This new essay was just published in the literary journal The Tishman Review. Read here or visit http://www.thetishmanreview.com/
Whenever I teach a class about writing and publishing, there is always a student who asks, “Aren’t you worried your ideas will be stolen?” This is probably because of my teaching philosophy, which is to share everything in the world I know that might help them.
I always answer, “No. I’m not afraid my ideas will be stolen.” In the first place, the very essence of an idea is that it can’t be stolen. An idea is an intangible thing. Add to it the writer’s voice; toss in her version of plot, character, and setting; and you’ve got something that can’t be exactly duplicated.
Maybe there are only two or three or twelve basic plots, as some writing teachers like to point out. And maybe if that monkey sits at the computer long enough it will eventually type out Romeo and Juliet. I tell my own students that most good stories are basically about three things: love, loss, or longing (or any two or all of these in combination). On the surface that might not seem to allow for much creativity, but the beauty of it is that there are as many stories about love, loss, and longing as there are human beings. Continue reading