So I Had An Idea…

I had this idea.

Not so unusual, I have ideas quite regularly. More ideas than some other people, I like to think.

But this was a good idea. Well, a better idea than most of mine, I reckon. A cut above the rest.

So I did what I do. I got my little book out and I scribbled something down about it and then I looked at the scribble for a while and thought, “Yup, it’s still a good idea.” 

Then, when I got home and on to my computer, I rattled down a page-and-a-bit about it.  I have to do that, not so much because I will forget the idea but because I can quickly become very un-enamoured by it. If that happens, and I’ve not bothered scribbling something about it, then it’s gone. But, if I get it down, and then grow to hate it, I may look at it again in months or years to come and rekindle some old flame. Who knows? Either way, it’s a shame not to cover the bases just in case.

But that’s not the point. You know my posts, the points tend to come in this middle part, after an only-tenuously-related preamble. It’s like an older Simpsons episode, in that respect if no other.

The point of this post is actually about the little train of thought I had after I got this good idea. I had got the idea scribbled down, like I said, wrote a bit more about it, then I looked at it some more and I said to myself, “I know, I’ll write that up as a pitch and I’ll pitch it to ‘X’.” (‘X’ is a particular person I had in mind.) That thought actually remained in my brain, unchallenged, for at least thirty entire seconds. My brain sort of wallowed in it for that time. A nice pitch from me, lots of excitement and interest in the pitch, an offer, a gig, ‘Bob’s Your Feckin’ Uncle’.

Than that other part of my brain kicked in. The real part.

“Sorry, who the fuck are you?” it said.

“Eh? What?”

“Who the fuck are you? William Goldman or someone?”

“I don’t really follow your-“

“”You’ll pitch this” and “you’ll pitch that”.”

“I don’t-“

“You don’t, you don’t… Wake up. You Don’t Get To Pitch Stuff, Fuckwit.”



That particular part of my brain is thankfully pretty sensible. It may go to sleep for the occasional month here-and-there but eventually it will snap back awake and sort me out, often in a rude fashion similar to the one illustrated above.

I sometimes need to be reminded how I don’t get to pitch stuff. I’d been reading too much Twitter again. I know people on there who get to pitch stuff and make good things happen in that way. For a moment or two, I slipped up and mistook myself for one of those guys.

I’m not. They get to pitch stuff and I don’t.

And why do they get to pitch stuff and you don’t? Eh, Ken eh? Why is that?

That’s simple. Because they’ve earned the right to get to do that. They’re earned their spurs. They had some good ideas, earlier on, and they brought them to realisation by sweat and guts and perseverance and sheer-force-of-will.  Now people will heed their pitch – because they know they can deliver a good product off the back of it. Oh, I’ve had plays produced (eight radio, eight theatre, I think) and I’ve won a few things and had bits-and-pieces published here and there but I haven’t proved myself widely enough to be in a pitching position. Not yet.

So you’ve got a pitch, Ken?  That’s good, a pitch is a great foundation, a template for things to come, a hanger to hang your newest writing-thing upon.

Now just go and bloody write it.

All of it.

Not a pitch, not an outline, not a draft, not a treatment, sketch, schematic, synopsis, not none of that. Not none of it. Write the whole thing. Then rewrite it and make it  as great as you possibly can.  (But it’s a novel, this idea… 95,000 words, I think). Brilliant, off you go, you’ve done it before, now do it again.

I don’t get to make pitches… but I get to write whatever I want and, for now, that’s exciting and good enough for me. I’ve always thought that I’m a good writer. Sorry if that sounds poncey, I just have. And recently, my confidence may have been a tad less than what it previously was. But, sod that, I think I’m back on track now. I reckon I’m pretty damned good and if I can do the work that I know I’m capable of then I can move forward in the way that I want to and pretty much need to.

So consider this a Mission Statement for yours truly. I’ve had a great idea for a new novel and I’m going to write it and write it and write it and edit it and then write it some more and I’m going to make it as good as I bloody well can…

And if I do it well enough…

And if someone likes it…

And if…

And if…

And if…

Then maybe I can be a pitch writing person too.

Let’s just see…


William Gallagher said...

I thought this was sounding more and more defeatist until suddenly it was more and more perky – until suddenly it was roaring optimism and determination. Sold. I'm going to go write the play I thought of in the car the other night.


Jim Murdoch said...

Y’know, I’ve never considered pitching anything to anyone before. Not anything writing related. I’ve always equated pitches with films or television programmes but, you’re right, there’s no reason why I couldn’t pitch someone my idea for a book. I have one sitting ready right now, the idea for my next book which I’ve spent the last two years not writing despite the fact that it’s a good idea. To my mind a pitch is like a synopsis which is hard enough to write when you’ve finished the damn whatever-it-is-you’re-trying-to-flog. On second thoughts I suppose a pitch is more like a theory that needs proving. The Sinclair C5 sounded like a good idea and the fact is electric cars are a good idea and are being manufactured and selling twenty years on and yet, according to Wikipedia, Sir Clive’s still mucking around with the C5—now called the X1—but as you’ll see from his webpage nothing much’s come of it. But it is a good idea. He’s just obviously not the bloke to take it to the next level. And that’s how I’ve felt about a lot of the ideas I’ve had over the years; they are good ideas but I’m not the bloke to write them. I think that’s why, when I do have a genuinely-good idea that I keep it to myself and only tell people about it when the prototype’s ready for beta readers.