Monday, July 20, 2009

The Best Part

L.G.C. Smith

Dear L.G.C.:
I read your latest book, “Love and Death in Babylon” on vacation last week. It was great. I love all your books. My favorite was “Hang ‘Em High.” Sharidu, the initiate in the Temple of Astarte, is the best ancient detective ever. She’s smart, sexy and sassy. Love her! Can you send me a bookmark for LDB?

Since I love your books so much, I thought maybe I could help you. I don’t mean to have a big head, but I often have great ideas for books. The problem is I’m a programmer at Brildotcom and I’m really busy. I don’t have time to write so I thought I would see if you might be interested in using my idea. I know it must be tough to come up with so many new adventures for Sharidu. It’s taken me six years of reading your series to do it, but I thought of a fantastic story. I would be happy to talk to you about it to see if we might work out a deal. You won’t be sorry!

Imani Diot

Dear Imani,

So you’ve read all my books, and it strikes you that I might have trouble coming up with creative ideas? Coming up with ideas is the easiest, best part of this job. I’ve been doing it since I was old enough to think. I can remember dreams I had before I was a year old. Can you? You know why I remember them? Because they were stories. About buffaloes and giraffes roaming outside my window. About the car taking off with me alone in the car seat. I remember, at four years of age, thinking about what it would be like if there were people with heads like buffaloes who lived in caves under the Black Hills, imagining them dancing around fires and inviting me to join them. I could recount for you every narrative fantasy line I’ve concocted from the age of five until five this afternoon, never mind all the books I’ve plotted, written or partially written.

I don’t need IDEAS. I have ideas. Lots and lots of ideas. I never run out of ideas. I run out of follow through. I run out of the will to sit my ass down and write as long as I should some days. Sometimes I even run out of good sentences, but I never, ever run out of creative ideas. Creative juice is what propelled me into writing and what has kept me writing for more than twenty years. I don’t need yours. I don’t have enough time to use all of my own. And if you appreciate my books, instead of trying to get money out of me because you value your own little idea so highly, why don’t you make sure all your sisters, cousins, aunts, friends and frenemies buy their own copies of my books instead of passing one around between all of you…

Oh, never mind! Scratch all that.

Dear Ms. Diot,

Thank you for your interest in my work, and for writing to let me know you enjoy my books. Enclosed please find the bookmark you requested.

Best wishes,


Rachael Herron said...

Good god. Great post, and I suppose people really ARE that bad, eh? I love this.

Sophie Littlefield said...

Sometimes I worry that the last book or even sentence I wrote is the last creative notion I'll ever have. I admire people like you, Lynn, who have the confidence to be sure the ideas will never end. Because it's true, I do believe the Big Guy keeps 'em coming as long as we ask...

Unknown said...

I've taken to telling people "Oh no! Don't say another word! You can't copyright ideas, I'd hate to accidentally steal yours!"

And then I remind myself to get my ass back in the chair, since that skill (and a fair familiarity with copyright law) is all that separates me from the relatives who want me to write their autobiographies :)

Martha Flynn said...

Peed. My. Pants.