Why ideas aren’t the same as books

On February 6th, I wrote the following as my Facebook status:

Last night’s dream: I was selected to write a modern retelling of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. And that’s just what the world needs right now.

From today’s Publishers Marketplace:

Frank Cottrell Boyce’s CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG FLIES AGAIN, with black and white illustrations by illustrator and animator Joe Berger, featuring the Tooting family, who discover an old race-car engine and fit it to their VW Samba Bus; soon they are hurtling across the world rebuilding the original Chitty – with a sinister character on their tail, based on the original by Ian Fleming, to Hilary Van Dusen at Candlewick Press, in a six-figure deal, at auction, in a three-book deal, for publication in Spring 2012, by Zoe Pagnamenta of the Zoe Pagnamenta Agency on behalf of Simon Trewin at United Agents.

Apparently, it is what the world needs right now, to the tune of six figures, no less. So. Yeah. It kinds of leaves you wondering. Where’s my six-figure deal?

Not in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’s trunk, that’s for sure.

Here’s the thing: I do this all the time. I once wondered if anyone bothered to write a retelling of Anna Karenina. Why did I wonder this? I don’t know.

A week later, a deal came through on Publishers Marketplace for … wait for it … a retelling of Anna Karenina.

That novel about a modern US civil war? Yep, had that idea–twice (two different versions). Same for a bunch of others that I’m too depressed to enumerate here.

I’m either really tied into the collective unconscious or I should start writing these things down.

That’s the key. Everybody has ideas; writing 50,000 – 100,000 words in a row so they make sense is what separates the idea from a book. And honestly, I never wanted to write a retelling of Anna Karenina, or Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, for that matter, not even to the tune of six-figures.

Still. It kind of leaves you wondering.


Filed under Musings, Reading & Writing, Writing

2 responses to “Why ideas aren’t the same as books

  1. Maybe should create an idea business? Cuz … six figures. Sheesh…

  2. i also want to say not everyone has ideas. not me! so don’t discount the value of the fact that you have ideas!! 🙂

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