Lately, I've been thinking a lot about ideas and Ideas--yes there is a difference between the two. Allow me to explain. Though we writers are a varied breed, every one of us gets ideas. We all approach them differently. However, I've noticed two distinct attitudes emerge when it comes to the nature and origin.
1. ideas: a beginning, a groundwork, a start. These ideas come from our own feeble minds and therefore they are something to be worked, pulled, prodded, dyed, clipped, chopped, stretched, painted, mashed, scrubbed, kneaded, and otherwise put through the ringer.
2. Ideas: a flicker of something amazing. We, the writer, should close our eyes and wait, listen, learn. We may need to do some gentle exploring, but not too much. If you prod too much, the Idea will be tainted by your own ugly, mortal hands.
Remember, I am talking about the initial stages. Once that novel is written, then we are working with a flesh and blood draft. That's a different animal. Most of us view the draft as something to be worked, pulled, prodded, etc, etc, etc. What I'm talking about right now is that initial spark. The idea. . . the Idea.
What do you think? And dig deep here, because I know half of your are about to say, "It's both." In my mind, it can't really be both. With ideas, we need to spend a great deal of time with it, before it's worth writing a word. Yes, an aspect of that idea may sparkle and excite, but the rest must be developed with care. Ideas, however, are something that we shouldn't mess with until after it is contained in the body of a story.
I should put you at ease right now, this is not one of those frantic plea-for-help post of a conflicted mind that I'm rather prone to writing. No dilemma going on over here. I'm just intrigued by the dichotomy. What's your opinion?