Hunting for new book ideas can be tough especially if you don’t have a conveyor belt of shiny new ideas awaiting you. Often social media will make you feel like you are the only writer in the world who hasn’t got a GREAT idea to work on and that can cause you some creative suffering. Once you do find a cracking new book idea things don’t always go to plan. You might blow hot and cold with your new idea and quickly lose that loving feeling.
After a few creative dalliances with a couple of new story ideas, I have spotted some interesting similarities with dating.
Here they are:
Knowing your type of potential suitor / book story
When you start dating you have a good idea about the type of person you are looking for; gender, hair colour, personality, clothes, music tastes, humour etc.
When you start hunting for a new book idea you know what your story type looks like; in my case a romantic comedy, must be light & fluffy, needs to include a devilishly handsome male character and an interesting and relatable female character who finds herself over the course of the tale.
When you start dating someone you might have a head full of unrealistic romantic expectations; your date will definitely be ‘the one’, they will be perfect in every way (after date 1) and you will be whisked up that church aisle within a few months.
When you start work on a new story idea you might have a head full of unrealistic expectations too; you will write it in a matter of weeks, literary agents will be fighting each other to get their hands on it and your book signing event will definitely need some form of crowd control.
Trying to ignore the niggling issues
When you start dating someone you will at first ignore niggling issues; your date’s love of bad jokes, your date’s secret nose picks when they think you aren’t looking, your date’s decision to give themselves a severe side hair parting on date 3 (without any prior warning to you) and your date’s insistence on talking about themselves for more than ten minutes. At first you dismiss these niggles, but after a few dates you can’t stop feeling irritated at the mere sight of that side hair parting and you find yourself seriously considering buying them a joke book. It’s at this point you ask yourself – can I carry on dating in view of these niggling issues?
When you start a new story you also ignore niggling issues; the male character is a bit of a drip, the opening chapter start sounds a bit dark and your plot has a moon crater sized plot hole which is getting harder to ignore. At first you also dismiss these niggles but after a few writing sessions you can’t stop shouting at your drippy male character, you wonder whether you should do a promotional link up with an emotional help line to help your readers get through the first chapter and you can’t get to sleep at night without thinking about that plot hole. It’s at this stage you ask yourself – can I carry on writing this story in view of these issues?
Playing the field or going exclusive
When you start dating you might decide to play the field and see a couple of people at the same time. You might struggle to stop checking out other dating candidates.
When you start story hunting you might also decide to play the literary field and work on a few ideas at the same time. Whilst writing a new story you might struggle to stop eyeing up other story ideas.
Things going too fast
When you start dating things can get intense very quickly and then fizzle out. After date 2 you could both be considering booking a spring mini break together and by date 4 you could not think of anything worse than spending a long weekend in the other’s company.
When you begin a new story idea things can also get intense very quickly and then fizzle out. After laying down 4k words you could find yourself tweeting about how this will be a #literarygamechanger and by 10k words you could find yourself wishing you’d never even started it (deleting all your earlier tweets).
Too much advice
People will feel the need to give you dating advice and some people will feel the need to give you writing advice. Not every date you go on will be successful and not every story you start will be successful.
Coming with excuses to get out of things
You might make up some excuses not to go on a date; washing your hair, cleaning out the fridge or keeping your promise about playing scrabble with the cat.
You might make up some excuses about not writing some more of that new story; need to tweet random stuff, pick fluff out of a jumper or keep your promise about turning the cat into a star on Instagram.
Writing is tough and that’s why we love it. Keep searching for those new book ideas.