Ideas Won’t Hang Around Forever?
In 2015, Elizabeth Gilbert’s still best-selling book, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, was published. I read it then, and I’m getting ready to read it again this winter. The book gave me a lot to think about, but there’s one point Gilbert made that has come to pass in my own reading/writing experience. That is the notion that ideas are everywhere, and when one of the good ones settles in your path, you might not have forever to develop that idea into a finished project.
For writers, think of story ideas. Have you ever had a great (even unique) idea that you liked but set aside to work on later? Did the idea move on to someone else while you too busy to pay attention?
I had a story idea in 2015 with a tentative title of The Girls on Wasp Island. The story involves two groups of girls at camps on opposite sides of an island who are mysteriously abandoned by the adult counselors. They soon discover there has been a disaster on the mainland and they are on their own. I couldn’t get a handle on the plot, and my critique group wasn’t wildly enthusiastic about what I written so far, so I set it aside and started a new project.
Last week I was at the library, perusing the recently published books. There on shelf two was The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore by Kim Fu, published February 13, 2018. A quote from the front fly page synopsis: “…they find themselves stranded, with no adults to help them survive or to guide them home.”
Of course I checked it out of the library and plan to read it this week. I might still write a Wasp Island story someday, but it probably won’t involve girls at camp.
But that just goes to show you. You can’t hold on to an idea forever. Use it…or lose it.
What about you? Have you had any great ideas that moved on to someone else before you got around to using them?
I Never Used to Win Anything
And I still haven’t won Lotto.
But lately I’ve been luckier than usual. First I won two giveaway books on Goodreads. Then I won a package of coffee. And then, the biggest prize of all, I won a beautiful handmade quilt. I don’t know how this happened, but I’m thinking maybe I should pick some Lotto numbers and try again. Just in case.
The Large Print edition of Wishing Caswell Dead
I’m thrilled to see one of my books make it to Large Print. The publication date is January 9th, 2019. If you have someone in your circle of family or friends who needs the LP edition to read a print book comfortably, consider ordering Wishing Caswell Dead as a gift. It’s also the perfect donation for assisted living facility libraries.
I’m still a monthly contributor to the Blood-Red Pencil, but December is used to re-publish some of the most popular posts from over the years. Monday’s post focused on critique groups. but you can scroll back through the days to find other posts of interest on writing and editing.
Margot Kinberg says
I know what you mean, Pat. I actually had an idea once for a non-fiction book. But…I held onto it too long. Someone else got there first, and there I was. It is important, I think, to act on your ideas if you can.
Hi Margot! I’m going to try harder to act on my ideas when I get them…but that means I have to also work harder and give up my life of laziness (and reading books written by others who promptly acted on their ideas). 😀
Madeline mora-summonte says
I love that story in BIG MAGIC about ideas moving on. It feels both mystical and logical, if that makes sense. 🙂
Yeh on winning things! I could go crazy entering giveaways on Goodreads, but I try to limit myself to books that really sound like something I want to read, that I’ll enjoy etc. I hate for people/publishers to waste their ARCs.
Makes great sense, Madeline! I’ve come to believe it’s true.
I also limit myself to giveaways for books I want to read, specifically print books. I’ve marked so many books “Want to Read” that I now only enter giveaways when I get the heads-up email that a giveaway has been posted. I’ve won several now, and always post a review when I get the book read.
L. Diane Wolfe says
I’ve probably lost a lot of ideas to others since I just don’t have time to write anymore.
But you have chosen an exciting alternate career, Diane, still connected to the wonderful world of books. I expect that’s very rewarding. If I had had enough money to finance the venture, my alternate career would have been mystery bookstore owner (with a great coffee bar inside, of course).
Liz v. says
Congratulations on large print edition and your winning streak!
I have been struck by scientific ideas suddenly springing to life seemingly full grown–theories on evolution, atomic developments, and HIV identification, but the cautionary tale of Nils Bohr chatting away with his (Nazi) friends convinced me that ivory towers and born gossips do exist. Still, there seems to be a time for an idea to come to fruition.
I can tell you I had plenty of time to bring my little idea to fruition. Perhaps in my case, the idea really belonged to someone else and I caught it by accident.
Your ideas appear to be leading you toward writing a very complex book, Liz. I hope you don’t suffer from my biggest problem: procrastination.
Alex J. Cavanaugh says
I don’t have enough story ideas to let one go. Although the one I’m working on now I’ve been wrestling with for two years. It just might run off to someone else.
Merry Christmas, Alex! I can’t believe you don’t have lots of ideas swirling around in your head. You seem like a very imaginative guy.