A Really Tough Week

>> Saturday, August 30, 2008

It has been an awful week for me. My daughter has been really fussy the last several days. She hasn't been sleeping well. It's a battle for naps and nighttime sleep. I don't know what's gotten into her lately, but it's driving me insane.

Suffice it to say that I haven't managed much writing. I wrote a little bit tonight, after she finally settled down for a little while. I'm at the point in my story where they conduct an internal examination one of the vampire cows, and since I don't know much about cows, I brought in a firsthand source: my sister, the veterinarian. She's more than happy to help, and told me that she wants to read it when I'm finished writing it.

She also told me about a story idea that she has, but she says she's not a writer and wouldn't have the time to write it anyway. She told me the idea and said I can write it if I want, but she didn't know if it's the kind of story I'm into writing.

It IS an interesting idea, but I just feel a bit uncomfortable taking her idea and writing it as my own. The writer in me almost feels like it would be plagiarism, even though it wouldn't. I totally have her permission, but...

...it isn't my idea.

What does everyone else think? Would you be as uncomfortable with this idea as I am, or would you feel that it's totally okay, if you have permission to use the idea? I'm interested in hearing your thoughts.


shield maiden August 30, 2008 at 9:38 AM  

Your daughter is probably going through a growth spurt. She's almost six months, yes? I know when Lorelei went through her growth spurts, it was difficult to get her to take her naps because she was always hungry.

As for ideas, I don't think it is wrong. There are ghostwriters everywhere for people that have ideas but can't express them in writing (granted, the ghost writer doesn't get any credit--I think).

If you're going to publish the idea, I'd probably write a small dedication. I know my mother-in-law gave me a cute idea for a mystery. Something simple. I was talking about work one day and she said to me, "what if one of the supervisors was poisoned by the nutmeg in the cake?" Long story short, it gave me inspiration. I don't think there is anyone out there who is writing about the food industry in the thriller genre. Why not? I took the idea and I'm going to run with it. I'll dedicate the first book to her and maybe even have her input as a reader. I wouldn't feel too bad about it if it is a general idea. When it's that general, there is room enough to make it your own.

Echo August 30, 2008 at 3:38 PM  

When both of you are ok with it, I think it would be fine. I think it just depends on your attitude. I had a similar thing happen in college. My dad doesn't write, and is so embarrassed of his spelling and grammar that he's scared to try, but he had an idea for a story a few years back. He wrote the idea down and gave it to me to see if I would write it. I still have it somewhere, but I've never done it. It's kind of weird, I guess, but I just can't bring myself to do it. It's a good idea, but it's not my story. The idea and the characters are his, and I just can't wrap my head around writing about things and people that aren't mine (my characters might wonder who those intruders in my head are). It's just hard for me to get excited about the story, because I don't feel a personal attachment to it, and I've got plenty of story ideas of my own. So my own bad ideas are more appealing to me than my dad's good one. Go figure.

Chad Aaron Sayban September 2, 2008 at 6:54 PM  

Ideas are community property and you should feel free to use them at will. The reality is that it isn't one, single idea that produces a novel - it is the time and sweat and effort that does it. Almost everyone has an idea for a novel. Very few people actually do the work to make it happen. All writers get their ideas from someplace - an event, a news article, whatever. If you want to put a dedication in the book, that's great, but it is your work that makes the book.