The Idea Tree


I just wrote a 70k word novel that started with a single idea, and I never want to forget that. It’s been an uphill climb to start my second novel, and I know I’m not the only writer who fights with this. What’s the point in writing anything at all without a fully-formed and explosively fantastic idea?

Codswallop. Pareidolia is a sprawling, forking, dizzying mix of characters and circumstances that actually had to be weed-whacked down from a deeply unnecessary 120k words, and I had next to no idea what the finished product would look like when I began. All I had was a single idea (it might be fun to write about people with religious pareidolia) with a weird twist (Why not write about someone with religious pareidolia who’s convinced the Peanuts were secretly a Christ allegory and Charles Schulz was a mad genius?).

That is the beginning and the end of everything that I had when I sat down to write the first word of the first chapter. (Neither of these two ideas made it into the final draft.) I really hope I don’t forget how something as simple (and as stupid) as a pair of ideas like this can lead to a finished novel, given enough time. Set aside whether or not the novel is good; it’s finished, and I can move on. And what a hell of a thing that is.

I feel like I saw a video interview with the two main members of the English industrial / drone band Coil where they had this big red neon sign on a coffee table that read PERSISTENCE IS ALL. I’ll fucking drink to that.

Go to Pareidolia

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