Where Do Your Ideas Come From?
From June 17:
One of my favorite books - I’ve talked about it before - is Richelle Mead’s Succubus Blues. In it, there’s an ongoing debate over the above question. Georgina thinks it’s lame for readers to ask that question, but her author crush insists it’s a legitimate question for readers to ask.
I do, too.
I mean, if you follow an author for any length of time, don’t you at some point, in amazement, ask, “How in the world did he/she come up with this?” I imagine Stephen King has figured out a way to work through his nightmares. I think Dean Koontz must be working through some conspiracy theory paranoias that plague him.
The thing is, everyone has ideas. We all have crazy thoughts, don’t we? Uh, don’t we?
You know, maybe I’m making a false assumption, here. It could be it’s just me and a lot of folks I hang out with. For the sake of this blog post, though, I’m sticking with the hypothesis.
So, the difference between the ideas that earth people have and authors have is, an earth person will go, “That’s crazy. What the hell was I thinking?” An author, however, will poke and prod at it and massage it a hundred different ways, until it starts to make sense. For me, I don’t even wait for it to make sense. I generally start writing, hoping it will start to make sense as I go along.
Yes, authors’ ideas have a lot to do with obsession.
Case in point:
My friend, Jay, comes up with some great ideas. A few years ago, he told me about this really cool idea for a story about a guy who has a sort of paranormal link to a life as a pirate in a previous century. I encouraged him to write it, but he didn’t get very far. Too much work.
I, on the other hand, have not been able to let it go. So now, we’re working on the story collaboratively. In other words, I’m thinking about it obsessively and consulting with him on the characters and plot. Yeah, I’m doing most of the work, which, in the end, will engender most of the ideas.
It’s what I do. Because I’m obsessed.
And I guess that answers the question.
Feedback Question: Have you ever come up with an idea you thought would make a great book or movie? What was it? Let me know in a comment below. Warning! I may steal a good idea, or two. But, I promise, I’ll ask your permission before I run with it.
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