Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Art of Picking

For you writers out there, have you been plagued by Shiny New Ideas, especially when you're in the middle of a big project? Of course you have! One of the blessings and curses of being a novelist/poet/novella writer, is that you purposefully open your senses and imagination to inspiration. We have to, if we want to succeed with the projects we focus on.

But how do you decide which Shiny New Idea is good enough to follow? For instance, I knew for sure that I wanted to write Griffin's Song, and knew that I wanted to write Sarah's story in two parts. But after that? Sure I had plenty of ideas, and began writing a few of them. None of them stuck. Of course, I want to write them later, but sometimes it seems like you have to be in a certain mood to write a certain plot.

Then I hit on Balancing Act, and it seemed to be the perfect combination of nostalgia and power. It fit, somehow. And I think that's the key part. Whether you're a pantser or an outliner, the story has to seem right, and you have to want to spend time working at it every day. The characters should fill your mind, and even when the going gets tough (as we all know it does), you should still love your story. If you don't love it, your readers won't love it.

And I'm not saying you shouldn't pursue a SNI if it doesn't automatically grab you. Write down what you can, file it away for later if it doesn't hold onto your imagination right away. But when you find that idea that makes you excited to write, then you know you've found a winner.


  1. This is definitely true! There's gotta be something about a story that speaks to you, be it the characters or theme or some plot element. Hopefully a combination of all three. ;) It can be hard to judge that well while the idea's in SNI stage, though; sometimes it takes actually writing out some of the story before you realize it doesn't have staying power. The great thing is, though, there's always a next idea to try out if this one doesn't work.

  2. I completely agree, write that idea until you run out of steam. Then you can evaluate whether or not it's worth pursuing.