Ideas.I have more ideas than I know what to do with. Some of them are probably lousy but on the whole, I'm sure I could do something with any one of them. I pick up novels and read the blurbs on the back, and most sound like movies I've seen. Are authors reading movie guides and getting ideas from them? Sure. Why not? There's no such thing as an original idea.
Where do they come from?
How do we develop them?
How do we know if they're really any good?
Let's take a look at my 1993 Movies on TV and Videocassette guide. Yeah, I've confessed to being a packrat and I wasn't lying. :)
Here's a blurb. It's our job to grow it into a book.
A horse breeder is determined to raise three sons and achieve financial success at the same time.How many times have we read (or watched) this scenario? The name of that movie is Danger Down Under (MTV 1988) starring Lee Majors, Rebecca Gilling, and Martin Vaughan. My guide states: The Australian scenery is the best part of this humdrum telepic. (Poor Lee. He must have been desperate.)
Why don't we change horse breeder to attorney or veterinarian or landscaper. Now give him three little girls instead of boys. Men don't know much about little girls so we'd have ample opportunity for humor. And of course, this is where the heroine comes in. Who could she be? A wealthy heiress who's grounds he landscapes? A woman who's show dog is ill if he's the vet or she could flat run him off the highway if he's the attorney. Maybe she could be a nanny or a pediatrician. The most difficult part of writing for me is developing conflict, so I won't attempt that here. :)
Let's go back to the movie guide.
A terminally ill mom decides to find a woman who will be a good mother to her children and a good wife to her husband.This has been done a number of times on the big screen. How about in a book? Turn it around and use a terminally ill dad who wants to leave his family in the right hands. By the way, this comes from Who Will Love My Children? (MTV 1983) starring Ann-Margret.
Dance hall girl with a past tries to prove she really loves a temperamental musician.This movie is called Dancers in the Dark (1932) starring Miriam Hopkins and Jack Oakie. To make it ours, what if we say . . . A temperamental musician who left his bride at the altar returns home. Now he has to prove his love. Can jilted bride ever trust him? Should she? Will he leave her again to chase his dream?
The point is we should never be without an idea. And, with the millions of books hitting the stands every day, who cares if the idea is a good one. Write it. If we know our craft, I think our voice and our storytelling skills can make a mediocre idea a winner.
Of course, I do have a way of simplifying things, but why make life difficult?
Now grab that Movie Guide and start looking for a book to write.