The website of the historical fiction writer.

Idea Riot

One of the problems with being a writer is the many kinds of inspiration that are out there. There’s books, newspapers, Internet, travelling, magazines, conversations, people, animals, birds, plants, fish, bacteria, invertebrates (no I’ve not seen The Human Centipede) and just generally going out, living a life and experiencing things.

Now, this is good. A writer, just like any artist, needs a good solid helping of inspiration to soak up the perspiration and dedication. Without ideas we are nothing.

The trouble is ideas, for want of a better cliché, are like children. Actually they’re worse than that, they are like badly behaved cats (like mine). As soon as you get up they want attention. They want to be the one that gets put onto paper, entered into the competition, sent off to the agents (and hopefully not sent back), read out at the Open Mic, shown to nearest and dearest (well, the ones who won’t laugh anyway). And, of course, there’s always the worry that haunts all writers. The most Great and Terrible Fear that is (deep breath):

Someone else will have the same idea.

That’s right. Some other scribe will have had the same flash of inspiration, written it down and made a fat pile of wonga before you’ve even dug out your notebook from under the pile of rejection letters. This does happen.

Fear not, though, fellow scribblers. There are steps you can take to get around this:

  1. Do not Tell ANYBODY ANYTHING: Alright, so they could get the idea from somewhere else but at least your conscience is clear. Remember, there is no copyright in ideas, only their expression.
  2. Make Notes when you have the Ideas: In your notebook, then saved on a computer. That way you’ve got an electronic record.

‘But how can I deal with this onslaught of ideas?’ I hear you all cry. ‘How are you dealing with them all?’ Well, I’ve now decided that I’ll have a go at writing a few words of the Novel during the week after work with poems/short stories/flash fiction at the weekend as a ‘break’. Well, that’s the idea, let’s see how it works in practice…

(And why does the font size keep changing on this?)

2 responses

  1. An interesting analysis on the Zeitgeist, mate…Actually that gives me an idea!!!

    06/02/2012 at 11:51 am

  2. Always happy to help!

    18/02/2012 at 6:21 pm

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