I’m making a post despite my vacation because something’s been on my mind, and if I don’t get it out there, it’ll keep bugging me. So here we go:
I’ve gotten a few emails now where someone has an idea for a story. Sometimes they want me to write it, and I’ve thought over the ideas but my mind keeps coming up blank. It’s not that I think their idea isn’t any good, but I don’t know where to put it or how to work with it. I think the reason for this is because the idea didn’t originate with me.
The writer’s mind is a peculiar thing. Maybe some authors can successfully take an idea someone gives them and build a story on it. I remember hearing a Harlequin writer say she loved it when Harlequin gave her the synopsis because then she didn’t have to come up with an idea to pitch to Harlequin herself.
I don’t think this method would work for me. I’m learning that unless the idea is bugging me to write it, it’s not going to happen, and if I try to force it, the story is going to fall flat.
Some people have this belief that writing is like an all you can eat buffet table where the reader can select what they want and don’t want, tell the author their order, and expect the author to dish it out to them within a month or two. Writing is not that easy. I might be able to write out the first draft of a full-length novel in two months, but there is the process of editing and proofreading. This takes as long as (and sometimes even longer) than the first draft.
So when someone writes me their idea which is usually based off something personal going on in their lives and thinks I can whip it up in a matter of one or two months, they don’t understand the whole process. Sure, if I wanted to produce a piece of crap, I could do this, but people don’t want to read crap and frankly, I don’t want to spend my time writing crap. I want to make each book better than the one that came before it, and in order to make that happen I need two things: passion for the story and time.
So I’m currently trying to decide how to tell the latest person who emailed me with her idea that I can’t write it. Even if I could, by the time I got it done (which would be a good five years from now because my writing to do list is incredibly long), the situation she’s in will not apply by that time. Then the story won’t be as compelling to her anyway.
I should never start thinking that as an author, I’ve come across every scenario possible because the truth is I haven’t. I am constantly surprised by the types of emails and comments I get.