The Prompter Room

For Tuesday, March 15, 2016:

 

“I think it’s bad to talk about one’s present work, for it spoils something at the root of the creative act.  It discharges the tension.”

Norman Mailer

I wonder, then, if one of the reasons it took me 20 years to finish my first novel is because I talked about my ideas for characters and plots with others in the earliest days of its coming together.  Or trying to make it come together.  It was my first one, after all, and I wanted to get affirmation from others that I was on the right track.

At that point, I didn’t know the characters would take over.  I didn’t know the characters would develop themselves and that I was merely their scribe.  Once I learned to get out of the way, and once I reached the point where I trusted my – and their – instincts and didn’t need affirmation from others, the story and stories came of their own volition.

That seems to have happened again for what will be my third novel.  I woke up this morning with a good idea and I want to talk about it because it’s so good!  But I know I can’t.

I’m almost afraid to write it down, in the event that will dissipate some of its energy.  After all, if the idea is truly good, if it fits for the storyline – it certainly fits the title – then it will stay with me and the characters will make it happen.

So for now I’m staying silent.  It’s hard, but it’s the right thing to do.

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