You’d Know Better than I Would

Hahahahaha. You’re joking, right? You assume that I know when an idea is good or needs to be abandoned.

That’s what I count on my readers for.

I’ve thought certain ideas were the most brilliant things since Harry Potter and been informed that they’re more ridiculous than Twilight.

And I’ve also thought some ideas were absolute garbage that my writing group has told me are worth trying to get published.

I think writers are too close to their ideas to be able to accurately judge. It’s what we need each other for. We have love/hate relationships with all of our writing and we can’t be trusted to make the decision whether an idea is good or needs to be abandoned.

I also tend to be a bit like a pit bull when it comes to ideas. Good or bad, I can’t let go. Never give up, never surrender type mentality. Even when I’ve been told an idea sucks, or even if I know it myself, I still tinker with it in the back corner of my mind, trying to figure out how I can fix it up, rearrange it, give it a different coat of paint so that it is useable after all.

And that is how I develop ideas. I take bits and pieces and try to fit them together, or take them apart and use different pieces in different places. Save some pieces for later if I can’t find a spot for them. Maybe I’m an idea hoarder. Ideas stacked in my mind like leaning piles of decades-old newspapers in an old lady’s house.

Mostly, I develop my ideas by writing them out. Sometimes it’ll be an outline of events or character arcs, but sometimes it’ll just be a scene, and the story grows up around it. The more I write the better feel I get for whether an idea is solid enough to see through to the end.

Ok, I might have lied a little bit. I do sometimes know when I’ve got a good idea. It’ll just hit me. Like lightning. An idea. And I think “Yeah, that would make a good story.” There’s usually bouncing up and down on my toes, pacing, and sometimes even hysterical laughter, and that’s when I know I’ve got something good. How could I abandon something like that?

Sara is a Kansas-grown author of the fantasy and horror persuasions. She is convinced that fantastical things are waiting for her just around the corner, and until she finds the right corner, she writes about those things instead.


  • Kathryn says:

    Haha, I suddenly am picturing all your character and story ideas all together in this blank white room, blinking at each other and wondering when they might get snatched out of the room by this big author hand (you!) to be written about.

  • R.L. Naquin says:

    I want to know who’s telling you an idea sucks. There are no sucky ideas, Sara, just ideas that aren’t being approached from the right direction. Your ideas are gold. Some of them simply aren’t ones you need at that time.

  • The characters in the waiting room are never that well behaved. There’s usually lots of pushing and shoving and yelling. I refuse to disclose those who have praised or condemned my work. Both parties have made me a better writer, so I can’t complain. But I appreciate the sentiment, Rachel! I’ll keep that in mind :)

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