Generating Ideas for Writing - Stealing Ideas

It seems that many writers are worried about someone stealing their ideas; obviously, I am almost the opposite. Even innovative ideas are very similar to past ideas. Today I am going to find a good idea to steal, and maybe innovate.


This is Jim Butcher, I am going to steal an idea from him. Why?

I was watching a video of Brandon Sanderson teaching writing. He mentioned that Jim Butcher was in an argument in a forum about whether ideas or writing skills are more important. Jim told his rival to give him the worst idea he had, and he would write a novel on it. The guy gave him the idea of combining the lost 13th Legion of Rome and Pokemon. Jim did it, he wrote a novel, and it sold well. So well that it became a very successful six book series. Ideas matter, writing skill matters much more; that is the lesson I took from the story.

I haven't read a book by Butcher, or from Sanderson for that matter, but looking at The Dresden Files it seems like Butcher uses an interesting device. He has a protagonist who is some kind of law enforcement/knight/wizard that serves a queen, because the queen can have a lot of different things going on he can send this protagonist on all sorts of different missions to all sorts of different places. A protagonist like this can have a basically unlimited number of stories to tell. Butcher isn't the first to use it. What is Bond if not an agent sent out on a bunch of different missions by a mostly unexplained superior power?

The basic idea here is that there is some sort of mostly independent agent that is given a mission. What are some other situations that we can apply this too? How about a corporate fixer? I think that would work. A king or queen and knight would obviously work. A spy or special forces agent or contractor is run by a government agency obviously works very well. A bounty hunter can work well. Someone that collects loans for the mob. Someone that reclaims big collateral items, an explorer, an assassin, a peace agent, a negotiator or mediator, an investigator/detective/lawyer, a project manager. All of these types of positions could fit the bill. What is one that I would be interested in?

What about a rescuer? Or maybe a prosecutor? Both can work well. People tend to like the rescuer more, and I think I would prefer to write about a rescuer more. Rescuing animals or kids and such is fine, but I would like to explore something a little more fantasy. What about a dragon rescuer? In a world where dragons wrecked havoc on humanity until humans learned how to kill them so efficiently that they almost extincted them, or maybe they did extinct them, but then they were brought back into existence through genetic engineering and cloning, but now they are kept in little cages in secret places, and dragons in this world are very intelligent and can have stronger connections with people than dogs or horses. Our protagonist, this rescuer, has some sort of personal back story that very strongly attaches him to dragons and the welfare of dragons. Maybe there is an agency or society that seeks to protect dragons, or maybe to destroy them. He worked for a government agency that seeks to destroy all dragons for the protection of humanity, but then he made a strong connection with one after it saved his life on some mission, he left the agency and now tries to save dragons from both enslavement and destruction with the help of a secret society. It was coming to me kind of fast there, it sounds pretty cool.

I think that is an excellent stolen idea. I may use it more in the future. You are welcome to join me at JeffreyAlexanderMartin.com

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