Not an Idea

I’ve come to the point where I am not sure what to write in this blog space. I don’t want to force myself to write a blog post when there is no idea behind it, but that’s kind of what I am doing right now. I’m writing about the idea of not having an idea. I want this blog to be meaningful, and though it will never be as meaningful to me as my story writing, I still want it to mean something. This blog post is about that. Are you lost yet? I might be.

As a writer, I tend to have a lot of ideas for stories I want to write. Many of them mill about in my head for far too long as I struggle to come up with the right words or even enough time to get them down. It’s a process of attrition, and probably not a good one. Some ideas start with a character, an event, or even just a concept. It’s the concepts that are the worst for me. They feel wide with promise, but really they are just wide with premise.

To give you an example, here’s a short story that I might throw together sometime. I don’t really care about it that much because it came from a thought exercise, which is why I feel okay writing about it here before I’ve actually written it (if I actually write it). I started with two words, what if, and pushed forward with the first thought that came into my mind. That full thought was, what if worms were sentient?

Not a great premise to begin with, but this is where many of my seemingly great ideas get stuck. I need to have something happen. I could write pages of worms talking and exploring. Hell, I could dwell on dirt for at least 1,000 words, but if that’s all it is, then they might as well be human, and at that point, my premise evaporates.

I did get passed the premise on this one. In fact, I’m far enough along that I might actually put words to paper outside of this blog post, but we’ll see. Here was my thought process in a gorgeous bulleted list.

  • What’s the setting. Where do worms live? Everywhere I suppose, but a graveyard would be an interesting starting point.
  • Okay, maybe a graveyard would be like a kingdom to a worm.
  • What about a fresh grave?
  • Putting aside all the nasty chemicals in a freshly buried body, a corpse could be a big prize for an enterprising worm.
  • That’s the story, a family of worms trying to be the first to get through a fresh coffin and claim the prize.
  • But that’s not interesting enough on its own. What if the coffin was symbolic, buried empty for someone lost.
  • Now we have a real story, with an obstacle and an interesting place to go with it.

This idea may end up in the junk drawer, and that’s fine, but every premise deserves at least one story concept to test its marrow. I think that’s all I got for now. Pretty long blog for one written without an idea. You’ll hear more from me soon… maybe.

Currently reading/listening to:
The Magician by Raymond E. Feist
A Heritage of Stars by Clifford D. Simak
Revival by Stephen King
Galaxy Outlaws: The Complete Black Ocean Mobius Missions by J. S. Morin


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