Tuesday, January 21, 2014

It’s not the idea!

By Vicki Delany

I have a great idea: I’m going to write a book about a young man, orphaned, who is taken under the wing of a powerful man, and ends up becoming the savior of his world.

What a great idea.  But of course there’s not the slightest thing original about it.  King Arthur, Star Wars…

It’s not the idea, it’s what you do with it.

Meredith hits the nail on the head in her post of yesterday. The work is in developing the idea, not coming up with the idea.

As well as the immortal, “Where do you get your ideas” most of us have been told “I have this idea.  I’ll give it to you, you write it and we’ll share the profits.”

My forthcoming book, UNDER COLD STONE, the seventh Constable Molly Smith novel from Poisoned Pen Press (April 2014) was inspired by something that happened to me

I had a very minor altercation with a couple of young men at the airport in Turks and Caicos when I told them not to butt in line.  

End of story.

But, what if, I thought, I had been Lucky Smith, Molly’s mother, a somewhat stubborn woman.  What if Lucky ran into those men later? Who might one of them be to make it interesting? Why, the estranged son of her new partner.  What if Lucky is not in her home town surrounded by friends and family, but on a vacation with that partner?

And what if the son calls his dad - a police officer - for help that night. And disappears. Only now do we have a book. 

The original germ of the story – the idea – is a minor part of developing an entire novel.

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