Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Idea, the actuality.

So this is a subject I have touched on before. The idea. I think it is something newer writers have the most trouble with. Hearing something like what Brandon Sanderson said in a lecture "Ideas are cheap" can be really hard to take in.

So how could this be true? The idea is what makes the story. It is the seed that grows the book. All of this is true. Still, have you bought seeds lately? They are pretty cheap. 

Here is an example. Vampires. They have been around in fiction for so long. From Bram Stoker to Anne Rice we have had these blood sucking fiends around. When Meyers wrote her books she injected life into a literary zombie that seems will never go away. If you go to a book store you will find a vampire book written within the last year, on a shelf. 

The idea is great. The problem is, when you think to yourself, "I have a great idea, of course I will be successful." you are setting yourself up for failure. The idea can also become a burden. It can become this idol that you are so scared of getting wrong that you stop writing. 

So what am I really saying by all of this? The TL;DR version is, skill trumps idea. How do we get skill? You have to write. You have to write a lot. You have to write so much that you get lost in it. Then you have to throw it all away because it was just practice.

Those singing shows love to use the phrase, "A great singer can sing the phone book and we would love it." Well a great writer can write a story about a phone book taking a Christmas vacation and we would read through the night.

Don't let your ideas hold you back. Write about everything. Write in every genre. Write until the words you are putting down match the passion you have for being an author. 

As a writer we spend much of our time thinking. We take things in and we process them. So watching a show, going to a park, brushing our teeth, can give us an incredible idea. They will be there for you. 

Don't worry if a story "just isn't working". Don't worry if that great idea is rejected over and over. You are the precious object, not your idea. Just write, the rest will come with time. 

As always, have fun and keep writing.


  1. Great post. Love your drawings, as always.


  2. I'm still writing, although not sure why...

  3. I used to sit on my bed trying to think up ideas and my mom said, "What are you doing?" I said, "Thinking." Her reply, "Don't thing so much." Hahahaa.... Good Post!!

  4. Awww I like this post! Very inspiring and true :D
    Cool drawings too!!!!

  5. This is a great post, Brandon. Sometimes I worry that I only have the technical skill, and no good ideas, but I keep on writing and trying to find a combination that will be good enough to publish!

  6. Yep. When I first started I thought writing a book would be a cinch. Nope. Like any craft, it takes many, many attempts before you become adequate, and then the real work beings. Fine post, Brandon! :)

  7. Writing is a chore, even when sitting and watching TV. Ideas always crowd the mind and intrude. But, its what we love :)