Wednesday, June 13, 2012

I is for Ideas....whatcha got? :)

A reader recently asked two questions, which I shall tackle here :)

1. What do you do if you have an idea that you feel is beyond your skills to do it justice? Save if & work on simpler things?

This is a common issue among new writers. And you know what's it called? DOUBT. Or maybe FEAR. Or you could label it INSECURITY. None of those things come from God. Therefore, ignore them. It's good to be humble and realistic about the current level of expertise you have as a writer. I'm not saying start poking your chest out and bragging about how you could tackle any subject, any time, anywhere. ;)  But there's a fine middle ground where you need to camp out. My opinion on this question is that you can do anything you put your mind to. A high concept story is a powerful story - and yes, it needs to be done well. But that doesn't mean don't even try! It means pour your heart into it. Keep learning the craft of writing. Get critique partners who know more than you to edit for you and teach you. Take classes and learn learn learn. And whatever the topic is on, research it. Make sure it reads as realistic. An idea beyond your skill doesn't exist. Rather, you have an idea that is so awesome, you need to make sure you give it the full attention it deserves. Don't sell yourself short! :)

Do you think Stephanie Meyer or JK Rowling as new authors pondered their ideas and then said "Nahh. I'm not good enough yet?" Nope. They started writing. And are now household names.

It can definitely be argued that Stephanie Meyer's writing style is amateurish, but a lot of that is the editorial's fault and rush job, as well. So whatever. But you get my point :)

2. Do you think a beginner should focus on only one story at a time?

I would say yes, as a general rule. Simply because you want to give each story your full attention. A half-hearted story is definitely not going to get published, maybe not even get FINISHED. So give each of your "babies" the time they deserve. If you get another idea in the middle of your first, jot down the main points of it so you can remember it later, then dive back into Project 1.

Sometimes in a career, though, authors have to learn how to juggle writing a new WIP, editing their previous, and marketing their previous before that one, that just released. So it's good to learn early on how to manage your time and juggle multiple books at once, but rarely (unless under rare deadline crossover between two publishers) do authors literally WRITE two books at once.


  1. Lovely questions! And great answers! Those words of encouragement in the first question were well timed; someone might have read my mind this week... :)

  2. Great post! I'm having an idea drought at the moment :(

  3. Tonya, what's your passion? I think you should pick one topic that is dear to your heart OUTSIDE of writing and turn that into a story.

  4. Thanks Betsy! Hmmm, I really like to knit. Lol!
    I can come up with things I care about, I have to learn to build stories & plot around them.

  5. What if you did a book about knitting? A women's fiction about a knitting club who meet together to knit and how their lives intersect and they help each other out? Knitting is all ages, too which gives the story dimension. You could have a club of two middle aged women, an elderly woman, a college student, etc. Interesting dynamics :)

  6. Yes, definitely! I've toyed with that and it's a matter of finding the right plot twists. There actually a lot of knitting fiction out there! Most of them are knitting stores & knitting groups.
    I had the crazy thought of some sort of enchanted knitting needle but I've never done fantasy so it's not to much further than that!