Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Commercial IDEA KILLER or NURTURER? Which Are You?

I sat across the table from my writer friend Joe Konrath and said, “I’m going to put a disease-spreading monster aboard the Titanic to explain why Captain Edward Smith sent his ship to a two and half mile down grave in the North Atlantic in1912.”

“Fantastic hair-brained notion, man! Do it!”

“Came of research, asking questions, most notably, ‘Why’d Smith, with six messages coming over the marvelous new invention of the wireless warning of ice ahead, go to bed with these notices in his pocket?’“

To answer the question, a seasoned novelist, knows which answers need be discarded as a bore and a snore such as when Konrath excuses Capt. Smith with, “Perhaps the poor man wasn’t feeling well, just had a bad day… wasn’t thinking straight.”

“—Or he was bribed to do so by the competitor Cunard Ship Line always sabotaging The White Star Line.”

“—Or since it was his last voyage, the poor man became depressed about retirement.”

Discarded all these ideas for putting a monster on board—the most outrageous and the most dramatic or commercial answer to the brainstorming session.

Below is a list of possible replies Joe might’ve made had he been an IDEA KILLER:

10. Get a Committee to look into it...

9. Gotta be kidding...

8. You're already overextended.

7. You'll never find time!

6. You can't REALLY mean that...

5. Who's gonna believe it?

4. It’s stupid, silly, foolish, illogical, slanderous.

3. Tried it before; it doesn't work.

2. 'They' will never buy it, man!

1. Ahhh…doesn't GRAB me.

No idea is born in perfection. Give an idea a home; give it a chance to grow. Live with it for awhile before you turn it out. What was once just an inkling of an idea for me is now over 80,000 words of 'novel retelling' of the Legend.

Robert W. Walker
author Children of Salem & 50 other titles

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