During this long weekend, I had the chance to visit a friend who lives a couple of hours away. He is working on a novel and wanted to share the first chapter. He gave a reading for a small group of us while we sat watching the sunset over a lake. Afterwards, we chatted for a bit about where he wants to take his novel and how he puts it together.
It got us talking about all those questions that you talk about in early creative writing classes. Do you create an outline? Do you know where the story is going right off, or do you take a while to decide?
I’m working on a novel too, although I like to work on it privately and present the unit as a total product. That doesn’t mean that I won’t let anyone take a look, but it does mean that I am unlikely to give a reading until it is complete and a publisher has signed off.
I’m pretty sure that sharing your work has value and I think my friend is definitely on to something by wanting to get opinions, check reactions, and generally take interest in how others perceive his work as it progresses. Still, I like to hoard my work like a little prize until I feel settled with it. Then I put it out into the world and hope for the best. I expect to be edited; and I expect reactions that range from good to bad, but for a while, it is a private thing and just for me.