For example, my favorite book of last year, Shadow & Bone. This book is a layered, nuanced tale set in a fantastically rich folkloric setting--but the story really boils down to a girl who must choose to accept herself in order to master her powers and determine which of two men she really loves. It's a story of the heart, no matter its setting and secondary details--those bits make the story come alive, mind you, but the story at heart is simple and RELATABLE.
Here's where I come in. I have too many ideas. Upon reading that last sentence, some of you may say, GIVE ME A BREAK, but just wait--stay with me! Having too many ideas can be a problem. Secondary plot lines can add richness, or they can cloud the waters. There is a very fine line between the two states.
|A typical project room wall in Product Design|
One design, one idea.
This notion was genius to me--and still is. Here I was, killing myself weaving three different concepts into one sketch when I could just make three quick sketches instead (which would come more easily from the lack of complication). I've been thinking about this concept in regards to writing these days, and I think the same mantra can be easily applied to storytelling:
One book, one idea.
I'm trying to let myself embrace the idea. It's much harder to risk 50 or 80 thousand words on the effort (as opposed to a ten second sketch), but every time I read an excellent book I find the same theory put to work--great books tell a great story--ONE great story. So tell your story. Tell just that story. Tell it from your unique point of view, in your unique voice, and let that ONE story shine.