But does it lead down the primrose path?

Every writer has the moments of doubt and indecision, asking herself, “Is there a story there?  Would anyone ever want to read this, anyway?” Usually the answer to both those questions is no, if you consider it too rationally, and she must learn to ignore the nagging voice that insists all ideas are bad, and no one would ever want to read anything she wrote, and instead persevere with the hope that all the ideas are good at heart, that the muse will triumph if you just start writing.  It’s not about the story, it’s about how you tell the story.  Any story can be made interesting, right?  Remember The Social Network?  The concept behind the movie sounded so dull, but the movie was so entertaining, even suspenseful!

Alas, this is not always the case.  After watching the Social Network, I had to conclude not that it was a good movie about something boring, but that I was wrong about the original concept, which the movie revealed as an important and interesting topic.

I believe that most ideas will eventually produce some good writing, if one explores the topic enough and allows it to branch and lead to new topics, twining itself into a world of interest.  But every once in a while, a true stinker of an idea does come up.

Generally, if I have to work too hard to develop an idea, if it doesn’t help me at all by suggesting its own new directions, I eventually abandon it and return to a better-traveled path.  Good concepts do branch and twine and scaffold, and help bulk themselves up into a novel.  Bad concepts can be just carbohydrates–that quick burst of energy that fails right around 10:30, too early for lunch but too late for second breakfast.

If I can’t stop thinking about an idea, I figure there is something to it; if I follow, it will lead me to some good thinking and writing.  But sometimes, if I forget a project, my potential audience probably would too.  The worst ideas will be naturally abandoned, and that is as it should be.

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