By Whiney Writer
I thought having lots of story ideas would be a good thing.
As soon as I open up one document, a million–well, okay, five or six–other ideas push into my brain. For instance, I’m working on a new opening scene for The Body Under the Bed, a murder mystery set in 18th century, or maybe 17th century, France, possibly with paranormal elements. The scene needs to be full of foreshadowing, but not so obvious that Marguerite looks stupid for not figuring it all out by page 15.
You know what else is hard, besides ideas? This whole question of balance.
So, here we are at a court ball, introducing main characters (one of whom is not long for this world) and I get another idea.
“Hey, how about Bertie Wooster in space?” In case you don’t know, Bertie is the classic upper-class English fool with a good heart and very little brain. P. G. Wodehouse invented him, and Jeeves.
Not now, I mutter, and go off to do some research for BUTB. Huh, maybe I won’t refer to it by initials after all.
Bertie In Space!
Not now. Back to the research. Hey, Louis XV nearly didn’t live to be King, or even to grow up. His mother, then his father, then his older brother all died of measles, or maybe smallpox. Sources vary. The royal doctors treated them with bleeding and enemas. When poor little Louis showed similar symptoms, his governess and under-governess barricaded themselves and Louis in the royal rooms and wouldn’t let the doctors in. If he’d died, they would have been executed.
Hey, there’s an idea with major suspense and tension. Whose viewpoint should I use? I wonder what little Louis thought of all that, and did he ever wish he had his own first name?
Bertie could be a space tourist. Not Bertie himself, of course. There’s this anthology…but wait, what about the other sentient species on that planet? How does space tourism impact them? I could do something serious and thoughtful.
Back at court: what if Marguerite’s husband sees her flirting with the Marechal-Duc? She’s alarmed, but her husband really doesn’t seem to mind.
“I say, forgive me if I’m being intrusive, but didn’t you more or less promise me my opening scene? I really haven’t the faintest how to convince this girl not to hide in my room, and while one always wishes to oblige a lady, I don’t wish to disoblige her giant brother.”
Why do all the other ideas always look better than the one I’m trying to write?