Can’t help it….


idea
idea (Photo credit: Tony Dowler)

I have found a problem, well, more of a trait I suppose.  The problem comes to light when I show my writing to other writers.

Now, I, like others I imagine, show my work to other writers simply because they are familiar with the process, the tears, and the sweat that is poured into each word that is used for the story in question.  The odds are they have read the same books I have about how to write a story.  So they know, they understand!

At least, that is the theory.

But the problem is that when you have a good idea that sparks imagination, inspiration, or that muse of ours we each have to point us in the right direction, inevitably, they/we start brainstorming on that idea.  If the person is a good enough friend or knows you well enough through your other work, well their ideas are along similar lines as the story has moved…most of the time that is.

Writer’s just can’t help it and the only way to stop doing it is to share these ideas.  If the story is good enough, we share many different ideas.  “Wouldn’t it be fun if….” or “You know, to make it more interesting you could…”

And the funny thing about it is that when we do it to another we think we’re just being helpful, but when they return the favor, we get annoyed!  Then we do it back to them.  It’s a cycle, much like everything else in the world.

Of course, we’re usually (I say usually because if it comes over the internet you have time to prepare, if it happens in person the initial reaction isn’t always pleasant) quite diplomatic about shooting it down.  You know, things like “Hmm, sounds interesting, let me think about it.”  Or, “Maybe for a second book if I decide to make it a series.”  The last one is my favorite one to use.

There is another issue of course.  That good idea, can, and most often will, spark a similar but different idea.  You know what I mean, we like one aspect and then run off with a totally different concept.  Like, for example, I have a story where the character went nuts.  She’s over several billion years old, she’s a monster, she has magic….after that many years of seeing everyone you love and everything you know disappear to make way for the human race then see them on the same destructive path as her own race…well, it’d make you crazy.  It’s character development, it’s good…it’s twisted and totally unlike anything I’ve ever written before.

But, show it to another writer, and suddenly mad monster lady is just a mortal man who is suffering from psychotic delusions of grandeur and this madness, well, it’s all in his head.

How nice for him, but uh, how did the sex change happen?

And to make it worse, is that I do it too!  A friend will show me their work, I like the concept but if we did it a little differently it could be even cooler, or greater, or better!  Pick a word and you can use it.  The point is, as annoying as I find it and no matter how many times it happens to me I have to say to myself while chuckling:

Writer’s just can’t help it!

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