It’s true. Ideas are everywhere. Some are better and more compelling than others. The trick, and the skill, I think, is deciding which one to spend six months to a year of your life on. That’s why outlines are so important. But I digress…
What I have done, right from the beginning when I began writing screenplays, was to pick an idea that I was passionate about. I had to be knowledgeable about the subject, and it had to entertain. It had to be a movie I would pay to go see. Being involved this way aided me when visualizing scenes and crafting the story. That energy comes out on the page, and on the screen.
Now that I have switched to novels, my thinking hasn’t changed much. My goal from the beginning is to write books that I’d enjoy reading. But I’m a bit more selective because a novel brings a much larger time commitment. I don’t have plans to attempt a series of novels at the moment, but if (or when) I do, I’ll need to be sure that I love the story and characters enough to endure the series’s creation.
I’m not going to bother writing books that I think other people will like, or try to predict trends. Books, as well as movies, can take years to get in front of people. By that time, trends and tastes have changed and suddenly what seemed hot is yesterday’s news. Maybe I’ll be lucky and start a trend, but the likely outcome is a proud body of work that I’d read myself.
To paraphrase a famous 1948 film*, there are eight million stories in the naked city. Find one that lights a fire under your ass and run with it.