Um, so…I don’t have children. I have absolutely no experience with labor except for the time I was born and I don’t exactly recall anything about it. My mother assures me it was horrible. Thirty-six hours in labor, blah, blah, blah. I’ve heard that for thirty-five years, so that’s about as close as I’ve come to birth. Well, except for writing because you can’t have a story without an idea and stories can quickly consume your life…kind of like kids, I suppose.
Like Jillian, I get my ideas from everything around me. It could be something someone says, it could be something I see, or read, or it could be a song I heard. In fact, there’s one story I’m itching to write because every time I hear this one particular song…
Anyway, ideas should be the cornerstone of your writing. Your brain should be popping out ideas faster than you write, otherwise what will you have to write about after you finish your first book? You can’t just stop there! You have to keep going! My mom, the poor woman who spent thirty-six hours birthing me, made me sit down and tell her how many ideas I had for future books (because she’s worried I’ll stop writing) *snort* We counted sixteen that I have a solid plan for, but um, I didn’t include the ones I’d already started that have been simmering on the back burner for a year or more. They’re all stored in my trusty external hard drive. But that’s beside the point.
Ideas are what make a writer a writer. As far as I’m concerned, writing isn’t an exact science. Yes, we can learn everything about it we can, but that doesn’t mean it’ll work. There’s no formula that spells success (thank God because I was never good at math). It’s trial by fire. You start with that spark of an idea and mold it into a story. But it’s that idea that starts everything no matter where you get it from.
Do you write down future story ideas, or do you save them all in your head like I do (until my mother interfered with my process)? How many story ideas can you come up with off the top of your head?
Interesting post and thanks for sharing. I sometimes keep new ideas in my head when I do the occasional short stories but I tend to research my ideas before jotting them down on paper or computer screen.
What is this research you talk about? 😉 Just kidding. Yes, I research almost immediately after I get the idea as well.
Right now, I have over 60 story ideas logged-in. I can’t rely on my memory for anything these days, so the least I’ve done is a page with the concept or the opening scene … or some key about the main character.
For quite a few of these, I have a page or more of hand-written notes — this could be a pivotal scene or perhaps some dialog.
There’s a step up (from those) — with TYPED notes. This may be as few as a few hundred words or up to 1000 or more.
A smaller number of these five dozen story ideas have several thousand words already. This is a combination of notes about the very rough outline of the story, plus some character info and nearly always some dialog blocks.
A few have already developed even more, with over 10,000 words. These already have some attempt at organization and outline and character arcs.
So, your question is about the birth of a story. My answer is that I have ‘teenagers’, rambunctious kids, toddlers, infants, and some still in the oven.
LOL, great answer, Jeff!
Opening lines and titles are jotted down in most notebooks and stacks of 3×5’s that I have. Some ideas are fleshed out a bit with an outline or thought path. I don’t remember if I don’t write it down. The ideas come from things I see or hear or sometimes just a thought. The mind puts a picture there and the scene flows.
Hm, I wonder if 3×5’s would work for me. Probably not because I can’t read my handwriting, but I may try that anyway. Thanks for commenting!
Me either, Llew. If I don’t write it somewhere, it’s gone with the wind.
3×5 cards wouldn’t work for me, however. Those would be thie ideas which needed just a few more lines than each card offered.
[Though some of my ‘concept-only’ notes are literally a phrase alone on a full tablet page — LOL]
See, I thought 16 was a lot and then I scroll down and see ole overachiever, Jeff, with his 60 and I feel like my poor little 4 are almost ophans. Yipes!! I DO try to keep new thoughts at bay as I write. Don’t want too much confusion going on. LOL! Love this post, Miss 36 hours!
As you know, Danica, I have a one track mind. 🙂
I like to finish a story once I start it. That said- I do pile up ideas sometimes…like now- I have three stories started. There are prolly 2-3 other ideas lurking in files on my computer, but not sure if those will ever becomes more than just ideas.
I’m horrible at organizing, so if I don’t work on a story straight through I tend to forget where I left my notes.
Lots of love, D