I realize that many of my new posts are to some degree a repeat of older posts. But there are some topics that are worth repeating. One of these is how important it is to resist the urge to share pages with other folks while you are in the midst of writing your first draft.
My contention is that finding the strength to resist the often powerful urge to get feedback on your draft-in-the-making pays significant dividends. There’s a private bond that you, the writer, develop with your characters and your developing script that produces a special creative energy–and energy that can be tapped in no other way. And you want to protect this personal and private artistic vision that’s at the source of this energy. But this special condition can only come into play if you can manage to keep yourself from seeking outside reassurance, encouragement, and/or opinions as your draft materializes.
As soon as you let someone else in on your work in progress, this special bond is forever broken and it’s impossible to recreate it. Even if the feedback you get is wildly positive, the writing process from that point forward will not be the same. To some degree you will proceed with that feedback in your head and your special relationship with your material will be forever contaminated. Lost will be your special connection between you and your developing draft–a relationship that needs to be protected and honored until you have a full working draft of your script in your hands. And it’s only when you reach that stage in the process that you should give yourself the green light to share your work with carefully chosen readers. But not before.
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I’m also a playwright and screenwriter, producing partner in my production company Either/Or Films (The Sensation of Sight and Only Daughter) a professional script consultant, and the author of The Playwright’s Process. You can follow me on Twitter @eitherorfilms or @mfastagescreen. I’m also on Facebook at buzzmclaughlinscriptconsulting.