Saturday, 18 February 2012

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

I'm talking about plot ideas.

I suffer from a condition called an 'Over-active imagination'. Unfortunately, a cure has yet to be discovered, and even if there was one, I wouldn't take it and YOU CAN'T MAKE ME.

I love my imaginary friends, even if their relationship with me is dubious at best. However, I do seem to have a bit of a problem with crowd control. There is just too many in there for me to function as a normal human being, so I have to let some out to stretch their legs on paper. The trouble is, which ones?

I have read on a few blogs that a writer should, first and foremost, write for themselves. With regret, I can't do this. I wish I could be satisfied by simply getting their story out onto paper and being happy at that. But I'm not. Whenever I start writing, I'm filled with this consuming need for people to be interested in what and who I'm writing about. If I'm going to pour my heart, soul, blood, sweat and tears into a story, I need to know that people will want to read it.

(I'm a bit of a praise whore. I was that annoying brat in school that would be the first one to finish her work, and would flaunt it in front of the teacher -and the class- all for the sake of getting a 'Well Done' stamp on my book.)

But I have a problem, in my head, I'm interested in every plot, otherwise it wouldn't be there. How do I decide which is the good, the bad, and the downright ugly?

But, Sarah, why is it important that other people like your stories?

Well, italic voice, because I'd like writing to be my job. For it to be a job, I need to make money. To make money, I need to get the story published. To get published, other people have to like what you read. And there we come full circle.

Recently, I had, what I thought was an amazing idea for a story. And I took it and ran with it for about 10,000 words. Then, just for a bit of fun and encouragement, I submitted it to Susanna Hill's 'Would You Read It Wednesday' where authors pitch their plots, and get feedback from her blog readers. But this is where I hit the road block. Not very many people seemed interested in it. Or if they were interested, it was because they had misinterpreted the plot in a way that I hadn't (and can't) imagine it going. It was then that I realised that I'm incapable of  judging which of my ideas are good, and which stink worse than my dad's feet (and trust me, that's bad). So what do I do? Do I put it to one side and hope that a better plot twist reveals itself? Do I scrap it and start something else? Do I keep going and ignore the warnings that it might fall flat on it's face?

When do you stop the CPR, look at the clock, and ask the Nurse (or in my case, cat) to call time of death? (In case you're wondering, it was purr minutes past meow.)

So, here's where I ask for your help! How do you sort out your Good, Bad and Ugly?

Sarah x


  1. I have a bunch of ideas always running around in my head. I have four finished MS (one I'm querying with fairly good success) two MS I have started and then the one I am currently working on. How do I choose? Whichever one I am most passionate about at the time. Sometimes I write two at the same time if I'm equally as passionate about both. And when the passion wains I move on to the next one.

    And you shouldn't judge an idea by one contest, or one person's critique, etc. If you're really passionate about it, go for it. The worst, the very worst that can happen is that you have this shiny, wonderful baby that at the time nobody wants. But what did you gain? You're a better writer. You have a finished manuscript. And you most likely have other shiny ideas to work on. :)

  2. I think you have a very real talent. And you're right, we do want people to read and enjoy what we write. But I think you should continue with the plots that inspire you. Seriously, how many stories sound great in a nutshell? I read a book once about the early coal miners of WV. Sounds like a yawn fest, but the author (self pubbed) told it with such passion I finished in one night. And there's probably plenty of books that sound horrible that we love, but it's after 2 am and my brain can't list them.

  3. I think Kelley and Elizabeth have covered it all, but I totally know how you feel about trying to work out which idea are good, and which are a waste of time. I think you really do need to write what feels right for you. If you have that much passion for an idea, you will be able to make your readers feel it. :)


I love reading your comments!