JunoApollo
I've found myself with a little bit of an issue and I was just wondering how others have dealt with, or are dealing with, this.....

I've written a few 'bits and pieces' in my time, but this is the first time that I've decided to write a full length fictional novel, so I apologise if this is an amateurish question. 

My partner is used to me writing and she's used to being able to read my work before and during the 'final' piece. But this is different for me and I'm finding it hard to explain to her...

You see, I don't want to share my story with her. Not until at least the First Draft. I have the characters, the plot, the disasters, the solutions, the heads and tails scenes, and the start, middle and end of the novel all sorted out in my own head - in other words, how I want it to go.

But my partner is keen to see my stuff AS I'm writing it.... and I don't want her to. Because basically she's the type who tells me how to reply to my friends when they text me.... Looking over my shoulder and saying "No, don't put that, she'll think you're being cheeky" when in actual fact my friend knows MY sense of humour and we do this sort of texting all the time....

Anyways, she says she understands, but then she's hovering about as I'm writing and swearing that she's not looking over my shoulder..... (and I don't believe her..!)

Is it just me....? I have no issue with showing her the first draft. Because by then I'll have all the basics in place. She can help with holes in the plot, grammatical errors, spelling mistakes etc, but I don't want to really hear what she would have the main character do at a certain part of the story when I've already got their actions taking them in a totally different direction.... I don't want to write HER novel... am I making sense...? 

What does a person do in such a situation? I'm feeling like I'm not writing when and as I want to because I'm scared of being 'screen-bombed'..... 

So basically... how do I tell someone that I love that I'm not in the least bit interested in their opinion just now??? 

What do YOU do...? Any advice is appreciated, thanks [smile]
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KellBrigan

It's great that you have supportive people around (in-house beta readers!), but writing is very intimate, and you get to have your time with "the door closed," as Stephen King says. (Personally, I can't even blow my nose with someone watching, but I'm one of those ultra-senstive migraineur types. Seriously, I have a medical excuse!) How about this:

1) Have your partner (and other interested parties) actually read King's On Writing. It's a great read for anyone (bring tissues for the first half [bawl]) and will give them some insight into the creative process. You could even read it at the same time and get together over coffee to discuss it.

2) Give your "fans" a clue to your creative process, i.e. at what point in the process you'll actually want input. Maybe after you've gotten a chapter or two to the Beta Read point, your fans could be reading those chapters while you're roughing out subsequent chapters "behind closed doors."

3) Maybe your partner, et al. might want to work on their own stuff??? (It's pretty amazing, to mention Stephen King again, how everyone in King's family is a writer except for one "black sheep" daughter who's a Unitarian minister. And, everyone in Robert Crumb's family wound up creating their own comic book.) Art's contagious!

Good luck! Let us know what happens.

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JunoApollo
Thanks for the tips Kell [smile]

I read the excerpts from Stephen King and he definitely makes sense. That's the thing - I have no problem sharing the first draft, and now that I know that a lot of other writers feel the same, it'll be easier to get that point across. I'll check out the full book definitely.

We did have a chat about this the other night, and I've been assured that no peeking will take place until I'm ready.... not overly confident, but sure time will tell [biggrin] 


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Ghostly
Yes. I agree entirely with Kell.
Your work is your business.
You could also let her in on JK Rowling's outstanding secret - if she wants your work to make any money - it's a thing girls understand - "I need to keep this creative pot simmering in my head so that the long arc of the novel makes only the shifts in plot and story and character that come from the really deep nuanced creative insights I make - in MY head - I repeat, MY head, not yours."
You tell her you HAVE to own the novel so that changes you make - will HAVE to make - will not be to stuff she has contributed. She is editing your work in progress. It is death to creativity. Ideas HAVE to percolate. 
Tell her to go write her own novel rather than vicariously try to write yours and promise that you will never, never ask to look at it while it is in progress because whatever you might say would be nothing less than editing and editing only comes at the very end.
Tell her you have to insist on that same level of respect for your work.
Tell her that editing comes at the end not while the work is in progress.
If all else fails tell her to go take a long walk off a short pier.

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JunoApollo
Haha! I think a trip to the seaside is a tad harsh just now, but I do get where you're coming from. I take it you've had the same conversations with your loved ones?

I like that I'm learning about other writers and that they feel the same as I do, because it makes it so much easier to put across. To be honest, I was expecting most people on here to tell me that I HAD to share my writing as I go along for proper critique (not sure where I got that notion, but it was stuck fast in my subconsciousness). 

She does get the picture now. The point has well and truly been put across, and the message has been received and understood, so I do believe that I'm alone with my creation... for the time being..!!! Thanks [smile]
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thenovelfactory
That's really great news : )

My partner is also a writer, and he doesn't like telling me about the plots that are percolating (perfect word) in his head, because he says as soon as he shares it it feels deflated somehow. So he needs to get it right and sorted first.

I sometimes ask him for his thoughts on various aspects of my plots, especially where I have sticky areas or things that don't quite sit right, but otherwise I don't let anyone read any of it until I feel like it's perfect, because I need to keep those readers pristine for when I want their critique.

If I get them to give me feedback on something which I know is still half cut, then I'm wasting a precious resource, because they can never read it fresh again.
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krnstv
In the month of November, I've often done NaNoWriMo - National Novel Writer's Month. For the uninitiated, you write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. If you're interested, go to http://nanowrimo.org.

Anyway, one of the suggestions I've adhered to during November is never, ever, under any circumstances share what you're writing with anyone. Not loved ones who are avid supporters of your efforts, not your critique group, nobody.

I violated that rule once. I didn't meet the 50,000 word goal because all of a sudden, I had other people's ideas in my head. And worse, their criticisms - well-intentioned and well thought - crashed my train of thought as I began questioning everything I wrote.

Tell her how much you're unnerved when she hovers about.

I'm an early riser, so I often write before anyone who can bother me is awake. Except one of our cats who insists on playing fetch with her stuffed toy lizard named Larry. She can be most insistent - bratty, in fact. But she doesn't offer suggestions on my writing! Anyway, you might try getting up early or staying up late.

Stick to your instincts. If you can't get space and privacy where you live, go write at a coffee house or library.
Steve
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JunoApollo
Thanks so much everyone for the responses, it's definitely put my mind at ease - I'm NOT being unreasonable [cool] 

I think that the underlying feeling with her is that she's genuinely excited about this. Which is great and I'm really appreciative of that. I've never done this before. I've only ever written factual pieces with 'my' sense of humour chucked in here and there, and she's always very complimentary, but she's also always enjoyed reading my stuff AS I've been writing it. But then... they've been short(ish) reviews and not a full-length novel.

It's so true that this needs to come from me and me alone. I've already discovered things about my characters' histories and personalities that have even shocked ME - and I invented them!!!

Not only that, but aspects of certain characters' histories have been obliterated, simply because I didn't see the relevance any more... someone else might like those little things and try to talk me into keeping them...

krnstv, you're lucky you only have a kitty and her stuffed lizard to contend with... I have a Doberman who demands attention and loves to play at the most inopportune of times. Trying to type with a big heavy dog head resting on your arm isn't ideal [rofl] but she doesn't bother me with advice and critique, so there's a plus. 

I do feel vindicated now that no one (so far!) has told me that I'm the one who's being difficult. 

Admin - "If I get them to give me feedback on something which I know is still half cut, then I'm wasting a precious resource, because they can never read it fresh again." - I like that a lot. That makes so much sense. Yep, I'm definitely happy with my initial idea of letting her read my first draft and not until then. 

Again, everyone, thank you for your replies. I'm a much happier little writer now [thumb] 

 

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