Have I shared my little affliction? I come up with far too many novel ideas. Really, I think of them all the time. The lovely author Carol Cassella calls it a disease, actually. (And she’d know—she’s also a doctor!) Just tonight, in fact, I was out at a restaurant with my family, and—bam—I had a whole cast of characters imagined, a plot (flimsy, but interesting) and a title sketched out in my head. It’s a strange disease to have, given the fact that I have very little time to explore them right now. With book #2, The Bungalow, coming out in April 2012, and book #3 halfway written, I have plenty on my plate, and yet … I can’t stop the ideas.
But, back to writing advice. I read or heard (can’t remember which or from whom!) a great little nugget of advice that resonated with me, so I’ve adopted it and made it my own. The idea is to never, ever sit down to write a story if you’re not completely in love with it. Yes, there’s somethign to be said about trying out a voice or a theme—fine and dandy. But if you don’t love your story, if it doesn’t haunt you and keep you up at night, then it won’t excite agents, editors, and most important of all, readers.
This is why a lot of my novel ideas never make it past the cocktail napkin stage. And that’s OK. I only want to pursue the ones that are truly worthy of my time … and yours!
Writers–have you ever given up on a story you were writing because you fell out of love with it? Readers–can you tell when an author isn’t in love with her story?