I feel so loved in that I receive so many emails! Unfortunately it's impossible for me to answer them. But I do read them all (eventually!) and try to answer those questions I get most often on my blog. Here's a repeater (paraphrased):
I think you are the most wonderful writer in the entire world and I envy your mad skills with words."
(I did say I was paraphrasing...so why not? Ahem...)
"I have a wonderful idea for a book, and I've tried to write it for the past couple of years. Unfortunately I just can't seem to do it justice. I'd like to offer you the opportunity to collaborate with me. I'll outline the idea for you, you write the book, and we'll split the royalties. Please have your agent get in touch with me to work out the financial arrangements.
The answer to this question, I'm sorry to say, will always be "Thank you so much, but I must decline." Every writer I know would answer the same way (though some would use harsher diction). Why is that? Well, I'd be happy to explain.
What these wonderful people want to sell to me is an idea. The truth is, ideas are not hard to come by. I get an idea for a book every day. I jot them down and tremble with impatience for the opportunity to write that book. I have way too many ideas for my own good. Ah, for the time to write every book in my brain! Ideas are like viruses. I remember a time when I didn't think I would write a book because I just didn't have enough ideas. But once I started writing books, the ideas multiplied and multiplied. The more I write, the more ideas I have.
But what if their idea is so marvelous, so perfect, so amazing! It doesn't really matter. The real work, the real time, comes in writing the story, not coming up with the idea. Writing a novel is really, really hard work for me. It usually takes years. The idea is the easy part--the hard part is finding the story in the idea, the characters and their arcs, the questions the story asks, the reason the story matters, and the right words to tell it. Compensation for writing a book is so low, it would be crazy for a writer to split their meager share with someone who isn't doing the work. It would be impossible.
So keep that idea, nurture yourself as a writer, and get to the point where you can tell the story. You're the best person for the job.
P.S. Sorry I haven't revealed the super secret project yet! I never would have mentioned it if I'd known how long it would take. It could be next week or in two months. But you'll be the first to know!