Ideas and Execution

Do you have an original idea? Well, I hate to break it to you, but you’re probably wrong.

We all have ideas. Probably everyone you know has an idea for a story. Most people have a little ‘what if…?’ in their heads. But if that stays in their head it remains nothing more than an idea. And an idea is not a book.

Whether you want to write fiction or non-fiction you have to develop and grow that idea into something that stands alone. Something that answers the question ‘what if…?’

You should also remember that ideas are not unique and are not, in themselves, special. It is all in the execution. What comes from that seed can take a single idea in a hundred different directions. Think for a moment about the classic SF trope of time-travel. What if…time travel were possible. We could end up with The Terminator, or Back to the Future, or Outlander, or Primer, or Flight of the Navigator, or The Time Traveller’s Wife, or twenty different episodes of Star Trek.

Every idea you can think of has probably been done. When you take all the example above and distil them you end up with lots of time-travel movies, but what sets them apart is their execution, their style, their characters, their situations and so on.

This isn’t meant to be discouraging. Quite the opposite. If every idea has been done, one way or another, then you don’t need to worry about being original. It’s probably not going to happen anyway. Eventually your own work might be distilled into something that looks like a dozen other works, but it will be remembered for the unique quality you can bring to it.

That goes for non-fiction too, of course.

Or did you think this is the only website that exists to help writers?

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