Monday, February 27, 2012

Idea Envy

Okay, so I attended a conference a few weeks ago, and usually they're the highlight of my writing life. I mean, it's always fun to be around other writers and hear their stories, and realize that the publishing industry is still pretty healthy.

Then, of course, you learn about their books. Their ideas. And then you get Idea Envy.

Of course, reading does the same thing. Let me illustrate three separate cases of this Envy that I've experienced this month.

UNDER THE NEVER SKY by Veronica Rossi. If you haven't bought and read this book, you should cease reading this post, go buy it, read it, and then come back. Seriously. I loved this book!

Here's a bit about it: Since she’d been on the outside, she’d survived an Aether storm, she’d had a knife held to her throat, and she’d seen men murdered. This was worse.

Exiled from her home, the enclosed city of Reverie, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland—known as The Death Shop—are slim. If the cannibals don’t get her, the violent, electrified energy storms will. She’s been taught that the very air she breathes can kill her. Then Aria meets an Outsider named Perry. He’s wild—a savage—and her only hope of staying alive.

A hunter for his tribe in a merciless landscape, Perry views Aria as sheltered and fragile—everything he would expect from a Dweller. But he needs Aria’s help too; she alone holds the key to his redemption. Opposites in nearly every way, Aria and Perry must accept each other to survive. Their unlikely alliance forges a bond that will determine the fate of all who live under the never sky.


It is seriously so good. When I finished, I thought, "I have never fully imagined the worlds in my stories like this." Veronica does such an amazing job with the world-building, that it left me feeling like I really need to step it up. (Not necessarily a bad thing, you know...)

PIVOT POINT by Kasie West. This book isn't out yet, but I got to hear Kasie read a bit of it at the conference, and I can't wait to read it! (I also got to see a mock cover... And it's fab!) Anyway, here's a bit more about it: Reminiscent of the movie Sliding Doors, Pivot Point is about a girl who has the power to search alternate futures. When faced with a life changing decision, she lives out six weeks of two different lives (in alternating chapters), both holding the potential for love and loss, and must ultimately choose which path she is willing to live through. (Stolen from Kasie's blog)

I mean, SEARCH ALTERNATE FUTURES??? And I'm wondering how I can write about boy scouts and people who live in tents. (No, really. Those are some of my latest craptastic ideas.)

Anyway, the Idea Envy flared again. Sounds like a great premise, and the writing is fab.

Then, as if that weren't enough, I also listened to Natalie Whipple read a chapter or so of her forthcoming novel, TRANSPARENT. And I thought, "A girl who's INVISIBLE because of medication the government gave the population during the FREAKING Cold War??"

After I hung my head, my next thought was, "Dude, you should quit while you're ahead." Which translates to, "Your ideas suck. Get better ideas!"

So here's a bit more about TRANSPARENT: On the run from her mind-controlling father, the infamously invisible Fiona McClean hides in a small town, hoping to finally rid herself of the crime world she has always known. But playing at “normal life” with a mother she hates, a brother she can't trust, and a boy she can't stand proves more difficult than she ever imagined. Soon her father is hot on her heels, and it’s up to Fiona to protect not only her family, but the friends who’ve taught her that life doesn’t have to be as lonely and cruel as she thought. (Stolen from Goodreads)

This won't be out until Summer 2013, and I'm salivating already.

So yeah. I really need to kick my Idea Generator into high gear. Otherwise this Idea Envy is going to consume me. Or something. Hey, look! Parks & Rec is on...

Do you suffer from Idea Envy from time to time? What have you read or heard about lately that sounds like a fabulous premise?

44 comments:

Miranda Hardy said...

Sounds like some great stories are on the horizon. I'm working on my next shiny new idea, and I'm pleased to have come up with it. So excited to write this story.

Natalie Aguirre said...

Loved Under the Never Sky. I agree it's a really unique book. And I can't wait to read the other two.

Of course, we're all envious at times. But we have to hope our stories are unique too. Yours are for sure.

Laura Pauling said...

I talked about Under The Never Sky too. Incredible book. It was the writing and the love story that got to me. Just shows the power of word of mouth. The other two sound great too!

Nicole Mc said...

I need to read all of these.

I get the "comparison hangover" after photography conferences I go to. (That's my normal job.) It's inevitable. Any conference or workshop with others in your profession is a mix of inspiration and comparison hangover. You just have to sludge through the feelings and come out fighting! Or eat junk food. Or a combination of the two...yeah, I like that one.

