Friday, October 12, 2012

Ideas are the Easy Part

Tip of the Day: Learn to say 'no.' It's more liberating than you might think.

I have no problem coming up with a new idea. My brain runs at 90mph 24 hours a day. Every choice in life gives me ideas. What if I didn't turn right? What if I added peanut butter instead of cocoa? What if that man stumbled and fell off the sidewalk just as I was driving by?

It's these types of questions that lead to all of my story ideas. When I was a child, my dad actually encouraged this line of questioning. Rare, I know. Most parents are always telling their kids to be quiet. My dad, however, enjoys a good conversation, but most importantly a good debate. It was those moments of encouragement that made me the writer I am today (my mom turned me into a voracious reader, but that's a story for another post).

I'm not afraid to question anything. Tell me something's a fact and I probably won't believe you. Life is too subjective. Facts are irrelevant in the face of human innovation. I take nothing at face value.

So I have dozens of new ideas every day, but here's the kicker when it comes to writing: Which idea is the most intriguing?

It's not an easy question to answer. For the last few years, agents' blogs are screaming, "We want high concept!" It's really, really hard to come up with a story idea that's so new, so captivating, that an agent will jump out of her seat and offer you representation.

I guarantee you, every time you think of something original, chances are, someone's already been there, done that.

Might as well give up? Right? Wrong. Your story is uniquely yours. Yes, it's probably been done before, but maybe the quirks that make you an individual are exactly what the story needed to give it a new life. Look, I love The Walking Dead, but it's not exactly a new idea. It's the way it's presented, the storytelling, the humanity.

So when you're setting out to write a new story, don't be afraid to deal with a topic that's been done before. Infuse it with your point of view. Make everyone forget they've ever seen a zombie, or a vampire, or a fairy before they read your book.

Megg, Miss Enchanted ePubber


Andrea Mack said...

Lately I've been getting a lot of story ideas and it's hard to decide what story to write next. Especially when it seems like there's a lot of pressure to write something original and unique. Thanks for reminding me that some of what makes a story original and unique is the choices the writer makes and the writer's spin on the idea, even if it's been done before.

Kate Fall said...

It's so true. Otherwise we'd be paralyzed. Historical fiction? No. Paranormal? Been done. Family issues? Too common. Yes, every genre has been done before. Sometimes an original story takes time to simmer in the back of our minds.

Peggy Eddleman said...

Exactly! I think you can make anything new and fresh just by the way you put yourself into it. Great post!

DeenaML said...

I have a YA idea that I want to write so badly based on recent local news, but I have to finish 4 other projects first and keep hoping NO ONE ELSE WRITES MY IDEA FIRST! :-P