Deb Kim Says I Like Them Big… And Stupid. OK, Not Really.

We’re talking about big ideas. So I seized the opportunity to pull the video on an old and very funny song. I do like big men. Stupid not so much!

But we’re talking about ideas here – publishing ideas. I tend to agree that the a big idea is the key to a successful or at least a sellable book. If you’re going the traditional route, you first have to sign with an agent. That usually requires a completed manuscript for fiction or a completed non-fic proposal for review. Once you’ve signed with the agent of your dreams (not the one where you wake up in a cold sweat) (s)he has to sell that MS or proposal to an editor. That requires a big idea too.

Let me clarify big. It can be a new twist on the mundane and still be big.  I think the correct phrase is an “ah ha tell me more” idea. Let’s call it an “ahtmm” idea. Hang with me here, pretend you speak Ahtmmese. Some call it an elevator pitch. I call it the “nugget.” Think of your favorite books and you can discern the Ahtmm yourself.  Here, try:

Mistreated orphan learns he is a wizard.
Two bored children watch  a cat destroy their house.
 A woman sees her husband descend into madness in an empty haunted hotel.
A married scientist uses an untested birth control during an affair and his lover dies.

Do you want to know more? The first three you likely can figure out. The fourth was a concept for a book someone I knew wrote twenty years ago but never pursued. I thought the premise was genius. And I do want to know more!

Any of you dear readers could take those big ideas and turn them into completely different books – that’s why I don’t covet my ideas. I share and get feedback from fellow writers and friends.  Here’s one I’m working on now:

A selfish teenage girl has to choose between saving her Mom’s soul or caring for her severely disabled brother for the rest of her life.

Do you want to know more?

8 Replies to “Deb Kim Says I Like Them Big… And Stupid. OK, Not Really.”

  1. I think a lot about the maxim, “There are no new ideas.” This is kind of proof of that – you’re right, if Stephen King wrote The Cat in the Hat, it would be the same core idea, but delivered very differently.

    I also think this ties into Elise’s post from Monday about different versions of the same idea.

    I do want to know more! Finish it, finish it!

  2. The guy who wrote #4 is a putz, that’s why. A writer in his own mind. Not enough “book doctors” in the world to fix it, blah, blah. He dumped me as a friend after I signed with my agent and compared his sex life to that of Tom Brady’s and Brady won. He’d sue the pants off me. 🙂 Tawna, glad I could jog your memory.

  3. LOL! Greatest song ever!

    You’re so right — give ten different writers the same premise, and you’ll wind up with ten very different books. Execution is everything.

      1. That would be fun! The wackier the premise, the better. *grin* (Okay, I suppose the premise itself doesn’t HAVE to be wacky. That should be for the individual writers to decide.)

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