People that do not write have a hard time understanding that ideas are everywhere. They’ll come to you and say “I’ve got this great idea for a novel, I’ll tell you so you’ll write it and we can share the money.”
They get it wrong on three counts – first, because they think there really is any serious money in writing (ah!), and second, they believe their idea is unique (it’s not).
Third, and final, you can’t write a book based on a single idea. You need at least two good ideas to rub together for a long work to have a hope in hell.
Ideas are everywhere, and a good writer – well, a decent writer… let’s say a serviceable hack – is the one that can recognize them as they pour around him.
A general rule of thumb is, when you are overworked, stretched thin and at the lowest point of a low period, you’ll start getting all these brilliant ideas.
It’s like an Egyptian curse.
Let me give you an example.
In the fifteen minutes between posting the last post on this blog and writing this, I got an excellent idea for a series of 13 stories.
Yeah, thirteen short stories in the murder mystery, noir and horror genres.
Enough to make a nice fat collection.
So yes, I think I’ll do it, one of these days, as soon as my desk is clear.
And now, for the ideas…
This is from McCall’s Magazine, 1958, from an article called “129 ways to get a husband.”
And yes, I know, 129 is a lot. But thirteen is just right.
And you can see some of those stories, right? Right there in those prompts.
And I bet you want to read them.
Because for sure I want to write them.