The Idea dilemma

Often authors come up with a different dilemma than others. We are somewhat considered ‘not normal’ (no pun intended). In my book, a person who can dream up an idea by looking at other people’s hair (that is me by the way), is not normal. Now you may argue with me and say you cannot define normal, but that argument is for another day.

Writers are the creatures which are most known to come up with fantastic ideas that can be utterly spellbinding or completely rubbish! I am one of those. When I discuss my stories with my friends, readers and colleagues they are thrilled to hear my great ideas. What they do not know that some of my ideas are totally rubbish, and I never discuss those. Yes, a wise man or maybe it was a woman who told me, it was a good idea not to discuss an idea when deep down you know its stupid!

So how should an author decide which idea is good and which is bad. Now, every author has different idea about this idea. Yeah, we are complicated creatures that sit in the dark and plan massacres with a black ink within the realm of our pages. Thank God for that! 😊 Here is the secret, as a writer you just know. Now you would say, right, thanks for that! That is really not useful. No. No. But wait a minute and ask yourself, is it really a good idea?

For me, when an idea occurs to me, I am very thrilled and I thank God for it because God forbid what would happen if I stop getting ideas, even bad ones. The first thing I do is write it down. Now, I might note it on my iPhone or on a piece of paper. I never leave it to memory. People tell me I have a good memory, but trust me, sometimes I just forget.

After writing the idea down, I will score it. Out of ten is it a seven, eight? Is it novel? Exciting? Does it draw you in? Is it appealing to me? If an idea is not interesting to you, trust me, it will not interest your readers. Readers are very smart people, and they will know. Don’t write a book for the sake of writing it.

Okay, so you like it and you are drawn into it. Great. Now write a little paragraph about it. Maybe be a couple of lines or just a small description of what the idea should be. Now ask again. Is it appealing? New? If the answer is yes and you find yourself wanting to go to the typewriter and start typing, let me say … don’t! Not yet.

Now you might say, hey I have a great idea. I want to write it down like now! Yes, but before you do anything decide a few things. These can include: who are the main character/s? Decide whether you want to write in 1st person or 3rd person? Decide the genre of the book and most of all write a one page summary of the story. Even if you are a writer who writes the story as it comes (like Stephen King), creating a summary will help you in the long run when you get stuck and help you writer faster.

Why do all this before even starting? Because writing a book takes time, and you want to begin with the right mindset. This process shouldn’t take you more than one day or may be just a couple of hours. Once you have a summary of your book or what we could call a synopsis, you can yourself see the weak points in the plot. You will have the ability to decide if this is a good idea for a book. You can also share it with your friends and ask for their opinions. No matter what other people say, to write a book or not is completely up to you.

If somewhere in the process you find out that this is a rubbish idea, do not, I repeat do not delete it. Do not beat yourself up. Just let it sit. Let me give you an example. About ten years ago, I had an idea which I began writing (yes, I was naïve I began writing the novel without planning!) and halfway through realised it was utterly, completely rubbish! So, I left it there… feeling sad… But I am very glad I never deleted it… because that old idea merged with new idea and turned into a book series. The first book in this series comes out this Christmas. The series is called Realm and its first book is Fall of Titan. So, an idea might be rubbish, but it may reconnect with another idea in the future… so never throw it away. Recycle it. Yes, I believe in recycling 😊  

Damn, to much serious stuff for today. Until next time… take care. Have fun writing.


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