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#TheWriteWay Blog Post 12 - Bad Ideas Vs. Good Ideas

Hello everyone, and welcome to the final #TheWriteWay post for November 2020!


I apologize for being away from this blog for so long. What have I been up to?


-Finishing my YA Victorian mystery, The Red Handkerchief

-Writing picture books (which are addictive and fun!)

-Planning some exciting new projects with my agent


Suffice to say, I've been busy! But I returned for the last blog post. Today, I'll be talking about how I differentiate good ideas from bad ideas.


Let's get started, shall we? These are the questions I ask myself when flirting with a new idea:


Will I Like It In A Month?

This is a big one. Every idea comes to you looking shiny, fun, and new, but only time can tell if it's good. Will I still enjoy it in a month, when my perspective is more objective?


Do I Feel Compelled To Write It?

A bad idea will be a passing thought -- more of a daydream. A good idea will call out to you -- demand you pay attention to it. My heart has to be in it or I can't write it. What does this story mean to me? Do I relate to it in some way?


Does It Have Legs?

What I mean by this is, can it stand on its own? Does it have a strong plot, strong characters, and sub-plot possibilities? Most novels are 80k words. I want to ensure I have a strong hook that can last that long or I'm just setting myself up for failure.


Can I Visualize It?

I'm a visual writer -- which means I have to see the story in my head before I start writing. Is it easy to visualize the characters, world, and problems, or is it difficult? If it's hard, that might be a sign that it's a bad idea or not ready to be written yet.


Would I Read This?

This is something I ask myself before I write any project. If I walked into the bookstore, would the plot summary on the back be enough for me to buy it? Is it engaging and exciting?


Can I Explain It Simply?

This is a big one. Albert Einstein once said, "If you can't explain something simply, you don't understand it." Go ahead -- try writing a log line, a one-sentence description, about your story idea. What does it all boil down to? Friendship? Love? Hope? What is the main plot? If you can't explain the story easily, it might not be a good idea.


Remember -- not every idea has to be "original" to be good. As Mark Twain said, "every idea is secondhand". It's impossible to be original -- every story has been done before. But if the story grabs you and you think you have enough fodder to write it, don't be afraid!


How do you decide if an idea is good or bad before writing? I'd love to know, #WritingCommunity!


Have a great Monday and happy (almost) December!


Thanks for reading,


Dana



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