Hey there folks. I got a couple of questions for ya’ – What if some extraterrestrial entity landed on earth? What if that entity had some hypnotic effect deeming every person within a mile radius from it a pacifist? What if it just roamed among us for a while? What if someone in the weapons industry found out? What if that entity had one weakness and it was naiveté’?
Did you see what I did here? I hope you did. If you’re still concerned about my mental well-being, let me suggest that you think about the answers to these questions. Do you know what you have? I’ll tell you what. You got yourself a concept for a story.
Take five minutes if you will and try to answer these questions shortly. Do you see more questions coming out of these answers? Do these questions suggest even more?
In my previous post I wrote about a workshop I attended. I started writing my novel without the understanding of the literary term “Concept” and during that workshop, something crystallized in my head. It was the realization that I came up with the concept for my novel the way many (if not all) of my favorite writers did – by asking a simple question – What If?
Go ahead – pick a book. Any book that you read. If you cannot think of the “What if” for that book re-read it. If you still can’t – Let me know, I’ll give it to you 🙂
The point is, There is always a concept. Sometimes it is excellent (Tad Williams’ – Otherland is my favorite example), and sometimes it’s less than stellar (You don’t really think I’m going to name names do you? ;)). The fact remains, a story with no concept is lacking. It is in all likelihood – boring.
Why boring? If you cannot ask “What If?” then why is that story even told? “I went to the garden yesterday and picked a yellow flower. Then I came back in and ate supper”. Hey wake up! I’m telling you a story here!
Know what I mean?
Anyway, short, but hopefully sweet! It was certainly sweet for me to be able to put down a clear answer to a question I get asked a lot “How do you come up with all these crazy ideas?”.
What if I didn’t?…