Thursday, 24 March 2011

Hey - I've Got An Idea For A Book!

By Richard Jay Parker

I recently had a conversation that will be familiar to a lot of writers. You're at a social gathering, somebody finds out what you do and says 'I've got an idea for a book.' Alternatively, 'I've been around the block - you could write a book about me.' They then reel with histrionic shock if you say anything that doesn't sound exactly like 'Great. I'll go away and write it for you and we'll split the gazillions we make fifty fifty.'

It's the equivalent of approaching a research scientist and saying 'I've got a great idea for something to cure.'

There are some truly great ideas for books but everything is in the execution.

For me ideas are the fun part of writing. When you're properly ensconced in writing a book or rewriting for the umpteenth time it's a process that seems like a distant memory.

But that's why we're called writers and not thinkers. Turning an idea into a short story or novel is the hardest part.

I've just finished another rewrite and while I await feedback am formulating some new ideas - assembling the contents for another book. It's a vital and enjoyable preamble to all the work ahead.

A bit like a mountaineer packing his backpack...
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  1. You must also have come across the types who say, "I'd be a writer, if I had the time." *sharpens talons*

  2. "There are some truly great ideas for books but everything is in the execution."

    Thank you for emphasising that! Ideas are really a dime a dozen, especially if one takes a more pessimistic view of the narrative-saturated situation we live in nowadays (Paul Schrader: Beyond the silver screen).

  3. I love the ideas part ....funny how quickly they pile up. But I also love it how they evolve over time while you are waiting to finish the current story. Some of my ideas have/are mutating into different stories, mixing up in different worlds. It's nice letting them stew.

  4. Have certainly heard that one, Venus. I'd have become a nuclear physicist if only I'd had the time...

    Thanks, Amy - and for the link to the Schrader piece.

    Yes, Dolly - interesting how different ideas adhere to each other as you stockpile them.