Today, I’d like to look at big story ideas. You know, the ones that you think of and think of and think of…but don’t write. That cool, awesome big story that has an amazing world, dynamic characters, a killer plot, but yet, you’re still not putting fingers to keyboard. So why not?I’ve been thinking about this for a while, and looking through the internet to see what answers I can find. Basically, I can boil it down to three reasons why your writing muscles aren’t flexing (there may very well be more, but this is the three that I believe in).
ONE – “The idea is too big and I’m not good enough to write it. I’ll come back to it when I’m a better writer.” I totally get this. I do. We’re all aware that we’re going to grow as a writer. Our skills are going to fine tune, our revision techniques become better. However, if you don’t have anything to revise, that big story idea is dead in the water. And writers are like magpies…shiny story ideas pick at our attention all the time, so we’re easily distracted. So that big story you want to write, but don’t feel good enough for, ends up getting further and further back on your to do list. My thoughts on the matter? Write the first draft. Even if it comes out terrible (it’ll most likely be better than you think). Get words on paper. Then let it sit. After a while, after you feel your skills have grown a bit, after you’ve gotten over some of your nerves about it…come back to it. Now, be sure not to let it sit too long. Don’t leave it in the “first draft drawer”. But do get words on paper; otherwise that amazing idea of yours won’t ever get written.
TWO – You’ve got no time. This, I also understand. You have a job, kids, you go to school, you have activities, family stuff, the list goes on (and on!). You have to squeeze writing in the gaps. So you don’t have time for that big book idea. Or do you? I think you do. It’ll just take longer to write than a shorter book. Maybe it’ll take two years instead of one. So what? How much do you really want to tell this story? If you want to tell it badly enough, you’ll give it the extra time it deserves.
THREE – The book is so big you just don’t know where to start. This is a common problem for a lot of writers, but the solution is simple. Start anywhere. I know that sounds ridiculous, as we all know our first chapters are the most important. However, that is why revision is your friend. Sometimes writers chuck out chapter one, two, or more on their first revision pass. I know I have. And sometimes I’ve had to add more in front of chapter one. If you’re going to get anywhere in your book, you just have to dive right in. You can fix the starting point later.
All right, so those are my thoughts on the matter, but they’re only my opinion; I’m sure you have your own. However, whatever the reason you’re stalling on starting your big book idea, my advice is the same: just write. Figure out the rest later.
Until next post!