Monday, November 3, 2008

Looking for a fresh idea?

Most writers get asked that question more than 'how did you learn to be a writer?'. It's usually followed by, 'do I have a story for you!'

What non-writers don't seem to understand is that most writers don't suffer from a lack of ideas. In fact, it's just the opposite. At any given time, I'm entertaining four or five good ideas that might make great books. The problem is finding an idea you can write well, that is marketable, and will carry through to a whole book. Just because an idea seems exciting, doesn't mean you can write a 90,000 word book about it.

Most ideas that are offered by non-writers are about their life experiences. Everyone thinks what they've done is exciting and different. Some probably are. But I think my life has been exciting and different too. That doesn't mean it would make good reading. I certainly wouldn't try to base fiction on it.

I think many non-writers think that's what writer's block is all about, a lack of ideas. But no. Writer's block is all about NOT BEING ABLE TO WRITE those ideas. It's staring at the white screen until your eyes burn out and you have to go to sleep. Every writer goes through this at one time or another, despite the big ideas.

I know people will always be this way. There will always be some gem of an idea that they'll offer for free if the writer will just write it. That's okay. It's part of the price we pay for being writers in the first place, I guess.

Note to all non-writers: There isn't enough money in this to help you quit your day job even if I share the royalties from your big idea. Thanks anyway.

Joyce Lavene

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