about their book may even bring it more to life for them, but I don’t think that’s how I operate. So my book… It’s a fantasy comedy about a flying dog. He’s made out of obsidian. That’s all you are getting.

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