Ideas within Ideas

Posted: March 17, 2013 in Details about my books, Uncategorized
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I don’t know about you, but the first thing I think after reading that title (the one above these lines and lines of text) is: Ideaception. I know. I’m the first one to ever think about it – I’ve pitched it to Warner Bros. and they’ve given me a 250 million dollar budget to do whatever I want.

Anyways, I had an idea yesterday for a new book. I won’t tell you the idea – which tells you how much I like it. Normally, I blab about my ideas like I’m at gunpoint. I just like hearing myself talk. (Wait… that doesn’t make sense…) But, with this idea, I can’t do that. I need to write it first. Only thing is – it requires a massive amount of research. I don’t know about all of you professional writers, but as a bona fide amateur writer, I normally wing it. My first book? Wrote it not knowing a lot about books. My third book? Didn’t even know the names or the plot by page 75. That’s right. I managed to get that far without names or a sensible plot.

However, with this idea, I don’t feel like an amateur anymore. This is my most ambitious project, yet, and it blends almost all of my favorite elements in a book. The problem is – what does a writer do when he has too many ideas? I know, you all think I’m terribly arrogant. But am I? At some point or another, a writer gets a huge burst of ideas, right? But, what can this writer do about it, exactly? What if the writer already has a long running book series and his readers are up in arms about the sixth book? *coughs GRRM coughs*

I have started over 12 projects. It’s not that I’m that good. It’s just that my attention span is horrible, and the smallest idea I get – I write it. Of course, lately, I’ve begun focusing my creative energy into specific projects, but that does not mean the ideas stop. There are plenty of movies that show writers having trouble writing something worthwhile – most notably the writer in Sunset Boulevard.

I’ve written done a lot of ideas, both on paper and on keyboard, but if you could write an entire book based on one idea alone, everyone would be published! You need a plot, and then you need to actually write the thing. Depending on your skill and time, it can take from six months to a year. There are certain exceptions, sure. Stephen King wrote the Running Man in three days. Say what you will about King – he can finish his books. Something I can’t boast without a bit of hesitation.

What a writer should do, first and foremost, is write all of his ideas. Just do it. I mean, really, does it hurt you? Nope. Might it benefit you in the future? Definitely. The next thing you should do is prioritize your projects according to whether or not you think they have the potential to be something great. Here’s an example:

Untitled Project:

So there’s this dystopian future, right? And the government is watching your every move. I’m thinking of calling the government… The Watcher… Wait, no… Big Watcher? Big Cousin?

Tentative Title – the Wrestling Club:

Basically, this salaryman is an insomniac. And he ends up meeting this really good looking guy – maybe Clooney could play this part – in the plane… and they decide to start a Club together after talking – the Wrestling Club.

Please don’t steal those brilliant ideas of mine. I’m really quite happy with ’em. But yeah, make an Idea List. Prioritize one over the other. I once read somewhere that you can’t really rate ideas by their merit alone… to which I say, that is ridiculous. Pick the idea you like best and just go with it. If you can’t think about that idea anymore, move unto the next one. That’s what I did when I got stumped on my second book. Guess what, it worked.

I haven’t finished my second book, yet, but I’ve finished my third book, and I’m working on its sequel right now. The List WORKS! Well… sort of. I really need to work on that second book.

That’s beside the point, though. What you should do, though, is see if your idea already exists. Google is a godsend, honestly. Every time I meet a senior in college, I get all serious and ask him/her: “So, you lived to see the internet without Google… how was it?”

And he/she will reply, with a quivering upper lip: “It was a dark place… A place that no one should ever visit.”

Then we cry and hug. If you don’t believe me…

So, I am looking forward to this idea. I am going to work on the research bit, and I’ll probably write long, whiny blogposts of me swearing to never take up this project again. I wasn’t kidding about the research. Imagine an enormous amount. Imagine it? Yeah, well, just about that much. Didn’t expect that, did you? Well, I like to be unpredictable.

The moral of the story – ideas, write them down. No matter what. Don’t forget them, just rank them.

P.S: I wrote this post, also, because I just wanted to blab about my idea. I couldn’t really divulge any ideas, but you can sense how excited I am about this. Hopefully, a year from now, I’ll be telling you all about the sequel to my third book, as well as the book that spawned from this meagre idea of mine. Let’s hope, eh?

~J.A. Romano

Interesting stuff to read:

Why you should read <— Got the idea for those funny book examples from this article.

Common Myths in Fictional Fights <— Didn’t really mention it in the post, but this helped me out a lot. Can’t believe how often I’ve humiliated myself in my book by doing some rookie mistake like those detailed over there. I really hope that everyone else has made the mistake of doing one of these myths.

  1. C.Hill says:

    You realize I’m going to whiddle that idea out of you? 😛

  2. tktrian says:

    We know how you feel, man… and what to do when you have so many meandering, spawing-to-every-direction ideas that you don’t have the time/energy to write them down? Then they just get lost! Argh! Anyway, just about dying here to find out what you’ve got up your sleeve! Also, thanks for linking T’s blogpost! 😀

    • J.A. Romano says:

      No problem! I thought everyone should read that list, considering it’d probably save a few embarrassments when the zinging sword appears in their ultra-realistic book. xD

  3. dotdotquote says:

    Heh, ever since I took up writing again a few years ago, I’ve had one single “idea” that has evolved far beyond its humble origin. Oh yes, what I’m working on now is my fifth attempt at what I’d hesitatingly say is the same story, but I’d be flat out lying — it’s changed that much.

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