I read a lot. I get through at least one book most weeks, and at the back of my mind there is this thought: Could I write a book?
Could I write 80,000-100,000 words, with an interesting beginning, twists and turns throughout, building towards a crescendo? Can I make the characters interesting, with some kind of defining back story? Would the main protagonist be believable, exciting, moral? Would they be some kind of a super human, like Jack Reacher, or would they be thrown into situations completely out of their depth, like Rincewind, the cowardly wizzard from the Discworld series? (On Rincewind’s hat he has written Wizzard, with two z’s.) Would the book be set in the present day, the past, the future, or all three? Would it be a romance, sci-fi, historical, comedy or fantasy? Would it be written in the first person or the third person; I did this, or he did that?
Sometimes I read a book that is so good I know that I could never write anything of that quality, for example, Fahrenheit 451 or The Name of the Wind. How can someone write a book that is able to draw you in so completely?
How can someone write a series of books with so many competing characters, giving them all space to develop, and still make you want to read every page, for example, Game of Thrones or The Traitor Son Cycle? How are some authors able to be so prolific, Brandon Sanderson, while for others it can appear to be like pulling teeth, Patrick Rothfuss?
On the other side, sometimes I read a perfectly good book and think to myself, I could write something as good as that. I enjoy reading Richard Laymon’s style of trashy horror/splatterpunk novels, they are a guilty pleasure, but deep down, I’m sure that I could write something equally as good, possibly with deeper characters and less contrived situations.
Authors are often asked where they get their ideas from. I have ideas. They come to me when I’m out running or walking on my own, or with our dog, although her input is very minimal with the ever present theme of unlimited bones. One very unoriginal idea I have, is what if the Covid vaccines contained nano-microchips, and that when a tipping point is reached, the microchips become activated and act like a hive mind, turning every person in the world who has received the vaccine into psychopathic cannibals.
Can I flesh out that basic premise into a full blown novel? Would anyone want to read it? Would anyone want to publish it? I’m not naïve enough to expect Penguin or Gollancz to publish it, with a huge five book advance and film studios entering into a bidding war over the rights? It would definitely be self published as an e-book, but how long would it take to write. If I could steal an hour every other day, and manage 500 words, then it would take nine or ten months, plus another couple of months refining and re-writing. Maybe a little extra, just in case.
I’m going to write in my diary, Publish Book, 1st September 2023.