Posted by on Dec 22, 2009 in blogging, ideas for novels, writing novels | 5 Comments

Sorry, sorry (but not that sorry)

The thing is, I’m whelmed by something – an idea, or a project or possibly (whisper this) even a novel.

And I believe that if you’ve got an inchoate idea you should focus on it, follow it around, play with it, but not talk about it. Never share it until you could pick it out of an identity parade without hesitation as being the suspect in question. Why?

Because other people’s views, no matter how well-meaning, colour our own intellectual exercises. I once had an utterly fantastic idea for a novel, and mentioned it to a dear friend, who replied ‘Oh that’s been done already’ and told me about a book she’d read that was, indeed, quite similar in theme and content. I thought about it, and felt the idea was still strong and compelling, but every time I tried to formalise it to a novel’s structure, I felt uncomfortable, as if I was on the verge of plagiarism, even though I hadn’t read the novel in question – so I abandoned the idea completely. Only to see a newly-published book with a similar theme and content win a fairly substantial prize this very year …

So I’ve got this idea and I’m living with it, but it does make me rather uncommunicative blogwise, because when a big idea enters your head, it rather crowds out all the other things that you might usually have talked about. And that’s part of the process of being a writer, so although I’m a bit sorry, and feeling as if I’m letting folk down, I’m profoundly happy to be gripped by a new idea that’s so exciting it’s shoving everything else to the margins.

Also there’s been this snow and I’m a snow maniac, so I shall wish you a very merry Christmas and a deliriously happy New Year and leave you with a picture of the snow to enjoy.


  1. Lou
    22nd December 2009

    great! I’m jealous! it’s a lovely state to be in when a novel idea takes over your whole headspace …

  2. Jim Murdoch
    23rd December 2009

    Tell me about it. I’ve just discovered that the core premise behind my current book has been done before and the comparison is just too close for comfort so I’ve just ordered a copy of the book to see how close our approaches are. You never know this might be exactly what I need to push me in a new direction which is really what I’ve been picking up and putting down for months.

    As for not blogging too often – sorry, never noticed, have far too much to read to notice things like that. Hope you have a happy Xmas and if you spend the whole of it hunched over a keyboard then go for it girl – I would, in a heartbeat.

  3. Danny
    29th December 2009

    Good on you, Kay.

    You are so right. In fact, that principle of “keep the idea to yourself” is a well known one in the arena of self help manuals. The exception being to consult with an expert in the field you are considering, as opposed to nattering with family or the next door neighbour.
    Sadly, I had a brilliant idea a dozen years ago and followed the “only discuss with experts” path. Every outcome was 100% encouraging. I promoted it, launched it with great fanfare, but it still flopped after 6 months because I entrusted the actual funding to a relatively close family member who talked a good talk. The finances never arrived and I am still paying off my personal borrowings against it. Doh!

    Chin up, girl.

  4. Charles Lambert
    31st December 2009

    Go for it!

    All my love for 2010…

  5. Ces
    1st January 2010

    I came here via Elisabeth’s blog because I love your blog title. I say go for it. Good luck with your idea! May something grand happen for you in 2010!


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