The Idea Fairy
This post originally appeared on Medium.com.
Ancient Greece had the Muses. Nine goddesses that were blessed with various talents such as art, dance, and music. Their gifts inspired mankind to write, sing, and create magnificent works of art.
There are the ancient Egyptians with their goddess Hathor. She represented joy, love, music, and dance. And don’t forget Seshat, goddess of reading, writing, and architecture. And also Thoth, god of writing, wisdom, and knowledge.
Then there’s Saraswati, a Hindu goddess. Bragi, a Norse god. Kokopelli, a shared southwestern Native American deity. And Lono, a Hawaiian goddess.
I’m sure I could go on and on, but this isn’t a research paper. Though, in doing my five minute research on “muses in other cultures” an idea has begun to form. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the point of this article.
“And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” ― Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath
How true, Ms. Plath.
Writing is the only career that has ever really called to me. Sadly, up until my mid-twenties I was under the impression that to become a writer I would have to be struck by the idea fairy. And those dang muses weren’t speakin’ to me.
At the age of 25 I had the technical skills, thanks to a fantastic high school english teacher, and two fantastic Latin professors. (For the love! Why doesn’t the english language make any sense until you understand latin? But I digress.) But I had no burning ideas. Then something life-altering happened to our family and I took to writing as a sort of therapy. I wrote 100 pages and realized that maybe others would like to hear our story. Thanks to my father being an author, he has passed some of his connections on to me. I utilized one of those connections and sent those 100 pages to one of his friends in the biz. And she said she liked what I had written!
Here’s where my first real idea came from. Wanna hear what it was? Well, I’ll tell you. My first real idea was, ANYTHING can be a story. In this case, it was literally my journal. I hadn’t embellished or improvised. It was exactly what we were going through at the time. It was interesting because life was difficult at the time and us humans, well, we love a little drama (or a lot.) My life right now is less captivating. Does that mean I couldn’t write about it now? Heck no! It would just take a little more imagination, an embellishment here, a dragon there, and voila! A story for the ages.
This realization has changed how I look at writing. It’s changed how I look at the world really. There’s a story around every corner, in every closet (or wardrobe!) and all we have to do is have the guts to make it ours. (The wardrobe one is already taken. Sorry.) There aren’t any muses who are going to shoot the perfect, best-selling, award-winning idea into our head. We have to look for it. So pay attention to the world around you. Keep a dream journal (those suckers are just crazy enough to make for some pretty epic sci-fi.) And always have a notebook with you. Always! Even if that notebook is on your phone and you’re “Hey, Siri”-ing while you’re in the shower. Some ideas will be garbage, but some will be gold. And some of that garbage can be turned into gold.
Have the guts, and the imagination to get that story you’ve been waiting for. Don’t doubt yourself and be your own idea fairy.
Book marketing. Those two innocuous words instill fear and loathing into the hearts of so many writers. You just want to write your books and have them sell themselves. Why do you have to tell people about it? Well, Susan, because you do. I know you want to write, but if your goal is to write, publish, and make money from your books, then you’re going to have to find a way to make them visible. Thousands of new titles are uploaded to Amazon every single day. Millions of books are being published every year, and no matter how good your story is, without marketing, there’s not much chance very many people will find it.
What kind of writer are you? Are you the sort who writes a meticulous outline that tips into the five digits or the type who sits down in front of a blank sheet of paper and lets the words pour out of you like a runaway train? Did you know there are specific terms for this kind of writing? Writers will come up with words for anything, I swear. Plotters are the first type of writer. They like to have detailed outlines that tell them exactly where their story is going. Pantsers are the other type of writer, which is kind of a weird name, but the term was coined by Stephen King (a famous pantser) to describe writing by the seat of your pants. Cute, eh? There is no right or wrong way to write your book, and I’m going to repeat this so many times. The right way is the way that works for you.
Dystopian fiction is one of the darker subgenres of science fiction and fantasy. It takes us into dark, foreboding worlds, where oppression and bleak landscapes are the norm. Books like 1984 by George Orwell, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, and Brave New World by Aldous Huxley have become classics that shine a light on political corruption, environmental disaster, and societal collapse.Why do we love these stories? Maybe it's because dystopian fiction allows us to explore worst-case scenarios, to grapple with the idea that the world we know and love could be lost forever. It's a way for us to confront our fears and anxieties about the future, to see what could happen if we continue down a certain path.