I think this has been discussed before, on this blog, but I had to revisit it. On a long road trip to Lost Wages (Vegas baby!) the wife and sister-in-law asked about the next book.
I said that I had the basics figured out and some of the puzzles. I'm not talking about the kind of puzzles you put together, but the conflagration of events that would have to happen to make what I want to happen, well, happen.
"So what happens?"
I pause. I usually don't like to discuss my WIP. Firstly, as I write, the WIP changes. Then when the question comes up again, I get the following:
"But I thought you were going to have (insert previous scenario that included dancing chimpanzees or something)"
Me: "Yeah, I changed that"
"But I liked the (dancing chimpanzees or whatever)"
Me: "It didn't work with the rest of the story"
(Me rolling eyes)
Me: "It's hard to explain"
That usually suffices unless the chimps were the only redeeming quality of the book, which hopefully doesn't happen.
Secondly I get this:
"I think it would be better if the (chimpanzees fell in love with the rhino)"
Me: "I don't think that will work"
"and I think the (rhinos should wear Prada shoes and carry Coach purses)"
(Me rolling eyes again)
Me: "(rhinos don't carry purses)"
"Well I think it would be better if they did"
At this point I'm typically trying to get the conversation to end.
"and I think that the (chimpanzees should be doing the Argentine Tango)"
Me: "That won't work"
The problem is not that it would be nearly impossible to teach chimps to dance the Tango, it's that typically I have not discussed enough of the book so that the wife and sister-in-law have the full context of what's been written. And most of the time it's not that the ideas are bad, (though I think Prada shoes are overpriced, but that's because I'm a guy), it's just that what they are discussing doesn't fit into the overall flow of where I was going.
If I take the time to explain the whole book in detail, it somehow diminishes the effort. It takes some of the energy out of the writing and sometimes it takes a lot more work to finish it.
What do you do? Do you discuss your work?