Do you have a good idea that you dream of turning into a novel? In a long and practical interview at AV Club, novelist Joe Hill reminded aspiring writers that the idea is only the beginning.
You should read the entire interview, it includes thoughts about his new horror-fantasy novel NOS4A2, Hill’s comic book work, his literary relationship to his father, Stephen King.
I think the execution is more important than the ideas. An idea is just an adhesive that you use to stick a reader to a character. But the adhesive doesn’t last for very long. And then if the reader hangs in, they’re only hanging in because they care about that character. It’s almost like—the best and worst bubblegum is Juicy Fruit. Because it tastes so good when you first chew into it, but the flavor goes out of it after about 30 seconds, and then you’re just chewing this nasty lump of concrete. And a good concept can be a little bit more interesting than a stick of Juicy Fruit, it can have a little bit more flavor to it. But I do think all the nutrients are in characters. The satisfying meal is who these people are.