1. rasmanisar
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    rasmanisar Active Member

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    Ideas are cheap...

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by rasmanisar, Feb 11, 2014.

    Drawing inspiration from a thread in Plot Development entitled 'A Horror Story Idea', I thought this was an interesting enough discussion to merit it's own thread. The premise put across is that an idea in itself is not necessarily a valuable thing, and it is the author that makes it something exciting. I'm sure there will be many varying opinions, which is great.

    So, as the titular statement. In my opinion, an idea is like a lump of clay - cheap, simple and abounding in vast numbers - but also malleable. Anyone can grab a handful of clay and press it around, but it takes a true craftsman to carefully sculpt and refine that clay into a delicate pot. The same applies to writing - most folk are capable of coming up with an idea that has potential, but it takes a dedicated writer to sculpt that idea, to push, pull and smooth the edges into a beautiful piece of work.

    I've heard people in the past say how they have so many ideas, but whenever they try to write them down, they just don't seem to come out right. To them I always say - persist - because that is the only way I know. The skilled craftsman did not just pick up a piece of clay one day and immediately craft an exquisite pot - he spent years learning, working hard, slowly building his skill and technique. In the same way, you cannot just start off one day from a simple idea and expect to write an incredible story. There will be errors, there will be mistakes. You will use too much detail, or too little, or filter the reader constantly without knowing. You will struggle, and curse, and wonder if you should give up - but as long as the idea lingers in the back of your mind, keep trying, because ideas are cheap, and you can afford to spend a few.

    Discuss! :D
     
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  2. A.M.P.
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    A.M.P. People Buy My Books for the Bio Photo Supporter Contributor

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    This is why threads made here that are asking whether the idea is any good or if it'll work generally end in a handful of posts.
    Everyone says that the idea is good, but it's up to the author to make it work.
    A good idea in the hands of a bad author will end up bad, a bad idea in the hands of a good author will end up good.
    It's the writing that matters, not the setup.
     
  3. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    As regards how this paradigm plays out in the forum, I agree and disagree with the statement that "ideas are cheap".

    I agree, because it's true.

    I disagree because the issue is not with the idea being presented. The issue is one step further back. When the member/writer/person in the world presents their little synopsis for evaluation and asks if it is good or not, that's the broken part, the question of good or bad. The writer should be coming to the brainstorming area of the forum with questions about making it play out, the connective tissue (so to speak) that will link the bones together, the motivation, etc. These are the questions the writer should be asking, mulling, hashing out with his/her peers. Good v. bad has no sequitur answer. The questions to ask are how, and most importantly, why. When I participate in these kinds of threads and the writer does not present these questions, I present them in order to help direct the writer to useful questions for which, in truth, the OP is the only one with the answers. It's like psychiatry. A psychiatrist never gives you answers; he/she only helps you find the answers you do possess but are unable to access for one reason or another.
     
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  4. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    I think a lot of newbie authors are frightened & distrusting of their own judgement and are wondering if they even have enough parts to justify a full plot. Maybe they just want justification for spending time on a worthwhile project. ( But in that sense you have to be like a child fingerpainting - it has to be worthwhile to you )

    I also think a lot show up having read a bit, perhaps experienced a few English classes but maybe they haven't done any other research about the craft of writing. Maybe they assume writers just sit down and have all the answers that's there's not a process, a gathering of discoveries, a sifting and sorting. That little things in our life can be where the big things lie - I was reading about Star Wars years ago and George Lucas had a lot of little things going on in his life that wove into making the culture of his fictional worlds - Chewbacca was their dog and often dubbed the co-pilot of their car, when they hit a bump in a road they'd joke about hitting a wookie. Small details that became important. Frank L. Baum turned one day in his den and caught the spine of an encyclopedia - O-Z. I think when you find an idea you've also got to be open and patient enough to start watching for these things that fill in the blanks.

    Others, like Wreybies said, are probably asking the wrong questions and need a more brainstorming type of thread - where thoughts can be kicked around and ideas can germinate.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2014
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  5. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Maybe there's no such thing as a good or bad idea, but I do believe some stories are easier to write than others. There's write what you know but I also think they're should be a write what you FEEl statement that goes along with it. The worst thing that can happen to an idea is if it gets abandoned half way through being written. How do we avoid this. What plots can sustain thenselves long enough for us to write them? Not something someone else can answer.
     
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  6. rasmanisar
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    rasmanisar Active Member

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    Definitely some good points made. As 123 said, it's also so often about persistence. In my opinion one of the best things a budding writer can do is read as much as possible in between their writing. Learning what great authors have done is a really good way to develop your own style.
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ideas are not really 'cheap'... they're actually of no value whatsoever, unless you're a screenwriter with golden guys hanging out on your mantel and you're pitching one to a studio/producer... in which case, you still have to write the script, even if a contract guarantees you a major payoff...
     
  8. UnrealCity
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    UnrealCity Active Member

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    I don't believe ideas are necessarily cheap, or should be.

    For example: If you announce freely an elaborate idea and it happens to fall into the hands of someone who can execute it well and also likes the idea, then you'd wish you didn't give it freely when they're making money off it and you're not.

    How often does this happen? I don't know. But I still believe that it's a legitimate example.
     

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