The biggest hurdle I see from newbie writers is that their idea for a story just isn’t original. “But it’s been done before!” is their common refrain. My friend, yes, it’s been done before. But not by you. If you want to write and finish a story others will hopefully enjoy, you have to let go of that fear.
Because, honestly, it’s just an excuse not to take the plunge.
Once you get over that, you have an entire world to explore for ideas. Even then, it might be hard.
Let’s start with what we know best: what’s really happening around us.
The dreaded question. Where do writers get their ideas?
I’ve been exploring this the past few weeks. I believe that writers don’t like to answer this question because—for a busy, accomplished writer—getting ideas is the easy part. Their creative subconscious is always churning out new ones.
But for someone that hasn’t been writing since they could hold a pencil, this seems like a daunting task. Especially in an age where there is so much media out there, it feels like all the good ideas have been done.
You can overcome that hurdle by taking risks, combining ideas into a new thing, and creating a process that nurtures and harvests new ideas.
For some writers, all of this is second nature. But for many, they had to learn a process so they could write consistently.
Because, and this is the rub my friends, if you’re not writing consistently, you’ll never finish your story.
For some reason, writers don’t like to talk about where they get their ideas. And to the outside observer, it seems like writers magically get their ideas from the thin air.
In this series of posts, I hope to break down some of this mystery and maybe help you stop worrying and start writing.
In my previous entry, I said that writers don’t like to answer this question, because they’re busy doing harder tasks. Writing a story—that’s both entertaining and coherent—is far more difficult than coming up with an idea.
But to newcomers who want to jump into the craft of writing fiction, getting a fresh, original, and interesting idea can seem daunting.
So, let’s start out simple: what do you love?
I’m not talking about big things like family or God, but the things that inspired you to write in the first place.
Many accomplished writers started out very young. Long before they published a book, they were writing as children. They’ve been writing for so long, they don’t even think about how they get ideas. Their creative subconscious is so used to churning up new combinations of things, it’s second nature.
But you have to start somewhere. You might as well start out with the stories you already love.
I’ve been hard at work for the last few years writing stories. It’s part of the reason why comics have been so slow in coming. Sorry, but when the spirit takes you, you just gotta obey.
In the coming days and weeks, I’ll be posting some of these fresh batches of fiction on the site. First up, is Muerte Azul, a short little tale about a graduation after party. Here is a sample:
By the time Kevin reached the hill, many more gray people were out. They came out of the trees, out of the shadows. None of them came out of the houses. They glowed with an eerie light, like wisps floating across a swamp. Altogether they moved in a silent rhythm. More came up behind Kevin and he was forced to go with them.
The road went on for miles, but the gray people did not tire. Kevin asked what was going on. Only one responded, a short woman with branches in her hair, by holding a finger to her lips. The road eventually reached a massive hill. It was dotted with small stones. The strangers were gathering at the summit. Kevin was suddenly gripped with a desire to go home. He tried to back away from the Great Hill. The gray people held out their arms, blocking his path. Kevin found himself getting closer to the top of the hill.
He stumbled through the disaster that was once a lab room. In the little light that was left he rummaged through desk drawers, closets and cabinets. He finally found it in Mansen’s desk: a small vial of crystal clear liquid. He pulled a clean syringe from his coat pocket and hastily filled it with the fluid. With a less than steady hand he stuck the needle into his arm. He breathed a little easier as he felt the medicine go in.
He stumbled over to a broken shard of glass and checked his face in the foggy reflection. The spotted discoloration stretching from his neck to his chin seemed to be fading—but he wasn’t sure. It would have to do, though. It was his only hope.