Please Don’t Give Me Your Ideas

A couple of things before I start properly. First of all, I’m going to start making some changes around here. Probably not in terms of content (unless there are any specific complaints or requests), but in terms of improving the user experience. As of yesterday (note: the 14th), I own the domain name to this place (yay me!) which I guess means I’ve planted my flag firmly in this little corner of the internet. I’m looking towards improving the site in various meaningful ways. A proper banner, rather than something I threw together in MS Paint, perhaps a better layout, and maybe more pages aside from the blog. We’ll see. Drop on down to the comments if you have any ideas, I’m open to suggestions for now (despite the title of this post, but I’ll get to that).

The other big news is that I’ve just hit a milestone. Literally just now. As in, minutes before sitting down to write this (note: I wrote this bit yesterday, on the 15th). I hit 60,000 words in my novel (again, yay me!). A lot of procrastinating went on post NaNo, but I’m finally back on track. I’m not hitting the 2000 words a day I was managing back in November, but I’ve done at least 500 words daily for the last week and a half, and I don’t see myself stopping any time soon. My hope is to cap this draft somewhere between 80,000 and 90,000 words, but given where I am in the plan, I can see it going up and maybe over the 100,000 mark. Still, that’s something to worry about during the editing process. For now, I’m just happy to be writing again.

Now, onto business. This is something of a sequel post. A short while ago I made this post about first draft stories. It’s not one I’m particularly happy with, partly because I wrote it at a height of negative emotion, and partly because it doesn’t convey the point I really wanted to make. Rather than delete the post and pretend it didn’t happen, I’ll just say that I am happy to read and critique work (provided I have the time), but it would be preferable if it’s not in a first draft. I’m 60,000 words deep on a first draft, and I wouldn’t dream of sharing it in its current state. I’ll give it at least one, if not two or three goes over before I start looking for outside opinions.

But yes, the point I was making was that the last post I did was a little “get the fuck away from my dustbins you little shits!”:

And I don’t want to be so curmudgeonly. So, with this post I’m going to take the time to explain my point in a manner that’s more civil than the last.

Please don’t give me your ideas. Put simply, I don’t want them. I have no use for them. Do you want to discuss an idea? Are you looking to develop an idea but want initial feedback? Are you having a problem with part of your idea, and you’re looking for someone to talk it through with so you can unstick yourself from where you’re stuck? That’s all fine. But please, please don’t give me your ideas.

You know how everyone at Christmas goes “oh, he’s a writer, I should get him a notepad to keep his ideas in”? I’ve got several. Most of them are full. Hundreds upon hundreds of pages of hastily scribbled ideas. Everything from a full page summary to a note scribbled in a margin. On a slow day, I get at least one new idea. They all get written down, even the shitty ones. I’ve never counted, but I likely have ideas numbering in the thousands, all clamouring to get used. And 99% of them never will.

After I’ve written down the ideas, I’ll come back to them after six months to a year. If they don’t immediately excite me, I throw them away. This is where the majority of the ideas die on the spot. The few that get through are developed or merged until I’m happy with the one I have left. Then I’ll develop an outline for a month or two, populate it with characters, invent some history for the world if I deem it necessary. A lot of work goes into that idea before I’m ready to use it.

When I say that I don’t want anyone else’s ideas, I don’t mean to be offensive. I just have more of my own than I will ever use, and I’d prefer to see people use their own rather than throwing them at someone else.

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