We all have quirks, and I'm guessing most writers have writing quirks. I'm no exception. The one I've been thinking about lately is my need for story privacy until a first draft is done. I like to think of it as the Drawbridge Policy. And my drawbridge is up until that story is on the page.
Do you like talking about a work in progress? I don't. I don't want to share until the story is ready to be shared, and that means, at the least, that it's complete. So, no one reads until the draft is done. In grad school I didn't always hold to this, out of necessity, but it's what I prefer. No one reads it, except me. I don't even like talking about it. If I have to talk, it's the barest minimun. Oh, it's this, about x + y = w. My wife might get a few more words, if I want some reaction or confirmation concerning the validity of the idea. Otherwise, it's basically staying in my head until the full story is available to read. And then, of course, I'm a glutton for an audience. I have to keep myself back from peddling it on the streets. "Hey, man, you lookin' for some fiction? Free, man, I got me lots. You need a hook-up in the future you come by, right? Just a taste, you'll see, it's some good shit. You be back, I'm telling you. Heard it here first, man. I got the goods."
But before... Nope. It's in the vault. Or maybe it's a pressure cooker, boiling away all the fat, all the excess, and slowly blending all the flavours together. Part of this need for secrecty, perhaps, is simply not wanting to try and summarize the story, an always deplorable task... but more of it, I think, has to do with keeping the idea fresh, keeping it clearn and uncorrupted in my head. I don't want to waste creative energy explaining it to people, especially if it's not fully ready. And I don't want outside influences in that initial creative phase, where the story is a dream inside my head. It's my vision, and I want it to remain my own. I don't want people saying, "Oh, that's weird, you should do this instead..." I don't want to be shaped by the doubts or affirmations of others. I just want a chance to make my dream real. Once it's real, well, it has its own sort of weight and gravity, and can stand up to the thoughts and words of others all on its own.
But I gotta protect that baby until it's ready to face the world. Whether you're a lamb or a wolf, you ain't seeing that story in progress...
So, what's your policy on showing your writing? You have any weird writing quirks you're looking to drag out of the closet?