Today I’m writing about the biggest occupational hazard of being a writer. No, I’m not talking about writer’s bottom! Although that is a hazard, I have to say. Especially when combined with Easter and all the chocolate I’ve recently consumed!
But today I’m talking about the other HUGE occupational hazard. I mean that moment when someone you’ve just met asks what you do and you tell them you’re a writer and they say… “I’ve got a good idea for a book/story/novel you could write.” Then they tell you what it is – in full technicolour detail and – if you’re still awake – they add those immortal words. “Maybe you could write it and we could share the profits.”
“Maybe,” you say, nodding politely.
Which got me to thinking what percentage of a story is ‘the idea’ and what is hard graft. Just supposing you were going to split it like this. Would it be 20 per cent idea and 80 per cent hard graft of doing the actual writing? Or would it be 50/50 or would it be even a smaller percentage for the idea, say 10 per cent? Or would it be idea 70 per cent and writing 30 per cent?
I think this might well depend on individual writers. For me the idea is about 20 per cent of the whole product. Most of the work is in the writing. So if I was going to pay for ideas – supposing there was a handy little ideas shop somewhere I think the most I’d pay for a £100 story idea would be £20. Actually, having just written that down I think it would be more like £10.00. Although I might be prepared to pay more for an actual plot. One that had an end. And if it had a brilliant twist ending. I might pay a fraction more.
One of my novelist friends did actually give me a complete short story plot the other day which worked superbly, thank you Nancy. Just in case you happen to be reading this blog. My ramblings are not aimed at you.
So my questions today are:
- How much would you pay for an idea?
- What percentage of the finished product is idea and what is the actual writing?
While I’m on, I’m running a course soon. How to Write and Sell Short Stories is on 28th May in Bournemouth. £45.00 I suspect there will be a few ideas floating around there! Please do email me for details if you’re interested in that one. Max numbers 12. I think there are 4 places left.
Bye for now.