When I was a little girl, I was full of ideas. Whether it was to have a money making lemonade stand, or to use my Easy Bake Oven to create a world famous bakery, I was always in search of the big idea. When I was ten, I had the idea to make it into the Guinness Book of World Records by blowing the biggest bubble with a wad of Bazooka Bubble Gum. The ideas were always endless.
One day, I was no longer a little girl and the ideas had disappeared. When I sat down to write a new story, I had nothing. Maybe what I had heard was true, ideas are like gold, they’re rare. That’s when I became obsessed with the perfect idea and the writing stopped.
Several weeks later brought the start of spring. I was still obsessing when it dawned on me; I was associating an idea with a plot. Ideas are not a plot; they are simply a seedling, planted in a garden, waiting to burst to life. The idea is only the beginning. It could be a character or place, it didn’t have to be a fully plotted story, not at this point.
Once I realized I could take any idea and ask myself a few questions, the words began to fly onto the page. Here are some of the questions I asked:
• What’s the problem?
• Who has the most to lose with this problem?
• Why is he or she so desperate about resolving the problem?
• How can I make this problem even worse for my character?
After I wrote down the answers to these questions, more questions developed and the story took off. All of these questions and answers began with one little idea. That’s the beauty of writing, there’s no such thing as a little idea or too big of a problem.
Do you think ideas are rare or are they a dime a dozen?