Last September, I was reading through a list of upcoming TV shows when one title made me do a double-take: Jane the Virgin. I read the summary and thought, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me.’ The premise sounded ridiculous, even for television (and I’m a fan of some pretty ridiculous television).
Not long after it started, a dear friend of mine said to me, “You have to watch this show, it’s great.” I was sceptical but my friend has really good taste, so I gave it a try.
She was right. Jane the Virgin was nothing like what I expected. It’s funny, clever and well written, with many intriguing plot twists. At the heart of the show is a daughter-mother-grandmother relationship that is genuine and full of love. The show everyone mocked now has legions of fans, has been renewed for a second season and Gina Rodriguez, the lead, won a Golden Globe for her performance.
Why am I telling you this? Because we’ve all had ideas that made us say, “You’ve got to be kidding me.” At first, you’re energised by your idea. “That sounds amazing!” you think. “I’m going to write that down right now!”
Then doubt overpowers you and you don’t write a word. “My idea is just too weird,” you say to yourself. “No one will like it. People won’t be interested. They’ll make fun of it.” So you scrap the idea before even giving it a chance.
Don’t do that. Follow through on your amazing idea. An idea is only the starting point for a piece of writing. It’s where you take it that counts.
Write down your idea and then keep on writing. Elaborate, expand and follow through. Bring your idea to life with the passion you put into your words. Stand behind your writing. Do your research. Edit, revise and throw yourself into your work. Commit to showing the reader exactly what you see so clearly in your mind. Show them why your idea is a great one.
An idea is merely the vehicle for what you truly want to say. Jane the Virgin is more than a US remake of the Venezuelan telenovela, Juana la Virgen. It’s a story about family, love and struggle, told with authenticity and humour. So, what do you truly want to say? How do you want to tell your story?
Take the ‘you want to write what?’ response as a challenge. If your idea generates that much incredulity, then it probably means there’s something there worth exploring.
For this week’s prompt, I’d like you write about at least one of your ideas that you thought wasn’t worth pursuing. I know you have one – we all do. It’s that little niggling thought in the back of your head that won’t go away. Maybe you think your idea is boring, common, weird, extreme, overly sentimental or absurd. Whatever the reason, take that idea and write about it. Pursue it. Elaborate on it. Expand it. See where it takes you.
I have faith in you. I really do. I think your ideas are great and, more than that, I think you can bring them to life in a way that will enthral us all.
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