How do you decide which story bouncing around your head is the one to write?
If you're anything like me, you most likely have a million different ideas swirling around in your head. So, how do you decide which one(s) you want to write about?
This is currently my biggest headache. I cannot tell you how my times I have started a book only to put it down after writing two or three chapters. I get completely lost in doubts. I start wondering if the story has been done to the point of overkill already, if it's too simple or not enough, if the protagonist is not relatable, but mostly I wonder if the reason I'm lacking a commitment to the story is because I'm just not head over heals in love with the idea.
My main area of focus is paranormal romance because I'm a sucker for a great love story and I love fantasy. I know that vampires have been done to the max at this point but I've had a love affair with them since childhood. With that said, I do want to write a paranormal romance surrounding one but I can't seem to decide what I want the story to be about outside of the romance. I've been trying to think outside of the box and to try to put a fresh twist to it but it's hard when almost everything has already been done.
What are your thoughts on how to take a frequently used idea and make it fresh and new?
Hi Leacy--welcome to Book Country!
You bring up such an important point. I am curious to hear what others think about it.
Particularly in terms of vampires. Vampires have held sway over imaginations for centuries, but since the "vampire boom" in publishing starting in 2009 it seems that people's interest has become a little saturated. However, I still see writers writing about vampires in new ways--member Alys Arden, for example, is writing a series of YA books that have some of those paranormal elements, but for me the book is a far cry from Twilight--vampires are only one element of a really incredible otherwordly storyline.
It might be interesting for you to think about why vampires fascinated you BEFORE they were widely popular. For me, I am grossed out by the bloodsucking, and sometimes troubled by the violence in the stories, but I love the immortal part because I love historical stuff.
What are some ways to tell vampire stories in a new way?
Thank you for the reply. I joined this community because while I'm new to writing, I am intimately acquainted with storytelling as I've been an actress for the past 15 years and I want to put these story telling skills of mine to work.
I find fluff vampire writing like twilight to be cringe worthy (although, I'll admit I did read the books and see the movies ). For me the fascination with that series primarily focussed on Edward. I find the internal struggle of a character to be my favorite part of any story and he had a good amount of that. My problem with that series is that I felt that there was no real character arch for ANY of the characters. They didn't change at all through the series besides Bella turning into a vampire and having a baby.
I think the fascination with vampires besides the immortality part is that, they truely are damned and it's that romanized idea that draws women to them. They want to feel that they can bring them to the light and save them, change them. Their mystical abilities and tortured souls make for a breathtakingly deep and eternal connection, once their hearts are captured and that's what women want the most. To be the one that finally tamed the beast.
I like that idea as well. It's part of my fascination with them as well. I am with you on the bloodsucking part. Yuck! It will be interesting to see what others think as well.
Ahhhhhhhhhhh-- "to be the one that finally tamed the beast." Gotcha!!
Maybe the vampire in your story needs to be a REAL beast--not just broody and tortured but with a seriously messed up past. I'm imagining a locked up vampire who melts the heart of his female jailer . . . .
Usually one story will have a character with more...oomph. More pull. If not, I look at all the bright ideas and ask the protagonist of each to tell me why they need their story written NOW. Can they wait? If so, I look at the next one. If there's no character yet, then it's a blank idea--I may jot it down (or not, because I'm drawn to write about characters.) I also look at the problem the character comes with. Is it a problem I want to write about? Does it resonate with my own concerns? If there are four or five stories, each of which seems to have an interesting character whose problem also interests me...I'll write the opening paragraph for each one. When I find myself writing the fourth and fifth paragraph because I can't stop, I've found the right next story.
If you want to write a vampire story...do it. But think about the vampire--and what other characters are in the story--and make them interesting in themselves. What besides being a vampire interests you? When you imagine a vampire, you probably imagine something related to what you've read and seen on the screen...but also different. Find the difference, and use it.
Why not write a vamp/love story where that it's kinda like romeo and juliet where the humans and the vamps hate each other but the 2 want to be together... and the twist could be something like if the vamp (man or the woman) would turn the human (the man or the woman) into a vamp, the person would instantly die... so the only way they can be together is for him to become human... but in doing so, he has to kill his vampire-self... and it has tragic consequences...
take an existing idea and re-write it with your own spin... make it yours.. own it... be proud of it and love it!
When you're early on in the writing game, the best strategy is to write as much of what comes into your head as you can. You don't yet know--can't know, until you've written quite a few stories--which are "your" stories and which are, as you suspect some of yours are, pretty much taken from ideas that have been around and influencing you. The way to find out is to write them. Write the one you most want to write first. This is not a waste of time. This is part of learning your craft. Writers must create their own toolkit out of the raw materials of what they've read and experienced, and their own individual personality and way of dealing with what they've read and experienced.
You may decide halfway through that no, this isn't the one you want to write. That's OK. I worried a lot about the unfinished stories as I was creeping (it seemed) toward writing publishable work...but none of that time and effort was truly wasted. I learned about myself and my abilities--my talents and my blind spots and weak places--by writing the stories that came to me.
Write what you love. Write the stories you want to write. If you make them yours--if your voice comes through--then you're on the right track. It's too early to worry about what's marketable, what's been overdone, etc. until you've got the finished stories that are clearly your stories, in your voice. How long that takes I can't say. Some people hit their stride early; some, like me, are slower, but get to a good spot in the end. But if you concentrate on the work, and on writing what you care about and want to write, you're putting yourself on the right road for you.