Monday, 28 June 2010


I used to hate the word, "conceit," as it would conjure up images of people who thought they were better than they were, especially people like the kids I went to school with. But then I plunged into writing, and discovered that "conceit" could have a different meaning, a nobler meaning, that of an image or idea that is extreme or unrealistic, but is absolutely necessary for the construction of a particular story. Or script, because I dabble in writing for the screen as well.

The conceit is the Holy Grail, it is the cookie that satisfies you after a long day of struggling and pondering. It is what separates the men from the boys, the shit from the brilliant, the prize winners from the wasteland of slush.

I spend my time pondering the next brilliant conceit. I think about it when I'm driving my car, or in the shower, or while I'm exercising. So far, I've been occasionally clever, and somewhat insightful, but no moments of pure this-will-make-me-famous.

When fans ask the infamous question of their favourite big-time author, "Where do you get your ideas?" what they're really asking is, "Where in the hell did you come up with that conceit that was so amazing that it put you in the running with the Stephen King's and John Grisham's of the world?"

Aside from selling their souls to the devil, I'm sure they simply came up with the ideas randomly, or from some reading or research that interested them or sent them in a particular direction.

This is the part where I ask the fates for a bit of a shove in the conceit direction, because I have no interest in selling my soul. I need it for later. And the only direction my research has pointed me is on the boring, it-has-been-done-already heading.

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