I like all the input I can get while I’m writing. I’m all about absorbing the ideas, creativity, what people want out of a story. Sometimes people are afraid to tell me what they want, because they’re afraid I’ll a.) let it influence my creative process too much, b.) intentionally do the opposite, or c.) take all of their hopes and dreams and shove them off a cliff. (Fear of plagiarism runs rampant occasionally.)
When I’m picking people’s brains for ideas, I’ll sometimes preface (no, the opposite of preface… anteface? postface?)… Anyway, I’ll sometimes conclude a conversation with “Is it OK if I use this in my writing?”
If you have snarky friends/family like mine, they’ll start calculating the percentage of your Someday Royalties that you should give them for the sublime privilege of using their ideas or words. You should promptly punch them in the shoulder and hand them a dime.
On the whole, people will be flattered that you’re consulting them and that you value their opinions and ideas enough to consider them for your work.
As different as readers can be, writers are just as varied.
When Twin Sister (Twister? Yes.) is writing, she doesn’t like ANY input. She wants the ideas to formulate in her own brain without anyone interfering. Twister has mentioned that it feels like she’s cheating when she uses other people’s ideas.
I used to agree with Twister back when I first started writing. I wasn’t confident in my own storytelling abilities, and I didn’t want what I wrote to be the product of someone else’s vision. Over time, I built up a molehill-shaped mountain of egosphere-height confidence (challenged in their colossal attitude only by the depth of their crippling self-doubt valleys).
I started worrying that if I wrote books with only myself in mind, I could be missing out on what others want. I’m only one person. And somehow I’m supposed to write all these other characters who are decidedly not me. Writing is hard.
For me, talking to other people about my ideas involves them (and makes them more likely to want to read it later) and it allows me to get a sense of what it’s like in their shoes both as a human and a reader.
So what about you? How do you feel about input? Does it vary from writing to revision stage? Do you have people that are pushy or too tentative with their ideas?