How You Can Make Your Writing Idea Work

“I had a terrific idea this morning, but I didn’t like it.” — Samuel Goldwyn


Problem: Have you searched for an idea for writing a blog post, article, or story? I have. Have you come up with nothing? I have. Or have you disliked the idea you came up with? Bingo!

Here’s what happened when I decided to practice what I preached. I used the brainstorming method I posted in: Brainstorming: Make Your Worst Idea the Most Unique Solution. I hope my experience helps you.

Finding the idea:

I jotted every phrase that popped into my head for a list of 30 ideas. After perusing the ideas, true to the method, I selected the worst idea: carved roast beef.

Image courtesy of Daniel St.Pierre at
Image courtesy of Daniel St.Pierre at

Carved roast beef? I stared at the phrase and then returned to the list, hoping I’d see a worse idea, because carved roast beef was like having no idea. But I’d said the method worked, and I had to be true to my claim.

So, I did the second step. I put aside my need and simply brainstormed things connected to carved roast beef: rare, slices, aroma, seasoned outer crust, etc.

I closed my brainstorming notebook. The challenge tired me. I needed to get downstairs to my grandchildren whom my husband and I were to babysit for a couple of days. Through the day, my stomach sunk a little more each time I thought of my challenge. I reminded myself to trust God.

MP900387863After two days babysitting, my younger grandson asked me to read Creepy Carrots!, words by Aaron Reynolds and pictures by Peter Brown. This book is a Caldecott Honor Book. I thought, what an off-the-wall idea, and it worked! No wonder it received the Caldecott honor. So fresh, so unique, and a great twist to the ending. This is what a book needs, whether a children’s book or an adult book. Pop! I had my idea for my blog post. Thank you, Lord.

A great story is like carved roast beef.

(Vegetarians and vegans, I apologize.)

I realized a Carved Roast Beef could offer a word picture for ensuring I wrote a great story:

Image courtesy of Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee at
Image courtesy of Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee at
  • The rarer the story idea the better.
  • Like the pleasing aroma and taste of seasoned crusts on either end of a roast, the story beginning and ending should delight readers to read on and to close the book satisfied.
  • The scenes between the beginning and end are like succulent slices of roast beef revealing meaty events of the plot all the way through. Each a work of art in itself.

Then, I could encourage my blog readers to pick up a book on the craft of writing to help them serve up a tasty story for their readers. I could list my favorites:

  • Hooked by Les Edgerton
  • On Writing by Stephen King
  • Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maas
  • Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King
  • Stein on Writing by Sol Stein
  • From the Inside…Out by Susan May Warren and Rachel Hauck
  • Kiss and Tell by Susan May Warren

Okay, so this is the story post within the how-to-make-your-idea-work post. The question I’d like to see answers to is:

Why did the last great book you read delight you?