Last week I posted this Tweet:
#MSWL a book based on this crazy story:
If you haven’t read the article you absolutely must. It’s the creepiest thing I’ve heard in a long time. Since reading it I’ve thought and thought about what kind of book I’d like to see and then I thought about all of the different types of books that someone could create from this crazy story.
Which is why I think writers sometimes worry a little too much about protecting an idea. The idea in this case is a book based on this particular true story, but what any one writer does with that idea will likely be completely different from what another writer will create.
A YA author might create a story about a young girl who moves with her family into the house and is either possessed by a demon or lives in terror of what is in the walls. Maybe she has supernatural powers, maybe she doesn’t.
A suspense or mystery author might create the story of a killer who used live in the house and buried bodies in the walls, or a killer who killed as a child and is now trying to get back in the house because he needs to be there to start killing again.
A romance writer might write the story of a woman who inherits the house and moves in only to be terrorized by these letters, stalked even, when the hero comes to investigate and saves the day, and they fall in love.
A SFF writer could write the story of an alien abduction that happened in or around the house…
Or, even if all of the writers who take my idea and run with it write in the same genre, the possibilities are endless. What’s really going to be important isn’t the idea (although that’s a terrific first step), but the execution. How the idea or the story plays out, who the characters are and the author’s voice.