The Elusive Idea

September 21, 2015 at 12:42 pm

idea copyAs an author, I go through stages when the ideas are flowing and there seems to be a never-ending stream of new material popping into my head. This was the way it was all through my Verindon trilogy. Even now, it’s easy to slip back into that world and continue its story.

Then there are other times, times when I have no new ideas, times when I despair of ever having another new idea again.

I’m in that place right now.

Admittedly, I’m not terribly worried. For a start, I’ve been here before and I know it won’t be long before I have an idea. Also, I currently have a new manuscript with my publisher for consideration, so it’s not like I don’t have some work ‘on the go’.

However, it’s frustrating, especially when I have some excellent scenes passing through my head, only to realise that the story they amount to is one that has been done (or overdone) a thousand times.

Although, even if the kernel around which those scenes are built isn’t an original idea, it doesn’t mean their stories aren’t going to have something original in them. After all, as my publisher once told me, there’s no such thing as an original idea these days. All stories are built on about seven original story ideas and are just a variation of one or more of those (ie: forbidden love, overcoming a stronger foe, poor relationships with a parent figure, etc). So even if the story isn’t strictly original, the angle I bring to it might be.

But those angles are still eluding me at the moment. I know better to force it. I never do that unless I at least have an ending in mind. If I start a story that has no ending, I know from experience I’m unlikely to finish it. I simply continue to live in hope that, sooner or later, these ideas will all come together in my head, and that little angle I’m looking for will make an appearance. That’s always the best moment. I hope it isn’t too far away.

Are you a writer? How hard is it for you to think of new storylines and write them? Are you a reader? Have you read many stories that you think are truly ‘original’ lately? Let me know in the comments.

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