Monday, March 28, 2011

Protesting in Schenectady

Most book ideas seem pretty mundane, but occasionally they leave us gentle readers scratching our heads wishing we'd thought of them.  Take, for example, the book my family just finished "reading" the first 2/3 of on our drive to and from Pinehurst, NC: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.  What a brilliant idea!  It's such an engaging book that it's easy to see how it jumped onto the NY Times bestseller list, has a movie coming out, and now has a published prequel.  I spent the entire drive engaged in the story line while chortling heartily at the anachronisms.  The idea behind my book is, I had been thinking, relatively cool, but it seems downright drab compared to what I've been listening to yesterday and today.

Time to protest to the store in Schenectady.  You know, the idea store.  The one that sells such great ideas to other authors but sells me the normal ones.  It's unfair and just plain wrong.  Hence, my protest.

There are some authors who will tell you, when you as a noob ask where they get their ideas, how the whole of life is idea-rich to a fiction novelist, how just watching the evening news or a few children playing by the lake and asking "what if?" leads to novel ideas, for better or for worse.  Then there are the smartalecks, the ones who, like me, will answer the question "Schenectady."  What's in Schenectady?  It's an idea store, or an idea factory, depending on the teller, that produces ideas in jars or in six-packs that they then sell for pretty reasonable prices. 

Yes, it's fiction.  Well, hey, you DID just ask a fiction author a silly question.  What answer did you expect if not fictional?

Truth be told, it's easy to look at a well-executed work of fiction and praise the godsend of an idea that's great to crazy extremes.  Like, for example, a school of wizardry named Hogwarts and an evil wizard named Voldemort (doesn't that name just roll evil down your spine as you say it?).  Pride and Prejudice and Zombies might, in this vein, have been a really rather silly, stupid book that nobody but the die-hard zombie fiction lovers bothered reading, had it not been so incredibly well executed.  Apparently publishers thought the same; according to the author's introduction, the book was a tough sell to them. 

I guess the bottom line is that trips to Schenectady...and the resulting protests there...aren't really needed.  A mundane idea brilliantly executed is worth a great many brilliant ideas mundanely executed.  And with that in mind, back to executing I go. 

Word count: Oh, bite me

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