For several years, I've had a common theme of where I would get an idea for the books. Hopefully, as a writer, you get those too. I would write a little, hit a plateau and work on the new idea, then after a while, the original idea is published and/or made into a movie by somebody else. Of course not exactly the same idea that I've had, but close enough for me to drop it. Well, I've found several problems with this practice, which I would like to share with you.
Before I do, don't forget to follow me on Instagram. I am also planning to do videos for writers with advice on publishing, dealing with writer's block and such. Send me an email if you are interested in something like this, and what topics would be of interest to you the most. Your feedback is more valuable more than all of the gold under the Lonely Mountain.
Problem #1: Procrastination and Lack of Vision
These two fellas are the reason why a book was never finished. Naturally most want to write only when the muse stops by for an hour. During the very first moment where ideas are flowing and is new, ripe and even juicy. This is the most enjoyable moment to write. Once the idea is down on the paper, and the rest of the story is not yet created, this is where the lack of vision shows its ugly face. At this stage, it is still possible to remedy the situation.
A Mini Solution With A Lot Of Results!
Ask questions! Questions that a reader, a critic or even another character would ask.
"Why did he do that?"
"Are ok Annie?"
"How about a cookie Odysseus?"
Questions do not have to be of the great importance, just good enough to get you to the next sentence, paragraph or page. Not everything in a book has to be a life or death situation, there ought to be candid lines about life too. I feel that the writer does not have to create a character, but observe them after set rules were set in motion.
Problem #2: Getting Bored, Finding a New Squeeze.
Once the source of writing ideas is dry on the procrastinated story list, this happens. After long hours of sitting in front of the blank page, countless head scratches, possibly sighs, the book enters a
To Be Finished At A Later Date" plane of existence. This usually happens right after a new, new idea pops in. The new, new idea is sexy, shiny and produces immediate results and miracles in the word-count department. Naturally, this seems to be productive, but in reality, this idea too will soon become a "could have been".
A Mini Solution Numero Dos!
Keep writing. Bad writing is still writing, and you have to write everything out of your system. Muse will not be there waiting for you to finish, she just gives you grapes, it is up to you to make wine with it. Many great fellow authors tell us to continue with this until the task is done. In the end, you will edit and spark ought to come back and this book might be the next best thing. At the very worst, at least one manuscript is finished.
Problem #3: Dropping the Idea!
The idea does not have to have an official dropout ceremony to know that it has been done for. The very moment it was put away to finish later, the probability of it being finished dropped to the whole NOPE! I am personally yet to finish something that I did not work on for a month. This is a very common relationship with a story, do not worry. At least for people that constantly write. I wish I was a person that had one idea a year, that is as clear as day, but it doesn't happen. I get five hundred ideas a day, possibly not enough diligence and yeard to work on all of them. Steven King says he does not write down ideas, if they are good, they would come back to him. I am no Kind, obviously, but I write everything down. My memory is horrible and gets worse and worse every year. Only this post had to be re-read fifty times. Yet, I think this is alright, yet I might work on bad ideas, but they are mine!!! My precious!
A Mini Solution Number 3 ¾
So what is the miracle solution for this seemingly common problem, which leads to the death of a manuscript that did not have time to even live? Keep writing. Write until your fingers are bleeding, you have a brain seizure and you can think of nought but what Sam feels for Frodo, and if Daenerys will find out that John is her nephew. Write until you are finished and then edit. When the manuscript is done, it is not the end, there is editing and more rewriting, and a chance for the second wave of ideas to rule. At the very least, if the writing is dog shit, you will have a finished material. Finishing is quite important, especially for those who have never finished a single piece. So advice four is; finish the bloody thing!
Problem #4: Seeing Your Honey. Another Author. Treating Her Real Good.
Possibly the most disheartening thing I've ever seen is: when a book or a movie comes out and the idea is just like the one I've had ten years ago. One of the most difficult truths that is out there, is that in no way my ideas are unique if they are, not for long. As humans, we are bound to think of similar things, eventually. There was a theory, I believe even the Stargate promoted it, that there is a certain manner in which human-like races develop. Think of Mayan pyramids and Egyptian, worlds apart but the universal idea is still there. This is the truth that I've accepted over the last two years:
My Ideas Are Not Unique. Somebody Simply Did Not Think Of It Yet Or Did And I Didn't Know.
A Mini Solution Final Number Four!
Once I've come to terms with the fact that I am not unique, and that possibly somebody has published something similar to my idea, what is there to do? So what can you as an author do, you want to make a living writing, or at least stay sane from all the craziness going on in that noggin? My answer is this, what I've heard from the other authors; write your version of the story. Why do you suppose that the retellings are so popular?
There are the seven basic plots, they are universal and we are yet to defy beyond them. This idea was introduced by Christopher Booker, but possibly a much older concept. Now since we are limited by the seven, even if you are a character-oriented writer, not plot-oriented, you will follow it. By default, one of the themes exists in your story. Like the beginning, middle and the end of any story. Even if you mix them up, there is some logic in a novel. This is good, our brains, when reading need a pattern, need something that we are used to, this is what makes us comfortable about the story. For the very same reason, we love retellings. Those little suckers are familiar enough, but then it comes to the skill and imagination of a writer, to give the story a real twist. So I say do not despair, let there be versions of a Superman out there, but they do not yet have your Superman.
What Do I Leave You With?
I cannot promise that your version of the Lord of the Meows, Beauty and the Barlog, Game of Madhatters will make it to the bestseller list. All I am saying is that it is worth a try, to let your voice be heard. In the very same manner as there are plenty of motivational speakers, writing advice gurus and such. All of them have their own personality and their own voice, even if they preach from the same book. The point is uniqueness comes from a person and their voice.
Possibly, very likely a better resources than I exists on this topic; you, my dear readers are adding value to my voice, by reading my truths. This means that I somehow appealed to you, as a book did, or you are my friend Alina and I've made you read it. Agree or violently scream, I only share what I, Gina, know. You've read my version on how to write, and possibly it will work for you, just like a retelling that you've liked. Or not. In no way am I more special than you, or have more talent or more mental capability. These simply are my thoughts on how writing works.
What do you think?
Give it a go and tell me how did it work out for you. At the very least something will be finished