Wednesday, May 14, 2008

How much do you share?

This is cross-posted from my post on the Manuscript Mavens on Tues :)

A writing friend recently asked what my second book was about. Good question. Right now it's a companion book to The Forest of Hands and Teeth, ostensibly it's a sequel but we'll still see if that label fits once it's finished and turned in (incidentally, writing under contract does feel a lot like school, just with longer deadlines before you turn in your homework). As I pondered what more I could say about the book I started to wonder how much people really share about what they're writing.

Early on, when the idea for FHT came to me, I didn't say much about it on my blog. Maybe I didn't want to jinx it, maybe I was following what other writers were doing, but not talking about what I was writing suddenly became my habit. For my previous projects (pre FHT) I had word meters up (which I then protested) and talked at least minimally about what I was writing. And then, at the other end of the spectrum you have authors who have daily updates not only about word count, but also about plot.

On the one hand, I'm a writer and I blog about writing. It seems silly not to talk about what I'm actually working on at any given moment. On the other hand, I don't want to give too much information because I'm very anti-spoiler.

Plus, there's another element at play. It's hard to know how much I'm "supposed" to talk about. Not that there's a blog mafia out there watching my every word, but you start to get advice that maybe you shouldn't complain about writing, maybe you shouldn't talk about the struggles or put up a word count meter that will not only show the added words, but also the deleted words.

Oh, and since I origninally wrote this I found an excellent post by Justine Larbalestier on the topic of word count meters.

So that's the question I ask y'all. As blog readers, how much information do you want? What do you like to read about? As blog writers (or any kind of writer) how much do you share or think you should share?


Jennifer said...

Hi Carrie --

Good question. I can't speak to it from the marketing/PR angle because I'm way too far from being at that point with my writing.

What I can talk about is my own psychology as it applies to writing and how revealing plot and process effects my efforts. I've discovered that it's wiser for me to err on the side of keeping silent. There's such a delicate membrane around the sanctuary of my belief in myself as a writer that the littlest outside interference can rupture it. If I feel answerable to anyone, even if it's just in my imagination, for the back and forth, vision and revision, taking out and adding in and tweaking and reworking that is my process then I quickly turn into a quivering mess of anxiety.

I've opened my mouth before and lived to regret it. In fact, a few weeks ago I posted on my blog that I'd nailed my pitch. Ha! Turns out I've done no such thing. So now I have to fight feeling of foolishness over thinking I had it right at the same time as I rally my efforts and try to get it truly right.

Spy Scribbler said...

You asked a lot of questions! I'm too influencable. I'll talk about my struggles, writing technique, and my writing struggles in general terms, but never specific. I just don't like putting my stuff out there in any form, unless it's ready to go.

As far as marketing and stuff, I do believe in party lines. In teaching, you "love every minute of it and you're so grateful to have the opportunity to work with children." It's just a must.

In writing, it's "I am so grateful to be published." Every talk about the business must be filtered through that. It's annoying, but if you don't filter it through that, then people start getting annoyed and muttering, "at least you're published" and all sorts of other yucky gunk.

Re: Word Count Meters. If they help a blogger, cool. I don't often look at them, except sometimes. Mostly, I think, it's their blog. Most people don't look at the sidebar anyway.

Patrick Alan said...

I'm always fascinated by other people's process, but it isn't why I read blogs. And I'm only interested in specific progress as it relates to their process.

I would tend to stay away from talking about a process until I've either succeeded with it or given up on it. For some reason, I find talking about it to the world at large(blogging) seems wrong to me.

I'm always shy about talking about works in progress and using progress meters because I never know if it is going to complete.

Wait, what was the question again?

cindy said...

great questions. as a reader, i'll read anything as long as i find it interesting and written well (by blog standards--i'm not talking literary prizes or anything). as a writer who blogs, i share very little about my writing. i almost never post excerpts. i will talk in vague detail about what i may be working on or struggling with.

i am very protective of the book when it's not yet formed. i do believe i could jinx it, i think.