Ideas are like uncut gems. They are wonderful but rough finds. After refining the idea through plotting and revision you have a polished gem that glows. It is your story.
I have preferences toward the type of gems I like. I am partial to the deep purple of amethyst, the fire filled red ruby, dark blood of the garnet, brilliance of blue topaz, and glowing rich green of emerald. I also like obsidian depths of Onyx. I am not a real fan of bright white of Diamonds-too cold for my taste. I also have preferences toward the type of stories I like. I like dark, fantastical stories that have real stakes to them--people get hurt and pushed to the edge.
So how does one refine the rough gem of a story? There are many ways to approach it, you don't want just wildly hack at it -- that would destroy it. I am careful, I write a scene. I send it to a few people and I talk my idea over with them. I have to be careful, because sometimes my hand slips or I share the idea with the wrong person.
This week I had a rough idea of a Y. A. that was dark and dealing with violent issues. I told a few friends who gave me some positive feed back, then I shared it with a friend who had a intensely negative reaction. She hated the idea, saying vehemently, "I'd never read that." and "You can't write that!" She didn't want to hear that the point was working through the issues and rising above it. Her reaction made my hand slip and almost shatter the rough jewel of the story.
I questioned my idea and what I was doing with it. Why should I write this story? Is it too dark? Maybe I should just discard it. It shook me up. This is when a good and trusted CP (Critique partner) helps you. I turned to one who set me straight.
She told me, "Tell the story as it should be told."
I needed to hear that. When you present your ideas out there, there are many "jewelers" that have preferences. You have to find the ones that understand how you approach and write a story (gem). Its easy to tell someone that its a bad idea..because you can't handle the idea or its not something you would write or read. There is even the temptation to add to the cut of the story--sometimes its an excellent thing, other times it can shatter the idea. My idea almost shattered under the extreme reaction.
Then I realized, that perhaps there was something to the idea. If there was such a polar opposite reaction than I may have something.
I'm taking my jewel of a story and I am going to write it. Not sure when, but I am not throwing it away.
Has anyone else tried to shatter the jewel of your story idea? How did you overcome it?