by Tim Kane
When an idea for a story is germinating inside the cocoon that is your head, you need to protect it. Your first desire is to shout it out, to anyone who will listen. That concept that’s growing in your brain is simply brilliant (or at least it seems that way to you). Yet when you start to nail it down, as you’ll have to do when you talk about it, you’ll find that the details start to kill the magic. It’s almost as if the more you explain your idea, the more it dies.
You might be tempted to go to your writing critique group for some feedback. Don’t. They mean well, but in trying to help, they might do more damage. A critique group is good at critiquing. That is, pointing out places where you can improve. Since this is still the idea phase, there’s nothing to improve. Only when you start actually writing can they help.
I know this sensation because I’m brewing up a fresh idea right now. I have a free week between writing gigs and it’s almost as if the creative side of my brain has stepped up to the plate. It’s saying: “Here you go. Try this one on for size.”
I am so tempted to blurt out the concept to my wife. It’s killing me. But I’m holding it in. I know, from past experience, that if I do, she’ll offer tips and advice. Likewise I’m holding back from my writing partners for the same reasons. They all want to help flesh the idea out, but that’s like telling a tomato plant how to grow. The concept has to shape itself. Only after some time will it bear fruit in actual pages. And even then, they may not be ripe enough to share.
So the next time inspiration strikes you, keep it to yourself. Give your ideas time to flourish on their own before sharing them with the world.