Tasha Seegmiller said...

I think more than that, it's inspiring. I hear what they are doing, release the "grips on reality" I've been forcing my ideas to have and let the imagination take over. I'm never disappointed when I do this besides the fact that I can't write fast enough to let my imagination play the way it wants to.

Karen Lange said...

I do sometimes, and it does serve to get me moving. :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Yes I do! My ideas are few and far between and not that good.

Mindy McGinnis said...

Oh yes, idea Envy. My most cutting moment was when I read the back of the Hunger Games and just DAMMIT!! That's AWESOME!! :)

Meredith said...

Wow, I'm definitely getting idea envy from these three. And I'm about to start Under the Never Sky--so excited! I can't wait to read about the world she builds.

Julie Daines said...

Elana, here's what you do. Go onto Netflix, find old movies that no one has ever seen. Watch them to get a good plot line, then rearrange the setting to include some crazy awesome high concept stuff.

Add aliens, cowboys, or better yet--alien cowboys, time travel, shape-shifting trees, scarecrows take over the world... Just throw it all out there and viola: no more idea envy!

Miriam Forster said...

Idea envy...not as much. I'm a fantasy writer so it's more like OMG ALL THE IDEAS ALL THE TIME. And then my editor has to tell me to tone it down. :)

I get writer-conferance envy. (haven't been to one in years) And platform envy. And fast-writer envy. And my favorite: pre-emptive career envy. That's when I start thinking "Gosh I wish I had that person's career/book deals/etc," and then I remember that my debut isn't even OUT yet.

Usually I just let the envy pass by and go back to work. It doesn't change anything after all. *grin*

Ishta Mercurio said...

I get Idea Envy all the freaking time. I make myself feel better by telling myself that before I can even think about new ideas, I need to finish the ones I'm working on. It sort-of helps.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

The blurbs for BOTH Shannon M's upcoming MG and YA books sound amazing. Idea envy big-time. Also, I've had white-hot envy of Brandon Mull's Fablehaven series from the get-go. Oh, how I wish I had written them! LOL. :-)

Kelly Hashway said...

Absolutely! I usually get the "Why didn't I think of that?" feeling. Kudos to the brilliant minds of the authors though. Hopefully, someone will have that same thought about one of my books one day. ;)

Donna K. Weaver said...

*shivers* Some intriguing books there. My to read list gets longer. Seriously, I've got to read faster.

J.R. Johansson said...

All three ideas are fab. Natalie and Kasie are such fantastic writers, and then they get these ideas...yeah, the envy is definitely there. Although, mine is curbed by the fact that I get to read them early. *cue evil laugh*

i'm erin. said...

I didn't suffer from Idea Envy...well, at least I didn't until now! Holy freaking cow those ideas are awesome. Ugh. I'm writing a book that's literary death compared to those. Ok, time to ramp up the idea train.

Natalie Whipple said...

Aw, thank you for coming to our little reading! It was so nice to have your support:)

I get idea envy ALL THE TIME, even though I have a lot of ideas. It seems like everyone else has better ones! I have been dealing with that a lot lately—my writer friends have such good ideas and sometimes I wonder why I even bother.

I even get Idea Envy when it comes to marketing and online stuff! Like you have such an amazing ability to get out there and generate great marketing/publicity ideas, and that intimidates me a lot when I meet others who have strengths there.

Wendy Paine Miller said...

I'll get these sweeping ideas and then roam B&N and see that so many have already been done. Such is the writing life.

Hey, I celebrate (celebrate good times, c'mon) you on my FB writer page today!

~ Wendy

Emily said...

Oh yes, I get this too. But occasionally, when I have a good idea, I worry someone else will also have this idea and carry it off way better than me.

So, yeah, either way.

Patti said...

All the time.

Kasie West said...

Thanks, Elana! You're the best.

And yes! I get idea envy all the time too. All the time. I just started EVERNEATH and was like, this idea is fantastic. Why can't I think of stuff like this?? :) Apparently we all get it. Ha!

Lindsay N. Currie said...

HAHA idea envy is the worst! And I think it strikes when you least expect it to. I always try to tell myself that any kind of envy can be used for good -- channeled so that I push myself harder. Good luck and for the record, CLEARLY YOUR IDEAS ARE NOT CRAPTASTIC :)

Kimberley Griffiths Little said...

Idea Envy? HECK YEAH!!!

