Monday, April 4, 2011

The Problem With My WIP

The biggest problem with my work in progress is that I have none.  This is mostly due to the fact that I don't have an idea for one.  Needless to say, this makes writing a novel difficult.

It's not that I don't have ideas.  I don't have ideas that are (a) good and/or (b) are something I want to write about.  I had one fairly decent idea for a political novel, but it was very time-critical and is now, as we used to say at the Very Important Organization, "OBE" -- meaning, "overtaken by events."

It's bad enough that I have trouble coming up with the plot for an idea; if I don't have an idea to start with, I've got nowhere to go.

Where do all you smartypants writers who are always working on your WIPs come up with your ideas?


  1. I start with an image in my mind, current or past, of an event or a place or a thing and I start writing. Honest to God, the last time I thought I was writing a short story, but one thing led to another. It wrote itself to the tune of 108,000 words. But that's just me. I'm not one who can outline a plot ahead of time because I have no idea what these characters are going to do.

  2. I'm not sure where my ideas come from...but I've always been dreamy that way. If I have a theme, or a thought, or a scene, or even a character, then I think about that until something more concrete solidifies. Then I let that sit and marinate until I can work some drama in, and a plot usually follows.

  3. Mine generally come from something I've seen or heard. And then I run way beyond the initial meaning and make it into a story. Not too much has just popped into my head and become a story.

  4. Novels don't explode out of writer's heads like Venus from Zeus.
    And they don't even creep out unless a writer does one very important thing.
    Write. Even when it's not making sense, hanging together or working the way you want it to, you write. And you write and you write.
    No excuses. Not a single one will keep you from writing if you're a writer.

  5. I get my best ideas while driving. I have a 2 hour commute and when I am on the road with my strong coffee and music, the sun just starting to tint the sky, I am full of ideas. I scrawl them on the notebook I keep in the passenger seat and develop/discard them later.

  6. Some of my best come from reading. I'll get to a point in some book where my idea of how it should have gone is much better than what they did (at least in my opinion) and before you know it I've got an entire book that revolves around that idea and usually has nothing to do with what I was originally reading. Horror books have led me to write short romantic comedies and fantasy books have pushed me into writing historical fiction. That's just how my head works I guess.

    Don't try to push it. If you can't think up what you want to write then maybe you should take a step back or even a bit of time off and try another hobby/profession for awhile.

  7. This isn't my area of expertise since all I write about is myself (memoir and personal essays), but if I needed ideas, I would comb newspaper and magazine articles. I would go to the bookstore and just sit in the magazine section for a couple of hours and read headlines about weird things happening around the world until something struck a chord with me. That's just me.