The Phenomenon Of Half-Baked Ideas

PetalsHallelujah. It happens: an idea for story grips you in its bewitched fingers and gets you all fired up, fireworks sparkling and exploding in your brain, and you rush to grab a pen and paper to write it down, to plaster the beautiful creature onto paper, THIS IS IT, you think…only to see it flop and die on the page.

Something just goes wrong.

The characters are flimsy cardboard cut-outs, just props to keep the plot moving. None of the world-building is even remotely believable. The story starts off peachy, but soon deteriorates and peters off into a ramble of nothingness that doesn’t even make sense, straying away like a demented cat on the trail of an invisible rat. Your story is a wash of stained sugar, rather than blood, entirely without substance, and all you are left with is a bad taste in your mouth, and a few new crushed dreams.

Why? Why, why, why does this happen?

I don’t think I have all the answers. In fact, I have very few answers. Rather, that question is more directed at all of you: do you know the workings behind this phenomenon? But, I’ve whittled it down to a few.

  1. Not good enough yet. I’m just not good enough of a writing yet to write something that feels truly alive. My imagination and skills are still fetuses, yet to blossom and bloom into proper, functioning babies. This is disappointing. All one can do, in this situation, is to keep writing.
  1. Need to plan and brainstorm more. Maybe I just haven’t been nurturing the seed of the idea yet, and simply rushed to the page before it has even germinated. It’s like trying to force a newborn bird, still sticky with membrane, to fly. It’s not going to work, is it? So maybe one needs to sit with one’s ideas, let them grow and blossom, before rudely pushing them out of the nest of one’s mind.
  1. Bad idea. The idea wasn’t that great in the first place. Like a crystal house built on shaky foundations. Pretty, but, in the end, not nearly sturdy enough to withstand a few puffs of wind, and liable to topple over before the day’s out. So, this kind of sucks as well, because it brings in a lot of doubt: what makes an idea good? What if I can’t stumble across an idea that truly makes my heart sing? What then?

In the end, what do we do? We wake up, and we try. And maybe the lightning strike hasn’t hit yet, and maybe it won’t for a long time, and maybe I’m a deluded talentless fool and this phenomenon (which I made up, in case you hadn’t realised) is only further evidence of it, but I will wake up, and I will try. I will try to follow the singing. I will try to follow the love. That is all we can do.


2 thoughts on “The Phenomenon Of Half-Baked Ideas

  1. Hello.

    I can see you’re working hard and it’s almost there. You need momentum so I’m here to give you a little push. Besides, I want read a story of yours, even if you ended up thinking it’s not good enough.

    Some tutorials to warm up… (hand-picked)
    How to Write a Short Story:
    How to Plot a Story:
    How to Write a Good Story:
    How to Tell a Story:
    How to Write an Interesting Story:
    How to Develop a Character for a Story:

    If you want not to read any of these, how about this one (the best in my opinion):

    How to Start a Story:

    Inspire yourself looking to the masters. Lewis Carroll ( ) used to say:

    “Sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

    Try to create habits that catalyze and unlock your creativity, make your potential flourish and become real. Look, if inspiration is not enough, there is something that I believe you should try: deliver bad stories. That’s better than nothing! Crude advice? Alright, but this time I’ve something to show. I wrote a short story. It sucks, it’s horrible, insane, nonsense, nobody wants to read it, the characters are bad developed and it’s full of contradictions. But, it’s there. I named it The Invasion of Mandalian (something that I wanted to wrote since years. Because I’m lazy to write a whole book, I decided to write short stories in my spare time). You can read it here:

    Okay, laugh, laugh, laugh a lot! Indeed it’s horrible. I know what you’re thinking. Because I see it too: You can do a hell a lot of better than this. So by all means, do it! If that’s what you really want. Bless us with your words. Listen, I could give dozens of excuses why my story sucks, for example: english is not my native tongue, my vocabulary is small, I never wrote one before, I’m suppose to be a programmer not a SF writer and so on…. who cares about that? It doesn’t matter. Even if it sucks, it’s there, ready. Finished. That’s what I’m trying to say. If anything I said until here made sense, consider this message: Do it. Just do it. Bad, good, it doesn’t matter. You can improve what exists! You can always go back and refine! Refine! But in order to refine something, first you have to create it. Understand?

    Good writing!

    • Hello! Hope you are well.
      Once again, you are marvelous. I swear, you have literally dug me out of many abysses over the months, simply through your words alone. If that doesn’t make you an awesome writer, or communicator, in some form of another, I don’t know what does. THANK YOU. Read ALL of them. They were all useful. You’re completely right – you can fix a bad page, but you can’t a blank one. And I’m sure your piece is great. Will now go read it, and then try and start my own without wilting from despair. 😀

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