I just started reading Snow Crash for the first time yesterday. I read about 100 pages yesterday afternoon, and another 30 so far this morning, and I’ve just figured out what Neal Stephenson’s idea was. Like … my mind … I … Neal Stephenson had a really interesting idea. Then he built on it and wrote a story and a world around it. Snow Crash is the book that that story became. I will definitely read the other 340 pages that he wrote; it’s well-written and compelling. Still, as I figured out the “big idea” he had (well before any of the characters revealed it in any clear way), I felt like there was no longer any reason for me to read the book.
I think that this sort of mindset is the other side of the reason I seem to have trouble writing in general, and may have trouble writing this novel next month: That once I’ve got the “big idea” nailed down and understood, I’m done. I recently wrote down a couple of “big ideas” that I had, and … That was that. I remember thinking to myself that if I could extend either of these ideas to create a fully-detailed world (which I think I can), then maybe I could take a peek into that world and find a story and write that story. Except … I haven’t. Maybe I will in May.