Every idea is a secret to begin with, even if it only lasts for a few milliseconds. How long should it stay that way if it’s a story idea? At what point is your story ready for public eyes (or ears)?
On the one hand, sharing your story too soon will probably hamper it quite a bit. You’ll be taking on outside influence instead of writing the story. I think Stephen King mentioned that you should always have a closed door period where no one else sees your writing.
However, sometimes I like to share the base idea of my story in order to see if it will work. Many times, I think that the idea is amazing until I say it out loud to someone. Then it sounds full of holes etc. Therefore, it might not be such a bad idea to share the story early, but it’s important that you don’t share too much.
But nowadays, I don’t show any work to anyone until it’s done. Sometimes—very rarely—I might ask an opinion on a small piece of story that needs some explanation. But I think the more I write, the more confident I get in judging my own writing. I sometimes write down my base idea instead of telling it to someone and can get pretty much the same effect from it that way.
So, how soon is too soon? After the first draft? After the second (if you have one)? After revisions? After publication?
Personally, (well, at this point anyway, but I’m prone to changing my opinion) I like to wait until I am completely satisfied with the story (or at least, can’t figure out what’s wrong). If all my revisions and edits are done (in my closed door period) and I’m happy with the result, I’ll give it to someone to read, who will then rip my pretty story apart and leave me to piece it back together (only in a better order this time).
When do you ask for opinions during the writing process? Do you ever?