Even your best story “idea” is only about 1% of your finished story.


When someone posts here asking how good “this idea” or “that idea” is, it makes me want to pull my hair out.

In order to save the remnants of my retreating hairline, I have tried to reason out and express my feelings on this in a healthier, more reasonable way. Here goes.

Dear concerned conjuror of grand ideas:

Virtually anything is a ‘legitimate’ story idea. That’s why most people who go around telling everyone they have big ideas earn a big “who gives a fuck?” from writers. It’s why I’m going bald.

A good writer could take your “Can I? Should I? Is this any good?” post, extrapolate your insecurities and turn that into a spellbinding examination of the human spirit.

A bad writer could take your coolest Aliens-Meets-Sherlock-Holmes-in-King-Arthur’s-Court concept and produce the limpest, lamest piece of dog shit you or I have ever read.

I’m not saying your idea is bad. It’s not. But it’s not good either.

Get it?

The concept itself is maybe 1% of the final story. Your writing skill will make up the other 99%. Plot, characters, prose, the story’s twists and turns, the thematic elements and the symbolism. That’s the meat on the bones.

If you’re telling the sub you have ZERO writing skill then yeah your story is going to suck ass. Oh well. My early writing sucked ass. Everybody’s did. If you have the interest, the drive, the determination, and the aptitude you will write through the shitty early stuff and start producing stories of value.

Or you won’t. That’s on you. You don’t get to blame the quality of your “idea” for your lack of motivation to write and keep writing any more than you get to claim your concept-scribbled-on-a-napkin is a guaranteed best-seller.


The story idea itself is maybe 1% of the final story. Your writing skill will make up the other 99%. Quit obsessing over that 1% and focus on the 99%.

Source: reddit post


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