Thursday, May 19, 2011


A friend of mine recently completed his novel. It's not what you think exactly. He conceived of the idea and helped shape it, I guess, but hired someone to write it for him. He's put both his and her name on the MS coverpage though.

So here's my question for all of you:

Which is harder--writing the story or coming up with the idea?

My friend will tell you it's coming up with the idea. My sister may agree with him. She went to Vasar and majored in writing and was good at it but stopped. She claims it's because she doesn't have any good ideas.

Honestly, I have to say this: Don't a million people out there have ideas? Isn't that why everyone and their mom wants to write a children's book? Maybe I'm saying this because I am a writer. I don't know.

Weigh in please. I'd love some opinions on this!


Darrell B. Nelson said...

For me the ideas are easy, they come to me much faster than I can write them down. It's the butt in seat time that is the hardest.

Jean Wogaman said...

I'm with Project Savior. The ideas come quickly and easily. Translating them into books that readers will savor takes a whole lot more time and concentration. Exponentially more.

Rosanne Parry said...

I've never had a one idea novel or a novel for which my first idea carried through to the end. Finding a workable combination of ideas that can grow into a fully realized novel is hard work and not especially quick or easy. And then on top of that, you have to write the combination of ideas in a graceful and unique way which is both time consuming and intellectually demanding.

So I'd say neither is easy. If someone gave a rich and detailed and fully realized idea for a story that did not require foundational rethinking, then they've done half the work, but I'd be surprised if someone could communicate their fully realized story idea without actually writing the whole story themselves.

alvinaling said...

I'd have to agree with Roseanne and say that neither is easy. Well, I think it's easy to have an idea, but difficult to have a GOOD, unique idea. I think most people's idea for that first picture book is something like, "I know, I'll write a picture book about my dog/cat/child" etc., and the idea itself isn't original.

If the idea is a little generic, then the execution has to be unique/superb. And that's really difficult.