Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Ideas and the New Baby Smell

All babies are awesome. I'm not talking about cuteness or that new baby smell or how they seem to be lit up from the inside. Even if you don't like babies and would rather chew off your own arm than change a diaper, you'll concede that babies are awesome. Because babies are possibilities. They aren't the seven year old that slams the door on your face when you ask to have a play date with their sister. They aren't the double crossing ex-friend who told everyone about your embarrassing rash. They aren't the sociopath budding into a serial killer. They're just babies, the beginning of everything.

Ideas are like babies. There are no bad ideas (ok, yes there are, or seem to be, but even bad ideas, in the right context and execution can be good ideas, like prisoners reenacting the Thriller video - which, for me, never gets old.) In fact, ideas are so awesome that it's hard to know what idea is going to blossom into a good thing.

When I went to my first conference I was freaked out. Everyone I talked to had a good idea. I definitely gravitated more towards some than others, but they all sounded good, plausible, real. All of them would make, at the very least, decent books. How could I compete when everyone drinking at the hotel bar was sitting on an awesome idea? People told me my idea was awesome too, but I was like "So what? That's like saying the earth is round!"

I have no trouble coming up with ideas. Do you? All my trouble is centered around getting the idea out and making sense. Then revising the ever living sunshine out of it. Another problem I have is falling in love with an idea that is beautiful and has a nice singing voice but is wrong for me. I usually find out we aren't meant to be after I've written three or four chapters. I think what's most addictive about ideas is their limitless potential. It can make me giddy and, sometimes, unwilling to put the work in on the other thing, the ms. that is no longer an idea but a lumbering, sometimes misbehaving, reality.

So, to celebrate the IDEA in all it's glory, here's a link to the Black List, "An annual list of Hollywood's most liked unproduced screenplays." There are some great ones here. It's nice to see that there's a screenplay for Kody Keplinger's DUFF floating around out there - hope that gets made. But my favorite idea is Maggie. Here's the blurb from the Black List:

As a “walking dead” virus spreads across the country, 
a farm family helps their eldest daughter come to 
terms with her infection as she slowly becomes a 
flesh-eating zombie. 

What's your favorite unrealized idea, be it one of your own, one on this list, or one you heard of?


  1. I sometimes struggle to come up with an idea. I wish I could come up with a good short story idea. All of mine end up being way too long or something I don't want to write.

  2. Oh, I love the topic of ideas. But there is great irony hee. I have had a couple really blockbuster HUGE ideas, but the done product never quite lives up... yet a more vague hard to describe idea can leave me really satisfied. Yet the double whopper of irony is that SELLING the not quite executed great idea is a lot easier than selling the vague well done thing. I try the ideas, regardless. I can think of the worst execution of what SHOULD have been a great movie because the idea was so good--Asylum. Unwatchable it was done so badly, but MAN, it should have been great.

  3. good comparison of babies and ideas.

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