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All Things Writing & Publishing > Inspiration vs. Perspiration

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message 1: by Matthew (last edited May 16, 2017 11:23PM) (new)

Matthew Williams (houseofwilliams) My boss (and mentor when it comes to all things promotional and media-related) once told me not to worry about having an idea stolen from time to time or preempted by someone with the same idea. Ideas, he said, will come all the time and you'll always have plenty of new ones.

As I've come to understand this logic, the real worry is putting a ton of work into something, only to find out that someone's already done it, or that its no longer relevant, or that you no longer think anyone will want to read it.

It kind of raises the whole point about idea and execution, doesn't it? What matters more? An idea, or the work needed to bring it to fruition?

message 2: by Alex (last edited May 17, 2017 12:00AM) (new)

Alex (asato) Matthew wrote: "My boss (and mentor when it comes to all things promotional and media-related) once told me not to worry about having an idea stolen from time to time or preempted by someone with the same idea. Id..."

in the 20th and 21st centuries, authors as artists haven't been under as much pressure as businesses to produce and improve, especially since the advent of the Internet. but now authors as economic producers--if that's what one aims to do; that is, to make a living on creating stories--then just as many companies have to continuously improve in terms of both innovation and execution, so do authors in order to be successful in the ever-increasingly competitive marketplace, to compete with more new authors in a global arena.

in software, the agile process has taken hold. the basic idea is to build, in 2-4 week increments, a working software product to show to potential customers. at the end of each increment, the product should be able to be delivered to the customer with a certain small number of features. furthermore, the agile process incorporates the concept of continuous improvement in that it usually takes practice to perform to a certain level. perhaps, there's something for authors to learn from this.

message 3: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 14900 comments My impression in context of writing - execution, delivery matter more. Well written recycled idea, be it some romance or mystery, might have better chances to connect with the audiences than something truly wild, but rough and less polished in delivery.

Sort of like in school - you have the same subject taught by different teachers: one will excite and connect, while another - act as a sleeping pill.
Another Chinese restaurant with an excellent chef and better than competitors in small detail might have better chances than some eccentric fusion, unable to come across to punters....

message 4: by Graeme (new)

Graeme Rodaughan Ok - let's try this on.

I write approx 1 chapter every 4 weeks. So we agile on a chapter by chapter basis with a 4 week cycle.

My readers are my customers, so I get a website and bang up each chapter for the readers every month to get their feedback on the development of the product.

As I get feedback from the first chapter dribbling back in over the next month, I'm already drafting/writing chapter 2 while getting confused about the applicability of the feedback for chapter 1.

2nd month concludes, I put my second chapter up on the website, start processing updates on the first chapter based on "customer feedback". I find that my MC is the most hated character but would be much better as a shape-shifting dragon. I start re-writing chapter 1, while drafting/writing chapter 3 with the new angle built in.

New feedback arrives from chapter 2 readers, along with late feedback from chapter 1 readers. It turns out chapter two readers think that my number one villain and their apprentice should be lovers (but a little kinky - or a lot kinky depending on the feedback). I split the middle and set up a love/hate triangle between the Villain, their Apprentice and my Shifter Dragon MC.

Very late feedback on chapter 1 results in a quick turn-about on the MC who moves from shifter dragon to shifter centaur. I re-write chapters 2 & 3 with the MC as a shifter centaur in a love triangle.

Meanwhile I publish chapter 3 for the perusal of my loyal readers. I get a lot of feedback about the love triangle. There are two distinct groups. Team Villain and Team Apprentice. Equally split. No one likes the idea of the centaur and I shift the MC to female who is now a mermaid princess cursed by an evil, long dead, magician. I reverse the sex of both the Villain and the Apprentice and re-write chapters 1-3.

A complete chapter 4 a month late and put it up on the website.

New feedback comes in on chapter 1 stating how much they loved the shifter dragon. I add the shifter dragon as a tiny, but wisecracking pet, for the mermaid princess (while having nightmares about 'Mulan' and 'Pinocchio') The pet is a huge hit when I publish chapter 5, but feedback from chapter 4 indicates that everyone is glad that the mermaid princess doesn't have a silly sidekick.

Confused, I kill off the wisecracking tiny water dragon in chapter 6 where he bravely and suicidally pits his meager fighting prowess against the 'big bad' villain (who is secretly in love with the mermaid while two-timing the apprentice.)

I put chapter 6 up on the website, just as a pile of chapter 5 feedback arrives. The two teams (Villain/Apprentice) remain equally split, however there is a general consensus that the apprentice is not getting enough time on page and comes of as two dimensional and wooden. Also everyone hates the idea of killing of the pet dragon.

