I Have An Idea!

09 Oct

I Want To Be A Writer Series

Every great book begins as one simple little idea.

Like a seed that was a placed into your head, an idea begins to germinate. Every time you close your eyes, the room grows silent, you’re walking alone, you’re supposed to be working on something else, or even waiting for a train to pass, that idea is there, nagging at you. It becomes so irritating that you decide you have to write about it. The second you place a purpose to that idea it begins to jump around in your head like a Mexican Jumping Bean. In other words, that nagging idea has now become a force to be reckoned with. It begins to take on a life of its own. Characters begin to form and views of places you have never seen begin to appear in your mind as if you are looking into a parallel dimension you somehow gained access into. You begin to hear voices in your head and suddenly, that bean is no longer just a little seed, it is a plant growing and forming its own appendages that begin to wrap around your mind like the tentacles of an octopus. You’re hooked. You’re snagged.  You’re trapped. You have no choice, write or the idea will drive you insane!

Great, now that you have given life to your seed it suddenly turns into an onion.  An onion?  What were you expecting, a golden egg?  Oh no, your idea has now formed into a complex system of layers that now must be slowly and carefully peeled back to reveal each and every delicate layer beneath.  Rushing the process will only result in carelessness that may lead to a bunch of disconnected layers that no longer hold a place in that complex system.  But without them, the system has lost its fullness of life.  Peeling back the layers too carefully or not enough can lead to a story with no depth leaving the passion still hidden within the recesses of the unrevealed layers. Your readers are left feeling unsatisfied and wishing you would have peeled those layers back just a little more.  If you invite someone over for dinner, they come expecting to eat a meal, not a snack.  Give your readers a world that they can escape into and feel as if they are a part of and they will close your book in the end feeling satisfied and yet longing for more.

So how do you do that?  Well there is no magical formula.  Everyone has a different style.  Everyone has different tastes.  Before you even begin peeling back the layers, you must first decide who you are writing this book for?  The age group will have a huge impact in the way your characters speak and the language they use.  You have to think about what you would tell someone if you were verbally speaking to them.  What kind of details would they want to know or what details should you leave undisclosed simply because they would be considered inappropriate for or by your target group.  It may seem to stifle your writing in the beginning because you want your characters to be real, but understanding your target group will help you understand just how far you need to peel those layers back so you don’t find yourself having to go back and repair the damage later.  You must always remember, that age is not the only factor you must take into consideration.  Before you even begin, get to know the target group you want to reach out to and you will understand the scope and size of the canvas you have to work with.  The best way you can help yourself is to read books that fall into the genre you are writing.  Take notice of the general size of the books, the language used, the speed in which the story unfolds, and the amount of details that are included or left to the imagination of the reader.  Always take notes so that you have them as guidelines to keep you on track so you don’t find yourself drifting away and getting lost in your story,  Always remember that a craftsman of any sort never stops studying and learning new ways to improve their craft.

Previous Post of the Series – “I Want to Be a Writer”          Next Post –“Breathing Life Into Your Idea”


Posted by on October 9, 2012 in IWTBAW Series


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4 responses to “I Have An Idea!

  1. Grinelda Markowitz

    October 9, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    i enjoyed this article tremendously. i quoted a selection and linked back to this article here:

  2. Stephanie Laws

    October 9, 2012 at 8:24 pm

    Thank you so much.

  3. enjoy

    January 31, 2013 at 3:41 am

    This will be extremely helpful and my friend and I begin our journey! I’ll be reading your other posts


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