Now that I’ve got your attention with a Doctor Who quote (name that episode!), I’ll get on with my point:
I thought of my second novel idea today. I’d never actually thought about writing a second book, to be honest. Namely because I haven’t even come close to finishing the first draft of the first book. But one day, hopefully, I’ll have publishers fighting over my manuscript (hopefully not asking me to make it into a trilogy. I mean, I love having books to look forward to, but why does everything have to be a series now? The last amazing YA stand alone book I read was probably Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver. The rest of them have, for the most part, been part of one series or another) and demanding to know when they can have my next one. So when that moment finally comes (fingers crossed) I am now prepared.
It struck me as odd, however, that thinking of a second novel idea was such a big deal to me. For most of my academic life, I have wanted to be a writer. And writers need to have ideas to write about, obviously. And until a few years ago, I didn’t even have my first novel idea. All I knew was that I wanted to see my name on the cover of a book in the window display of my local bookshop. It was actually while talking about one of my favourite series that I uncovered my first story. I’ve hashed out characters, at least one sub-plot, and done a little research into where/when the story would be set. But I haven’t thought about what would happen after I finished this manuscript. Because, as much as I admire Harper Lee for To Kill A Mockingbird, I don’t think I could retire from writing after only penning the one tome. Even one as successful as Lee’s masterpiece. So when my next idea bounced into my mind, begging to be noticed, I could have clicked my heels together for joy.
Because I agree with Hollywood about one thing, and one thing only: all the stories have been told. You can’t go to the cinemas now and expect to see an original screenplay. 99% of the movies released are based on novels, comic books, memoirs, or are sequels to one of the last remaining original ideas. Every single story is an echo of at least one of its predecessors. Actually, the last truly original movie that I saw was released in 2006. Seven years ago. Here’s the link to the trailer so that you can marvel in the genius that is Zach Heim:
Well, I retract my last statement slightly. I believe that Hollywood is out of ideas. Authors, however, are brimming with new worlds and characters and plot twists, just waiting to dazzle new audiences. Think about it. All of the highest grossing films have either been based on a book series, or a comic book. Hell, Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law’s Sherlock Holmes movies grossed one billion dollars between them. So, basically, authors are the last remaining untapped source of originality. And that is an awful lot of pressure.
You know what else steps up the pressure? Authors such as Neil Gaiman and Meg Cabot. Both of these authors seem to have an infinite imagination. I know that there are others (Stephen King, anyone?), but those two are among my favourites. The incredible Gaiman and Cabot have written many stand alone books. Which means that story ideas must just jump out at them at random times throughout their daily lives. I understand, appreciate, and deeply admire the imaginations that brought us series such as The Hunger Games and Mortal Instruments/Infernal Devices, but these authors have yet to branch out into new terrain. These people, especially Cassandra Clare of Infernal Devices and Mortal Instruments, know their universes down to the tiniest details. Clare has been able to create spin-offs (yes, plural. The Dark Artifices is set to be released sometime in 2015, and there are rumours of another spin-off, release date unknown) of her own work, she knows the world so well. But, because of the richness of their respective worlds (and kudos, ladies, I mean that), they have not yet had to expand their horizons into a whole new alternate reality. Gaiman and Cabot, on the other hand, do this regularly.
No pressure, guys.
So when I stumbled upon my next idea, I thought to myself: “Hey! Maybe I can do this too!”
- The Eccentric Habits Of 13 Classic Writers (thoughtcatalog.com)
- We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams (enlightenmetraining.wordpress.com)
- You may say I’m a dreamer . . . and you would be write (authorwilliamcrawford.wordpress.com)
- Oh,I remember when this was just a DREAM (thejorneyofdreamers.wordpress.com)