Everyone has a story burning inside them just waiting to be told. And many of those people feel it is their duty, their obligation, to make sure we authors know about their story because they are convinced it's the next New York Times best seller waiting to get published.
I get approached often by folks with story ideas they want to share with me. Usually they pull me aside and lower their voices like they're about to disclose the secrets that will once and for all blow open the mystery of the Kennedy assassination. As if their story is so remarkable, so fantastic, they fear for their life that someone will hear it and run with it before they get a chance to tell it to me and thereby claim a portion of the glory for themself.
It goes something like this:
"I have this story I know will sell millions. What if a scientist found some dinosaur DNA and was able to recreate dinosaurs by blending the DNA with that of a living reptile. And what if the dinosaurs broke loose and starting terrorizing New York City, killing people, stomping buildings, destroying everything. Well, what do you think?"
Um, I think that story's already been told.
Or sometimes like this:
"Okay, this one is a sure hit. What if a woman didn't want to be a woman anymore and had a scientist take parts from an ape and implant them in her, and what if she then slowly mutated into an ape and fell in love with a silverback gorilla. Only the silverback knows she really isn't an ape and tries to kill her. She escapes to America where she is put in a zoo and eventually drowns because she falls in the water and gorillas can't swim. Awesome, huh?"
Yeah . . . no.
But my favorite always goes like this:
"Okay, here's the beginning . . . a man wakes up one morning to discover he's invisible. There, I got you started now you take it from there and run with it."
[Insert blank stare and sound of crickets here.]
Do you have a story burning inside you? If so, here's my suggestion: you write it. No one knows your story like you do and no one has the passion for your story like you do. It's your story and only you can write it.