First of all, I have to say thanks for your responses to my last post. I was pretty sure I'd be giving up blogging for a while. You all changed my mind. Guess you're stuck with me for a little while longer. I don't think I ever got a clear consensus on what I should blog about, so let's see how many I can roll up into one. In Blake Snyder's Save the Cat series (a bunch of books on screenwriting), he proposes the idea that any story you're thinking about writing but aren't willing to explain to others is a story you shouldn't be writing. Don't check out on me, non-screenwriters. I'll still have something for you. I promise. You just have to let me get there.
What he means is, if you're so desperate to keep this idea to yourself, there's probably a really good reason for that. And it's not because someone will steal your story, and it's not because you don't want the magic of it ruined before you get to it, it's because it's a bad idea.
You might think this sounds harsh, but only because it is. If you're writing a story for other people to read, but you're not willing to tell people what the story is, you don't have the right story yet. It can get there. It just hasn't so far.
It's a good way to tell if the project you're working on is worth pursuing. Pitch it to a friend, or better yet, a stranger at a coffee shop. You'll know pretty quickly if you've got something worth sticking with or if it's time to find your rubber racquetball and start bouncing new ideas (and the racquetball) off the wall.
Could it be that it's exactly the same for other actions in our lives? That the ideas we keep to ourselves because we don't need or want someone else's input are our stupidest ones?
Like it or not, we need the input of others. We need to get out of our own heads and into the real world where things can be debated. Otherwise, we'll forever be stuck with half-formed stories that we're not only writing, we're living.