Lousy Ideas

Okay, I couldn’t make my Monet Challenge work at all. What seemed like a really elegant and terrific idea, inspired by an Impressionist painter, turned out to be something that didn’t work in words. I am not a big fan of tricks in writing unless they are entertaining, and this one, though intellectually and theoretically  intriguing, ended up being boring and a bit like navel gazing. (Me! Me! Me! My stuff! My insights! My cleverness!)

So let’s talk about lousy ideas. I’ve just owned up to one of mine. Let’s hear about a writing idea or piece that you tried that really tanked once you got into it. It might also help to hear what you learned from this kind of dead end. (I have several more, but now it’s your turn.)

14 responses to “Lousy Ideas

  1. This wasn’t a lousy idea; it was a good idea with a lousy outcome. I once wrote a paper in college, which I thought was brilliant. The committee didn’t like it and they rejected it. So I wrote them a letter explaining how ignorant and insular they were. They didn’t like that one either.

    • Limited are those who do not see our own brilliance.
      Know-it-alls are annoying to those of us who do.

      I think Confucius said one or both of those. I think he would have dug the challenge and your paper. 🙂

      That challenge was incredibly hard. I don’t think that I could write a complete story every day around the same thing – unless that thing could change frequently or be interacted with frequently. Monet could use the light, time of day/year to change the perspective the focal object. I think that this challenge reminded me of the screenplay that Stephen King wrote for “Cat’s Eye.” Three different stories that had only the link of the cat.

      • And remember that movie that centered around a Cadillac, though it was three or four different stories, all taking place in different eras? Perhaps we shall all have to park this idea for a while and let it percolate.

    • Hey, Waldo. Good to see you back. Don’t you agree, though, that some things work really well in words and writing while other things don’t? This is a thought I have had, but now that I write it, I realize it begs for an example or at least a more careful explanation. I shall give it some more thought. Anyway, it’s good to see you. And you’re still funny.

    • Hilarious, I’d love to have heard their conversation about that letter.

  2. Ann, I know you offer classes at SLCC. I am wondering if you offer different types of courses? My company has a staff of 4, we would like to take a writing class to sharpen our business writing skills. We have a team meeting scheduled in March. Do you offer a course’s where you come to our team meeting and present?

    • Hello Lindsi,
      All the classes I teach are online, and one of them is called Effective Business Writing. This course takes six weeks and consists of 12 lessons. Each lesson has an assignment that participants can post, giving me the chance to share feedback to each individually. Everyone can use nicknames to preserve anonymity. Even though I no longer do workshops on site, I have found that the online course gives participants many more opportunities to practice writing and learn new ways to make their work documents more effective. I recommend this option to you and your company. You can examine the syllabus and costs at http://www.ed2go.com under the Writing and Publishing category. I hope you will!

  3. Thank you Ann. I will take a look at the website.

  4. Waldo should write comedy for a living….you’re a funny guy!


    Driving my 1971 Ford Pinto to the bank to cash in the Enron stock that my broker, Bernie Madoff got me into, so I can use the cash to invest in a Health Food Store in Chernobyl,

    • I’m tempted to engage in a Lousy Idea competition with you. Here goes:

      Ann’s Lousy Idea:
      Touching something soft and gooey on the underside of the formica table at Louie’s Suck It Inn just before the waitress brings me the Special of the Day: an order of breaded and deep fried GooGoo Clusters and their local brand of six month old whiskey, served in a painted ceramic mug showing Louie rubbing his fat stomach.

      • Lady Linquist, if I was Shirley McClain, I would claim that we had been tent mates in some remote desert 1,000,000 years ago. We have a kindred, twisted spirit that causes us to commit literary abuse once in a while. Deep Fried GooGoo Clusters and dripping formica….Brilliant !
        Honorable mention on the name of the dive also, Suck It Inn, you are my hero.

  6. I take that as a compliment, Peanut! Let’s live forever or at least plan to meet in the afterlife.

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