IWSG: How Novel

This is February’s IWSG post. The IWSG is a super group of writers floating around in the blogosphere, led by the ninja Alex J. Cavanagh. Come check us out! Our co-hosts for February are
Allison Gammons,Tamara Narayan, Eva E. Solar, Rachel Pattison, and Ann V. Friend!

Well, the old, busted computer has gone and a new one has taken its place. All of my files were transferred over in a matter of minutes, thanks to the external hard drive and time machine that was activated in ye old computer’s last days.

While anticipating the new computer’s arrival, the last week of January was largely spent reading–and thinking about how I’m going to attack the novel idea I’ve had percolating in my head for nearly a year and a half. Some of it’s written, but I have new ideas for it and I can’t wait.

At first, I decided to write that novel as a half contemporary, half historical thing but it never seemed to work well. I knew the present day part was the weak link.

When I decided to try the contemporary half as a short story, it didn’t work either.

Considering that I stole the basic premise of Modern Day Woman Inherits Money From Mysterious Relatives Which Leads Us Back to Historical Times from a novel that I would have thrown on the floor, had I been reading it in hardcover or paperback form…maybe I shouldn’t be too surprised that it didn’t work.

I think I got a bit cocky there–“Oh, I can do this idea so much better.”

So. What kind of ideas or premises have you guys taken or been inspired by other books, movies, plays, TV shows, real life friends, etc. that maybe didn’t work? And don’t lie–artists steal from each other all the time.

22 thoughts on “IWSG: How Novel

  1. I've totally thought to myself that I could do something better, but I've never actually tried to follow through on it. However, I do retellings sometimes, and I often notice after I start something that it was clearly inspired by something else. In fact, there is a movie that I LOVE that inspired part of my current project, and once I realized this, reflecting on how they tackled the similar elements has really helped me figured out the trickier parts of my story. ^_^It doesn't always turn out good though. A couple of projects ago I crashed trying to write something inspired by The Crucible. It was a total mess. But I want to try it again someday. Lol!


  2. I'm not sure I've done it…not consciously, at least. I think, though, there is nothing really new under the sun. We bring our own spin and voice to a plot, but it's almost always been done before in some form.Congratulations to you for recognizing what doesn't work and being willing to shift gears. In my latest novel, at one point I cut out the last third and rewrote it completely. It was aggravating, but worth it! Good luck going forward on the novel. Enjoy that shiny new computer!


  3. Oh, the I can do this better line of thinking! We've all done it. I think I STARTED WRITING because of it! My debut release this year is inspired by the movie Sabrina (1950s with Audrey Hepburn, 90s with Julia Ormond and Harrison Ford). Taking an existing concept should have been easy, right? Nope! Transforming a movie (with odd plotting,no less) into book form was one challenge, as was making the story more my own so it wasn't just recycling someone else's concept. I've rewritten this book more than any other project! My only consolation is that actually sold to a publisher, so the work has an endpoint!I'm writing about social media overload today with a few resource links on how to better focus your efforts: My IWSG post: Stephanie Scott


  4. I've never actually done that. I've only ever written what I've wanted to write. Not because other did or because I thought I could do it better. Writer the genres you like. Write the story in your heart.


  5. I wrote a dance scene into a novel after watching the dance scene in the movie Shakespeare In Love. Not because I thought I could do it better, but because I really loved that scene (and the entire movie, of course) and wanted to honor it, or pay homage to it, or something like that.


  6. Oh, I've definitely done my share of it. Fanfiction, a couple of more substantial ideas, and other things. It's not all the time, but yeah, it was very consciously done with this one…and it didn't work. So there.


  7. I write nonfiction and with my latest I couldn't find any other story thst was familiar until someone pointed one out yesterday.I'm looking forward to reading it.I haven't done it yet but I do read things or watch movies and think, I could write that better and when I have the time I will.


  8. I'm constantly inspired by the work of others. The right plot, a brilliant character, or a catchy turn of phrase gives me those writer shivers!I'm going to be getting a new computer soon too and I'm hoping everything transfers just as smoothly!


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