Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The right word

"To get the right word in the right place is a rare achievement. To condense the diffused light of a page of thought into the luminous flash of a single sentence, is worthy to rank as a prize composition just by itself. Anybody can have ideas---the difficulty is to express them without squandering a quire of paper on an idea that ought to be reduced to one glittering paragraph." --Mark Twain

People seem fascinated by where writers get their ideas. The idea is the easy part. A good idea is a little harder. (Good idea = marketable, interesting, and sufficient to sustain a whole book worth of conflict.) But still... having an idea is not a problem. Trust me.

Putting it perfectly on the page... thats the tough part.

4 comments:

  1. How do you deal with an idea that might have been done before? I feel like my stories are morphing into re-tellings of some of my favorite books >.<

    ReplyDelete
  2. Well, there's nothing wrong with taking something beloved and putting your own spin on it. It's the twist that's important. The Maggie Quinn novels came out of my love of Buffy and Nancy Drew. I rolled them together to get something different. Same with The Splendor Falls. It's a very basic "Gothic Romance" plot, but the characters and mythology make it my own.

    There's a rumor/quote that goes around that there are only 8 or 10 or 20 actual plots in the world. It's just how you twist and recombine them and add your own voice that make it different.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Delurking to say what a wonderful quote that is!

    I think putting it on the page can be the best part, too. It's terrible when what's in my head and what's on the page don't match up, and I just can't get my vision for the story down. But sometimes, my vision for the story is transformed into something infinitely better through the struggle to set it to the page. The characters act on their own, events take shape I never would have predicted. So that's the best part. :-) Even though it's the toughest, too.

    ReplyDelete
  4. G.B. -- So glad you delurked. :-D It IS a great quote, isn't it? And I agree utterly with what you said. There's a particular magic that happens when you DO finally getting right.

    And just because it's hard doesn't mean it's not wonderful. When I go to so schools, and the kids ask me if it's hard work to write a book, I ask them if it's hard work to play football, or do gymnastic. No matter how many bruises you get, or how bad your muscles ache, you do it because you love it!

    ReplyDelete