I have a great idea for a novel! How about you write it for me and we can split the profit!
I recently stumbled across this statement by Rick Riordan (best known for his Tres Navarre Mysteries)
(via Sugarpromises on Tumblr)
See, ideas are the easy part. And while some people think they’ll just whip out a novel themself one of these days (see “How Not to Talk to a Writer #1), another subset of people come up with the strange hope that you’ll do all that pesky writing stuff for them…
But I don’t know of a single writer who’s out of ideas. Most of us have so many ideas that we’ll never get them all written. (Have you ever noted that people like Tom Clancy and James Patterson work with other writers sometimes? That’s because they spin out so many ideas that they’re comfortable farming some of them out to the bush league.)
Personally, I have 18 novel outlines or starts on my computer right now. That’s to say nothing of the ideas that I haven’t done that for.
Say it with me:
Writing is the HARD part.
I don’t mean writing a scene. Or a handful of scenes. What I’m talking about is a complete narrative that runs from one end to the other, beginning of the story to the end. And like Riordan says above, it’s easy to give up in the middle when it gets hard.
I spent a lot of the last few months trying to figure out how I was to get a character out of a prison. Well, in a way that would make sense. And not have him be too passive in the whole equation, or have his wife be too passive, either. I’m finally happy with my solution, but it took a long time to work it out.
It’s hard to steam through those parts that you can’t quite figure out. It’s hard work, even if it doesn’t look like it to an outside observer.
…and no self-respecting writer is going to do that for someone else.*
*I will say that if James Patterson approached me and asked me to ghostwrite for him, I might consider it (because $$$$). I am, however, far more likely just to recommend he talk to one of my friends who is more experienced with tie-in work.