I'm 20K words deep into my current WIP and feeling good. Characters are talking to me, plotlines are coming together, jokes are keeping me entertained, I'm in the zone. I've fought a fourth of the battle and am looking forward to the next three fourths. Every time I read a joke for the third time and it's still funny, I'm happy.
But now I want to share. It's an impulse that's caught me before, and I've blogged about being careful when you send your work out to readers, but I'm talking about my alpha beta reader - the P-i-C. He's read along chapter by chapter with the last two WIPs and I desperately want to hand it over to him. I want to hear him laugh, have him ask questions, tell me how much he likes XYZ, all the things a good cheerleader does. I also want confirmation that I'm not spinning off into some bizarro world where I think everything is great and rocking along but I'm actually writing about bunnies and communism.
But I'm a little older and a little wiser after the last two WIPs. His encouragement was indispensable in getting over the mid-WIP-blues, but it also affected my vision. Any time he came back with a comment, good or bad, it changed the way I thought about the story. Which is good for improving a book, but not so good when you're still writing it. Different writers function different ways, but I'm experimenting with keeping it to myself until it's complete, even for my alpha beta reader.
To be honest, though, it's getting really difficult. I'm having to fight the idea of handing over a chapter, or just a snippet, or just a funny conversation. I occasionally give in and read an exchange out loud, but I've kept these outbursts to a minimum. Or tried to. But I've still got about 60K words to go. I don't know how long I can hold out.
How do you like to handle your first draft? Do you like to keep it to yourself until it's completely polished, or do you like to hand it over chapter by chapter?