I enjoyed UNDER THE NEVER SKY, too! got me a personalized, signed copy, even.

And TRANSPARENT sounds fantastic!

I find that the first whiffs or beginnings of an idea gets better when I brainstorm with other writer friends. Do you do that? Anybody else? It's *not* something I did the first few years I was writing, but I like to now.

Jessie Humphries said...

I find myself always having idea envy, and then I think, I couldn't have pulled that one off anyway! We are all capable of doing something other people can't do as well as ourselves. Methinks.

L.T. Elliot said...

I definitely get idea envy. And then I tell myself that it's not so bad because at least I get to READ those books!

Liza said...

I pretty much live with idea envy...at least it leaves me with many great books to read.

Candice said...

I love Natalie's and Kasie's books and Under the Never Sky is on my TBR list.

Susanne Drazic said...

All three books sound like they will be interesting reads. Thanks for sharing about them.

Jemi Fraser said...

These all sounds so good!! I do believe I'm experiencing that Idea Envy right now!!! :)

June G said...

LOL...Elana, you are a character, I'm telling you...You always (cliche alert!) hit the nail on the head! ROFL...Yep...I've been there :-) Thanks for your "on-the-spot" honesty. I look forward to it! Ha!

Leigh Covington said...

I'm so glad to hear that YOU suffer from idea envy! I look at people like you and think that you never have this problem (because I ALWAYS DO!) It has plagued me for life... but I feel... more human now!

So glad you shared, and these books sound great!

Corey Schwartz said...

OMG, I suffer form it ALL THE TIME> Only mine is the PB variety. Children Make Terrible Pets? A bear finds a little boy in the woods and brings him home. Why didn't I think of that! (sob, sob)

Angela Brown said...

If it's not idea envy I'm suffering from, it's "OMG!!!! I was thinking about that but it sounded stupid at the time but it sounds so smartly done by this author. Doh!!" yeah, got to love that.

I enjoyed Under the Never Sky as well. Although I'm mostly a fantasy and sci-fi chick, I enjoyed the premise of The Book Thief. Seriously, a story told from Death's POV? Egads.

Jen Chandler said...

Idea envy? ME? Nah...Just every. freaking. time. I go to the book store!!

Seriously though, I have to take a step back, remember that there are no new ideas out there and then take some new ideas here and there, see if I can rework them for my own evil devices, and voila! Instant new idea!

Either that, or I watch a new movie and INSTANTLY get a new character idea!

oh, and the word "craptastic" made me laugh out loud!

Cheers,
Jen

David P. King said...

I can't say I've ever had Idea Envy, but I have had a "oh crap, that idea was too close to one of mine." That was my experience when Avatar came out. That sounds like an awesome, book, though. :)

ryan graudin said...

I had this happen when I picked up Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke and Bone . And with Harry Potter (what creative mind didn't?!). But honestly, I think that it's not so much the idea behind the story as the way that it's carried out. There are some authors I am supremely jealous of not because of their ideas but because of the way they communicate them! Their execution leaves me drooling. I suppose I don't get idea envy quite as much because I know I couldn't "own it" the way the person who first came across it did.

Does that make any sense?

Kelly Polark said...

Yes! I see picture books and think "Dang! Why didn't I think of that first?!"

Angela Ackerman said...

Ugh, I would so get Idea envy from these too!

Still it's great to see these wonderful stories come to light, and I always feel richer in reading them. Imagine what it would be like to not have the ability to read...think of all the spectacular worlds that would be denied us.

Angela

Carolyn V said...

Who doesn't have writer's envy? They all sound so good. ;D

Voidwalker said...

I felt a bit like that when I read Neverwhere, by Neil Gaimen's "Neverwhere." It was so descriptive that I just felt like giving up, but then I remembered that he's been doing this a long time and I'm new. I still have a lot to learn and the more I read, the better I get. The more I write, the better I get. It's all up hill if you ask me :)

Heather said...

Heck yah, don't we all. I've GOT to read Under The Never Sky. I keep meaning to pick it up and keep getting busy. I'm going to go buy it right now!

Carol Riggs said...

Wow, yes, idea envy. Fabulous! And I adore the cover of UNDER THE NEVER SKY. Very striking. :)

Nichole Giles said...

I dunno. I think there are a bazillion awesome ideas out there right now. Guess it comes down to execution. And dude, your ideas are fab too. You rock the YA world with some of your own.

Can't wait to read all of these, though.

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