Monday, September 13, 2010

A Book or Not a Book

I came across this post at It's about how you know if your idea is a book - or instead, if it's an essay or a magazine article or a short story.

Do any of you struggle with this?

I have a lot of ideas. I mean, a LOT. And yet, I don't know if any of them can be flushed out enough to cover 200-300 pages. Or, whether they SHOULD be.

The post talks about the idea of a universal theme. Is it relatable? Is it larger than just one person's experience?

Because when you're writing a novel, a cigar can't just be a cigar. It also needs to contain the meaning of life.

Okay, not really, but you get my drift.

It's also crucial to have passion for your idea, and obviously for writing. Because you're going to be spending much of your day if not writing, then in thinking about writing. Not everyone can pop books faster than you can say "Stephanie Meyer." So to be in it for the long haul, make sure it's a labor of love.

And you must really, really have the need to tell this story - and not because you want to be, well, the next Stephanie Meyer when it comes to commercial success. How can you be authentic otherwise?

So I'm wondering what YOUR moment was, when you realized your idea was, in fact, right for a book.


  1. I think my idea is a book/one woman show, but I am breaking it up into mini-blogs and merging them later. It's less daunting that way.

    I think when I saw myself onstage- I knew it was more than a short story.

  2. wow. Well...I mull things around in my head for awhile before anything makes it to paper. I knew my book was going to be novel length before I started. It was going to span at least a year or so, take on several scenes, have a "now" and "then" storyline....I guess I just know from short story experience that I had too much content for one story...and I didn't want to leave anything out!

  3. I think if anybody can flush out an idea into 200-300 pages it would be you, and it would be pure prose, and delicious!

  4. ten notebooks later, and the stories still not done...

  5. This is EXACTLY why I don't start a book. Every time I think about it, "What's the point?" pops in my head. Not like a desperate, wrist slitting kind of a thought, but more like, "Who cares about what I have to say?"

    Ok, that still sounds pathetic...but I am happy to see I’m not the only one who thinks about this!


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