Capturing the Idea
Daily, I struggle to find the balance of something that both I and others would enjoy. I think it would be impossible for anything I come up with to be of substance, and especially to be favored by other humans. I’m too weird.
But there’s nothing wrong with that. After all, you can’t please everybody.
The first step to hunting a good idea is to follow the tracks. And to do so, you have to take a look at what it is you want to write about. What do you care about? What do you enjoy? Notice, I keep bringing up you.
A good remedy for writer’s block, as well as aiding a creative plateau, is to take a look at your tastes. What are some of your favorite shows, novels, movies? It can be photographs, or aesthetics, or anything at all. Just so long as you know what you expect from a good piece. If we’re muddling around in an inkwell of disappointment, this may just be the tool we need to claw our way out.
Knowing just where you stand vs. your desires can take us a long way. Take notice of the things that speak to you and jot them down without shame. By no means am I saying to try and be someone else, who needs them? Just draw inspiration from the things that matter to you.
Another hard thing is deciding on characters, the vessels that carry the life of your story. You are the god of their world, whether they know it by meta or are blissfully unaware. For this, I usually reference archetypes that I find pleasant, which can also help in deciding the situation. Alternatively, you can reference your own life. Just try to be discreet. You don’t want that one person blowing up your phone in the middle of the night. How did they even get your number?
Not only should the flavor and characters speak to you, but the story itself. When you are drafting up the starting plot, don’t think of what your parents would want you to write, what your friends would want you to write, or even what your dog would want you to write. Think about what you want to write, what you feel you should be writing.
What matters more than anything, though, is the execution. For this, experiment. Reread stories you really enjoy. Recently, I’ve been reading long-winded fanfictions to get a sense of approach, but I’ve also reread the Crucible a million times, too. Be it prose or poetry, whatever works in the moment.
A winning idea is whatever you define it as. And if you start writing what you like, who you like, the way you like it, and you still don’t like it, that may be your bias talking. Ask yourself, if anyone else had written it, would you enjoy it?