As we go through life, we get many ideas or topics that come to us and sometimes we act on them, and sometimes we do not act. How do you know if you have a good idea or topic? Remember this is more of a personal blog that shares my experiences with writing my first novel and my personal views so I will get to what is a good idea through a bit of a story.
I had been following a lot of environmental news stories and topics, in particular what is getting dumped into the oceans and waters around the world. I started to imagine the mythical species of mermaids and how they may be affected by this pollution as I started imagining an underwater world of merpeople, Mermaids: The Arrival started to fill out with characters and how an intelligent species may deal with us.
I started writing about mermaids years ago, the story progressed and it became a second journal and a third. Several months would go by where I would not write as life would get busy, and as I picked up a new journal to continue the story to relax and have fun, the story was there. It continued and progressed, characters became more substantial and I was enjoying myself imagining and forming this underwater world. Here is the thing, the story never left me. It was always there, when I sat down to write, the characters formed, showed themselves and came out to say hello and the story progressed.
Then as the idea of publishing festered in my brain, I began to worry. Humming and hawing if the topic had been overdone as others have certainly written and made various movies and TV shows on the same topic and the broader topic of humans destroying the world. What was worse in my mind is my merpeople are not the same as the mainstream version, comic book version, child versions or even the mythical version of beautiful mermaids that had an unhealthy obsession of killing sailors 😊.
Watching and reading some interviews of various writers on what is a good story line or idea, what one author (Stephen King) said in a few interviews stuck with me, he said that good ideas stick around, the good stuff stays. This story stayed with me for years. He also described ideas as eggs, basically saying that we eat a lot of eggs, but there are a lot of different ways to make eggs. So, my interpretation is that there are ideas that may look the same but there are always different ways to tell the story. That really sunk in and affected me, and I believe that is the truth. There are ideas or topics that are written about regularly from good versus evil, humans destroying themselves and the earth, how love should be, if aliens exist, etc. The genre’s and ways people have written about these ideas and topics are so diverse it really is amazing when you stop and think about it.
One of my fears did come true, by the way. My aunt asked what my book was about, and after explaining it, she said, “Hasn’t that been done before?” After tensing for a minute wanting to defiantly list all the reasons mine was different, I let it go and grinned laughing to myself thinking, ‘Of course it has but what hasn’t?’
The worry of whether your ideas or topics are good I think is normal, but a little research and confidence may be key in making you worry less. As far as I can tell, there is a diverse group of people living on this planet, and not everyone likes the same things, thankfully, as think of how truly scary life would be if we are all the same.