I re-write chapter 6 and make the fight between the pet dragon and the apprentice, where the apprentice in a moment of true love, self sacrifices themselves for the Villain while being defeated by the pet dragon - now beefed up and fire breathing with super martial arts skills.

Re-present chapter 6, and start drafting/writing chapter 7 - now that the pet dragon has demonstrated kick-ass combat skills they out shine the princess (effing) mermaid and become the new MC.

Go back and re-write chaps 1-6 to foreshadow the rise of "the great powers of the deeps" aka "Green Dragon," as the major story arc.

Re-present all chapters back up on the website for "customer feedback." Get a single email asking what happened to the shifter Centaur. Followed by a flood of mail re' what happened to the mermaid princess.

Re-write all chapters - make the 'big bad' villain the 'supposedly dead' mage who cursed the (now 2x effing) mermaid princess, and who secretly hates/loves (or loves/hates) her. The mage turns out to be her father (in a big reveal at the end of chapter 8) setting up for the finale (.eeeww - that's nasty - turns out the love was of the parental sort for a wayward child - and nothing more). The Apprentice comes to the fore but proves to be a complete CAD (now having nightmares of 'Frozen').

Draft/Write chapter 9, resolve it all, the mermaid princess finally listens to the wise advice of her pet dragon, avoids the overtures of the pratish apprentice and is granted a kingdom by her father who abdicates in her favour.

Put final chapter on website. Get an email wondering what ever happened to the shifter Dragon as MC.

Toss hands in air....

message 5: by Tim (new)

Tim Rees | 732 comments Haha, Graeme. You're asking for trouble. I like the old saying, "Too many cooks spoil the broth."

Everyone is going to have a different opinion. I remember a couple of indie author platforms in the past, where writers, mainly the younger ones, would post a chapter and request feedback and they would be deluged. The chances are very few of those authors will have completed a book because they were so concerned with others opinions.

No one sees a page of my books until I've finished. I write for myself first and foremost, then I redraft with my focus fully on making the story as entertaining as possible and cut a lot of stuff where I can see the author's (my) voice is drowning out the characters.

For me it's a confidence thing. Once I'm fully confident in the novel I press the publish button.

As for concerning myself whether a story has been done before? What's that about? Just look at the western genre, that's the same stories retold a thousand times. Same as the current vogue of zombies running about wanting to eat people... :D

message 6: by Graeme (new)

Graeme Rodaughan @Tim. Nailed it.

message 7: by Alex (last edited May 20, 2017 02:54PM) (new)

Alex (asato) Graeme Rodaughan wrote: "Ok - let's try this on.

I write approx 1 chapter every 4 weeks. So we agile on a chapter by chapter basis with a 4 week cycle.

My readers are my customers, so I get a website and bang up each cha..."

Sorry, i should've pointed to the agile manifesto first:

lack of a plan is one of the issues in agile software development.

you should have a plan and agile doesn't preclude that; you have a plan but don't stick to it without regard to customer feedback. there is a stage before sending a feature to customers and that stage is called elaboration wherein the team develops proof of concepts (POCs).

therefore, instead of sending chapters, for the first iteration, i might propose to send out an outline that has been elaborated upon or even a blurb or work proposal (like what non-fiction writers do to query publishers) or even a synopsis to beta readers or editors or whoever your trustworthy and honest feedback people are. then, after that, you send out chapters (maybe more than 1 at a time (maybe half the story) and maybe in iterations longer than a month).

the aforementioned is based on a new and probably quite innovative work; however, what if you're writing in a current series or you're pretty experienced in a specific genre like "espionage thrillers" or "zombies" or "haunted houses", then you pretty much know how things go, so there's not much need for a beta step (or a very short one). and those writers can pump out a novel (~50k words) per month in a steady cadence.

and even if you have a new idea, as you become more experienced you run through the whole process faster.

message 8: by Graeme (new)

Graeme Rodaughan Hi Alex, I wasn't being serious.

Agile may well be applicable in some writing contexts.

message 9: by Tim (new)

Tim Rees | 732 comments Agile sounds like the literary equivalent of painting by numbers...

message 10: by Alex (new)

Alex (asato) Graeme Rodaughan wrote: "Hi Alex, I wasn't being serious.

Agile may well be applicable in some writing contexts."

lol. got it.

message 11: by Mehreen (new)

Mehreen Ahmed (mehreen2) | 1911 comments Bring the work to fruition for me.

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