Okay, I admit it. I don't get people who can't come up with new ideas. I'm not trying to judge or preach. I simply can't comprehend it because I literally cannot shut off my own mind.
My husband can tell you when my story hamster is in her wheel.
But I meet or hear of so many other writers who can't seem to come up with story ideas. Maybe they are putting too much pressure on their hamster. Maybe they expect their hamsters to find the perfect story for them. Maybe they accidently killed their hamster.
So they turn to others to come up with story ideas for them. Maybe they turn to a critique partner. Maybe they buy an app like the Story Plot Generator from the Microsoft Store. Maybe they take a writing course on plotting or buy a how-to book.
But then there are the underground places where someone will sell you an outline for a novel.
Is this a good plan?
It really depends. Why are you doing it? Are you trying to jump start your hamster? Or is your hamster perfectly fine, but you don't trust it to win the race?
Here's the bigger problem, as I see it. Ideas are a dime a dozen, but if you're buying an idea from someone else, I can guarantee you'll pay more than ten cents for even one story idea/outline. Would that money be better spent on cover art, editing or formatting?
But the core of if the problem is something most writers don't consider. It's not the idea itself that gets people to buy your books. It's the execution.
Are you making your reader feel the feels? Or are you doing some paint by number schtick?
What made Harry Potter work when there are thousands of orphan books and boarding school books and magic books?
If you say it's that particular combination of subject matter, I'd say think again. Siegel and Shuster did it with Superman decades before J.K. Rowling. The creators made both Clark and Harry relatable while giving them fantastic powers.
So why would a reader care about characters that you didn't care enough to invent them?
Or are you using someone else's ideas to insulate yourself from disappointment?
I get how rejection feels. The bad reviews. The low sales. If the idea you bought fails, well, it isn't you fault, is it? It had to be the fault of the person who sold you the outline.
Whether or not you use an plot outline you bought from someone else is totally your decision. But please know yourself well enough to figure out why you're doing it instead of coming up with your own ideas. In the end, I think you best bet as a writer is trusting your own hamster.
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