Story ideas don’t have to die. They can simply evolve into other ideas.
I’ll share an example since this date plays a part in the story.
Seventeen years ago, Kurt Cobain shot himself dead at the age of 27. Not long after that happened, I discovered that his age wasn’t a random thing. There were quite a few famous musicians who have died at the age of 27. They’re called “The 27 Club”. Musicians like Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, and Jimi Hendrix all died when they were 27-years-old, thus becoming a part of this infamous “club.”
So I had the idea of a man who happened to be a musician who believed that he was going to die when he was 27. I wanted to write it when I was 27, thus taking this journey with this character. I wasn't sure if it was going to be deadly serious or slightly funny or what.
This idea really went nowhere, but I kept it in my back pocket like so many other pieces of ideas I have.
A few years ago, I decided to morph this idea into another one. It was about a man who worked in the music business (but this time he’s a producer) who’s told he’s going to die on his 40th birthday. Same idea in one sense—a man who believes he’s going to die and the journey of whether he will or won’t. But it’s a very different story than one I would’ve written if I was writing about the 27-year-old.
Some story ideas don’t work. Period. Other times, they need a little time to ferment. Sometimes one idea will lead to another. But don’t just toss an idea away into a black hole to never find again. You never know when that idea might lead to something else, which might lead to a book that coincides with someone’s birthday.
Amazing how things like that can work out.
Labels: 40, tips, writing