Almost every single person who reads books has tried their hands at writing some time or the other. Though some do get lucky, go on to be published and become successful, it’s exceedingly rare, and for most of us, the attempts end disastrously . . . and hilariously, messed up.
Mostly, and I’m talking of the younger readers out there, the inspiration to write comes when you have downed a couple of good fantasy or sci-fi series, but haven’t got high enough experience of the genre. You are happily reading and one day, have that light-bulb moment and your train of thoughts go something like,” Hell yeah! I’ll write a fiction series of my own, and then bang, I’m as famous as Rowling.”
I used the J. K. Rowling reference above not only because her Harry Potter series has become something like a holy grail for young readers new to fantasy, but also because she is the most well-known and apt example of this ‘rags-to-riches’ story, going from living on benefits to multi-millionaire status. Hence her name comes to mind immediately when teenagers first get the idea of writing a novel (at least, it happened with me).
But that’s the point folks. Rowling, and all other immensely successful authors for that matter, have the genius to think of an original and engaging storyline and world, and their writing style is their own. They got the ingenuity to think of the ‘idea that clicked’ and got lucky, since mainstream fiction is an exceedingly competitive arena as sure as the sun rises in the east & even good authors go years before finding any major success.
An easy way to see whether a person has the potential to be successful is to see what they're writing, and how persistent they are. Clichéd storylines and borrowed writing style doesn't get you anywhere, and funnily enough that’s what we kids do! We think of a plot that seems impressive (to us) by mixing and matching those of our favorite books and try to imitate the style of our favorite authors, going as far as to ‘borrow' whole phrases and passages out of their repertoire. Eventually, the realization sets in, we mourn the time wasted (that could've been employed to study, in my case) and move on. Those ambitious manuscripts either become a matter to laugh about later on, for boring Saturday evenings when you got nothing else to do except gossip. Or else, they are hidden from prying eyes, buried so deep that the pirates of old, who hid their treasures in much the same manner, would be envious.
After that lengthy treatise on ‘writing-philosophy', its time to begin the (comparatively short) narrative. A couple of years ago, it got into my head that I needed to write a sci-fi book to make the world aware of my (non-existent) talents in the field. I didn't create a plot of my own though (I lacked the creativity for that sort of a thing). Rather I decided to write a series of novels using the storyline of the famous Halo series of FPS games, which I found had a lot of potential to be used in a book, because of its complex world and plot (I can visualize the gamers among those reading this post nodding sagely in-front of their PC screens).
I spent three months thinking about the plot, filling in the gaps and adding more twists to it than a dozen spy movies or ‘Call Of Duty’ games can hope to achieve (I cringe to think of that wasted time, now). I even finished about a third of what was supposed to be the first book, and you can imagine how “good” a job I must’ve done.
I said above that Halo had a lot of potential to be implemented into a sci-fi series. Apparently it wasn't only me who had this realization. Because, one day while idly browsing the net, I (SHOCK! OUTRAGE!) found that there were already six books on it. Bungie and Microsoft had contacted Eric Nylund and some other authors for the work, the bastards.
I resolved to read the works that had brought about the “demise” of my writing career (so I thought). And I found the surprises didn't end there. Not only the first book written by Nylund had the same title that I had though for ‘my' first book, but the prologues to both were almost the same! What he wrote was obviously superior (duh), but THAT'S beside the point.
Anyway, so I decided to abandon writing, and decided to choose a more viable career path (sigh). As consolation, Nylund’s book was pretty damn good!