Since the pollen from all those damn May flowers that the April showers brought up is keeping me all stuffy and sickly, I would prefer those rains bring me ideas instead…
Speaking of ideas, I don’t know about you folks, but they always seem to come to me at the most random times. Actually, they tend to come at quite inconvenient times, like right before I fall asleep, right when I wake up or, my favorite, in the shower. I’m not sure why that is, but I end up washing my hair while repeating the idea (or dialog. It’s often a conversation between characters so I must sound like Sybil…) over and over to myself so I don’t forget it before I rinse and get out! My friend John says the shower is where he gets many of his ideas as well. Does everyone and why is that? I think it must be a decent part of the population since someone stopped to make this product, AquaNotes, which I have yet to purchase but will at some point!
So now that you have had this crazy, exciting, hopefully somewhat original idea, what do you do next? Do you sit down immediately and start banging out your story? Do you outline? Maybe some research is necessary first. Perhaps you have another project (or uhh 4) in the works and you have to put it on a back burner for a bit. Do you have a notebook where you keep those ideas? Maybe you use a spreadsheet or keep a file on your computer?
Personally, I keep notes in Word or type them up as Facebook notes but never actually publish them. That way no one else will steal my award winning ideas (ha!). My notes are normally a jumbled mass of fragments and grammatically incorrect sentences. I’m just anxious to get everything down before it slips through my sieve of a mind.
If I can, I like to start on an idea immediate. I think it’s that initial excitement that gets my stories moving. For this reason I think I shy away from stories that need major research. All that fact finding bogs me down and takes away that burst of creative steam a new idea normally gives me. Now, I’m sure it’s different for everyone, so don’t go thinking my way is the way it has to be. Some people live to research! I give you guys props because frankly, it tends to bore me to death.
So what becomes of all those ideas? Do they all make it into a full length novel? Umm, not very likely. For me anyhow. They occasionally don’t work out to be as grand as I had first imagined them to be. Then I get sad because I put in a lot of time and effort and who wants to see a half finished book sitting on your shelf? I find that if I put the story away and work on something else for a while, when I come back to it, months or even years later, I can regain some of that enthusiasm that got me started in the first place and get back to work finishing it. Never give up on those ideas! They may not become your best work, but love that one small idea led to pages and pages of entertainment.
What’s up with you and your ideas? Do you carry around a little notebook or voice recorder to capture them? Do you pounce and get to work on them immediately or let them simmer and see what becomes after they stew a while? Do you ignore them if you’re already in the middle of a project? How do you make it work? Inquiring minds want to know!