Sorry, I can’t tell you.
While I’m writing a story, I can’t tell people what it’s about. It’s not that I don’t want to tell. I really, really do. The characters and their adventures are churning inside me like a pressure cooker and I’d love to discuss it. But I can’t. Because I once told the plot of a story while I was still writing it, and something terrible happened. I no longer needed or wanted to finish it—it had its audience. I literally lost that story.
I’ll be happy to discuss the genre, how many pages I have so far, and where I like to write, anything and everything—except the plot.
Actually, now that I think of it, I keep the plot a secret from myself as well. It’s why I don’t write outlines. I tried that once and ended up with another story I no longer needed to write. The sense of urgency was gone. I knew everything that was going to happen so there was no need to write it out. Now, I write outlines after the scenes are written as a way to keep track of my characters. But the future scenes are left blank.
Welcome to the mind of one writer. I once met a writer who loved outlines and others who had no trouble discussing their plot. I’m only able to talk about the processes that work for me but I don’t say they’ll work for everyone. So here’s my piece of advice: If your process works, don’t mess with it. Talk about it, don’t talk about it, outline, don’t outline. But no matter what you answer, remember to smile nicely when you do.
* Image courtesy of Boykung at FreeDigitalPhotos.net