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Giving Birth Behind Closed Doors May 5, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Nature, Word Play, Writing & Writers.
31 comments

Sharing a barely started novel with others is like trying to birth a baby as soon as it is conceived . . . without bothering to wait the necessary nine months of gestation.  It’s not a good idea.

Unless, of course, you want people to say, “My, what an ugly baby!”

Giving our creations a chance to get just a little bit cuter before we deliver them into the world benefits everyone ~ writer, reader, and “baby.”

Not convinced?  Here are 5 Reasons to “give birth” behind closed doors:

1.  When you’re whipping up a first draft, gathering premature feedback is a recipe for disaster.

Wikipedia ~ Obstetrics (in Public Domain)

Remember the adage, “too many cooks spoil the broth” ~ the more cooks you invite round to the tasting, the more muddled the broth becomes.

Sous chefs will offer conflicting views (both with you and each other) about how to improve character development, dialogue, and story line . . . with some finding it “too spicy” and others “not spicy enough.”

I wonder how many writers have aborted just-conceived novels due to  conflicting feedback received before the story had a chance to develop?

When we keep our work private until we’re satisfied we have a story worth telling, we avoid becoming discouraged by the honest feedback we would receive on just hatched first drafts.

2.  Half-Baked Alaska never tastes as good as Baked Alaska.

David Sedaris keeps first, second, and third drafts private because they are still “simmering” . . . and not ready for consumption.  Smart guy!

If we serve ideas “half-baked,” readers may end up with indigestion or food poisoning . . . if they don’t spit out our words entirely.

3.  Why request feedback on the “trees” until you’re satisfied with the “forest” as a whole? 

IMGP4187When I’m working on a first draft, I want to focus on it 100% without being interrupted by people who love my characters, or hate my characters, or love my story line, or hate my story line.

I want to be able to cut and paste from one chapter to another without having someone say, “Hey, you said the same thing back in Chapter 3!”

There’s no need to request feedback until we are satisfied with the story as a whole . . . or completely stuck.

4.  Why waste people’s time and energy asking them to review chapters that we haven’t finished proofreading and editing? 

Who wants to spend 30 minutes (or longer) reading and providing feedback only to come back and find that the entire chapter is gone because the writer switched gears, deleted characters, or aborted the project?

Not me!

Do unto readers as you would have them do unto you.

5.  If you’re working on Chapter 15, and the creative juices are flowing, do you really want or need feedback on Chapter 2?   

Grumpy gusOf course not.

It’s distracting.

As writers, it is necessary to keep unnecessary distractions (like eating, sleeping, and listening to whiny babies) to a minimum, so we can relax and enjoy Happy Hour as soon as 5 o’clock rolls around . . . somewhere.

Don’t share “ugly babies” with the world.  Give birth behind closed doors.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Quote to Ponder:  The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe. ~ Gustave Flaubert

Related post:  Sidey’s Weekend Theme ~ Birth (View From The Side)