When You're Afraid Your Idea Is Stupid

I wrote a book and I’m afraid it’s stupid.

It’s not a book per say. It’s a novella. (What else do you call a piece of writing that’s 20K words short of novel-status?)

And wouldn’t say I’m afraid it’s stupid.

Okay, maybe I would say that.

Re’and is a fantasy story, which means it’s set in an imagined world. There are mermaids and fairies. I made up names for my characters. I blush when I explain the plot, when I speak the title aloud (pronounced “ree-and”). This is the longest piece of work I’ve ever produced and it’s lived safely on my hard drive for years. I’m just afraid my little word baby will be seen as ridiculous.

Do you ever feel like your ideas are dumb?

Surely I’m not alone.

reand

Coming Fall 2014

“What if it’s stupid?” I asked Ben.

“What if it’s not?” he countered.

Did I mention I love that man? What would I do without my best friend, my confidant, my sounding board?

He pointed out that ‘orcs’ and ‘hobbits’ are made up words, but they don’t seem stupid. He reminded me of C.S. Lewis’ thoughts on creativity, something about our desire to create imaginary worlds is because we are made in the image of our Creator God. And he admitted that, no, this little work may not be the best thing I’ll ever write, but it’s heading that way.

On Ben’s encouragement, I’m moving forward. I’m going to put this little book out there for you to read. I figure if I make the news public, then you all can hold me accountable to get it done. Currently some writers-in-arms are giving the book a read through. A friend of mine who’s a wonderful illustrator is designing the cover art. I’m researching all the nuts and bolts of self-publishing. I’m praying continually that my heart be in the right place in this project. I want to do this right. I want to do this well for you. Lord willing, this Fall you’ll have a lovely little story to get lost in.

So what should you do when you’re afraid your idea is stupid?

Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act.

Psalm 37:5

14 Comments

  1. Emily Jean Roche on July 15, 2014 at 8:59 am

    “What else do you call a piece of writing that’s 20K words short of novel-status?”
    A novella is 17,000 – 40,000, and a novelette is under 17,000. However, these standards don’t always apply to YM and MG books. I mean, you started writing it in 8th grade? How old’s the protagonist? Of course I haven’t read it so, I don’t know, but maybe it is a Middle Grade book (which are basically novellas, but we call them chapter books.) The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe was around 35,000 words, right?

    Alternatively, if you think its word count is too low, maybe it’s a sign that the book is not done yet. Add a new character or a subplot or a side adventure or an additional conflict or something. Expand scenes that come off as summery. I went from a 55,000-word MS to over 70,000 words in the past two years by expanding on the parts that were to “summery” and adding a new character (who has become one of my favorite) and also expanding on some of the existing “flat” characters.

    Also, I think the premise of your book sounds cool, and I want to read it.

    Sorry for the long comment, I guess I’ve just spend a lot of time thinking about word count.

    We should hang out sometime.

    • Victoria on July 15, 2014 at 9:07 am

      I’m sitting at 31K. That’s good encouragement. I know I COULD write more, but I’m torn between wanting to keep working on this and the drive to just get the piece out there and see what it does. Also, I have been drawn to shorter pieces lately (shorter poems, short stories, etc.) and I just want to experiment and see if it works. One benefit of self-pub is that I could (in theory) produce revisions.

      The protagonist is 17, turns 18 in the course of the story. I’ve given the story to a few young (middle school) readers and they’ve enjoyed it.

      All good ideas for the revision process, though, for sure. I’m hopefully going to start rewriting in the coming weeks, just as soon as my “editors” return the manuscript!

      Never apologize for long comments! lol

      You. Me. Hanging out. SOON!

    • Lydia Kitts on July 15, 2014 at 9:45 am

      “A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.”
      ― C.S. Lewis

      I want to read it too! I’ll happily await fall and a shorter story to read with a newborn attached to me 24/7!

  2. Josh on July 15, 2014 at 9:34 am

    I used to dream of being a novelist, but was too shy about sharing what I wrote, so I stopped putting anything on paper.
    Lately Christine and I have been collaborating on some short story ideas. She wants me to post one I’ve finished, but I’m afraid it’s too green.

    But we’d love to read your work. We’re fantasy readers. 🙂

    • Victoria on July 15, 2014 at 3:40 pm

      I did know you two were writers!? That’s so fun.

      And as far as work being “green”, I think that’s all part of the process.

  3. Lydia Kitts on July 15, 2014 at 9:42 am

    I can’t IMAGINE putting out a work of literary fiction into the world. I’m stressed out enough as it is with just blog posts and artwork. Best of luck and let me know what I need to like, share, re-tweet, re-blog, mass email, picket, and generally harass people about {in the politest way possible}!

    • Victoria on July 15, 2014 at 3:45 pm

      Oh my goodness you’re too kind! Thank you Lydia 🙂 Much creative love to you!

  4. Sarah m on July 15, 2014 at 10:25 am

    That is a great scripture for ending the post on. From every type of ‘celebrity’ writer, I hear the same thing we’re all saying, ‘we’re all afraid to put it out there’. Everyone is!
    Sarah M

    • Victoria on July 15, 2014 at 3:41 pm

      Isn’t that comforting? Even the “real” writers are afraid!

  5. Catherine on July 15, 2014 at 10:45 am

    Victoria, I am so proud of you. I, too, am afraid because when I start my CNA classes and start working I’m afraid that all my story ideas will vanish and that my writing will suffer. And right now I struggle with anger (yeah, I told you before about my angry streak) when people act like my children’s book is cutesy little thing (really? Do you know how much goes into it?).

    You have to let your story fly, don’t try to control it, don’t try to hold it back by fear. Release it and let it do it’s own thing. I can’t wait to read it.

  6. Bek on July 15, 2014 at 12:04 pm

    This is so exciting!!! I’m excited to read it, and I say if you’re getting good feedback, don’t worry about the length. Those are for publishing businesses anyway, and ain’t nobody {but them} got time for dat! 😉

    • Victoria on July 15, 2014 at 3:42 pm

      I’m curious to see if my theory about a smaller work being received well is true. Like you say, I think there’s a market for whopping big books just as much as there’s one for smaller works. And if this does go well, there’s always printing revised editions or sequels, etc.

  7. Kim on July 15, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    This is awesome! Good for you for moving forward with it. I can’t wait to see it!

    • Victoria on July 15, 2014 at 3:43 pm

      Thanks so much Kim 🙂 I so appreciate you cheering me on!

Leave a Comment