Thursday, May 26, 2011

Tweet Police: Don't Give Away Your Secrets

File this under: Tweet Police

I'm new to Twitter (cue: gasp). But in my few short months hanging out there, I've noticed a strange trend. Maybe this is the way book writing is going: I don't know. But it seems like lots of authors are giving away waaaaaay too much inside baseball info in their tweets relative to the projects they're working on.

I know. It's hard to come up with stuff to tweet about 24/7. I fall into this trap all the time--"Gee, should I write about how it's drizzling here in Washington, DC, or about some weird thing I overheard at Caribou?" It's like, how boring can you get? But--and I'm new to the game, so forgive me if this runs counter to what industry experts say--I caution you, if you're a writer, to not give much (if anything) away about the book you're working on.

Thought experiment: imagine that in the midst of writing "Coraline", Neil Gaiman tweeted, "Daugther just held up buttons to my eyes and said U look like another father, must work that into new book." Or some such. That would surely rip the sheen off of the magical mystery he spins in Coraline. I'm not one of these English professors who enjoys deconstructing books, trying to get into the mindset of an author. I. Just. Wanna. Be. Entertained.

General stuff is fine to tweet about. "I just finished writing a chapter! Woo hoo!" is kosher. But please, for the sake of mystery and intrigue, do not tweet "I've had a secret desire to write about zombie trolls since I was 12 and saw 'Leprechaun'--so now I'm writing about them!" or "I'm getting really tired of using the word 'dazzle' in my book." Yuck. I don't want to know your thought process. I don't want to know the name of your new heroine. I absolutely do NOT want you to tell me your dream that inspired you to write X character into your manuscript. OK?

The reason is simple: I like a shroud of mystery to surround whatever I read (unless it's the newspaper, in which case mystery is bad). Some adolescent part of me wants to pretend that your book sprung fully-formed out of Zeus' head. By all means, tweet about your day or interesting writing tips (though, if you've read my tweets for any appreciable amount of time, you know I abhor most writing advice), or tell me about a cool book you just read. But I don't want to know the inner-workings of your creative well-spring. I'm letting you off with a warning this time, but next time, it'll be the hoosegow for you! Later.

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