Finding that Idea

We're all looking for that one amazing plot, that single moment of brilliance to hit. Coming upon an original, riveting idea that no reader will hate and no agent or editor will be able to turn away. Right now I'm back on the hunt for one such idea, and I've realized how hard it is. It's kind of like backtracking, in a way. I already found the idea, I plotted it out, I wrote an entire book, and now... I need to do it all over again.

I've blogged before about the vicious cycle of starting stories - testing out ideas we happen upon - and today I began to ponder about what we can do and where we can go to get these. One of the most consistent questions readers ask an author is this: Where did you get your inspiration? There are enough articles and posts out there about where to find it, really. Music, movies, reading, on and on. But I think one thing we can do to narrow our options and increase our chances of actually finishing a story is this: recycle. What does that mean?

Avoid the clichés.

Sometimes coming up with the idea isn't the problem. It's working on the wrong ideas. If you're thinking about writing a story about vampires who sparkle in the sun, I highly suggest recycling that one. People are looking for something unique. Another way of saying this is simply avoid the trends.

Write for yourself.

This is actually something I had to learn recently. When you're writing, don't think about the rest of the world. Don't think about what your mom would say if she read your work. Don't wonder if it's what the public wants. I genuinely believe that if you write what you want to write, something great will come out on the page. That idea will work. Because it's something that hasn't been done before, right?

Don't follow the rules.

Kind of like writing for yourself, don't be wondering, Is this normal? Would another author do it this way? Is this too far out? I definitely didn't have a problem following my own advice when it comes to this. My work can be, at times, dark and... well, twisted. I guess you'll see what I mean if you ever read it! But the point is, if you feel your story should take a certain direction and it's something a wholesome person wouldn't write, go for it. Wholesome is overrated anyway. Besides, I think that, deep down, everyone craves some daring.

Finding that idea is perhaps as hard as finding the perfect mate. (Sounds like we're apes now. Oh, well.) Which is why we need to take chances and be picky and be practical and passionate. Yes, I am aware that the list is full of oxymorons. But once you come across that idea - for me, at least- everything clicks and it all comes together. The struggle becomes worth it.

Now to throw myself into the struggle... Good luck with your guys' own writing!