Monday, July 26, 2010

Ideas, Ideas, Ideas...

"The value of an idea is in the using of it" - Thomas Edison
This weekend I took a step back from my WIP to look at the overall structure and where the story was headed. Did I have enough conflict? Were my hero and heroine behaving in character? Did my story fit the line I was targeting? Was the Black Moment, black enough? What did my characters learn? Sometimes I can't see the forest for the trees when I'm in the middle of writing it.

I filled up pages of my large notebook. Unfortunately, most of those pages were dedicated to new ideas. I wrote out basic plot ideas for three new books. I can add these to the pile of other index cards and notebooks I have filled with more story ideas than I'll ever have time to write. I don't know how this happens. Many days my brain feels lethargic and very non (or un?) creative. It's as if I'm walking through quick sand as I try to resolve my story problems. Other days, like this weekend, my brain seems to fire on all cylinders and the ideas keep popping into my head. I wish I could harness that energy every day and focus it on my current story. I did come up with several different ways of reworking my current MS into a totally different story.

A successful published author in my RWA chapter with many published works under her belt, says that the hardest part of writing for her is coming up with story ideas. That she doesn't think of the new stories until the current one is complete.

Do you have more ideas than you have time? Or do you work out one idea at a time and focus completely on that until it's time to move to the next project?

4 comments:

Janet said...

I'm an "Idea Girl" just like you, Anne! Always new story ideas are taking shape - sometimes I'll even start them because I'm so darn excited. Until about 20-30,000 words in and then I derail.

Maybe there's a business there "Story Starters - Get Your Ideas Here"!!

Anne MacFarlane said...

Janet, it usually takes me until pg 50 before I run out of steam with an idea.

But I've learned that every idea is the same - it turns into hard work after the initial excitement. So, I've disciplined myself to scribble a note and put it away until I've finished the current story.

Cat Schield said...

I used to be more of an idea girl than I am. I think that when the current WIP isn't working, we naturally go looking for something better. These days, it's easier to focus on one book at a time. I still get ideas. Usually the germ of something that I must write an opening for. Once I do that, I can go back to what I'm currently working on. I usually alternate noodling 3 or 4 books at one time. I write down the ideas that come to me for future development.

I wish I had time to write faster so I could take advantage of all those ideas. Maybe someday...

Jennifer Shirk said...

I usually work--keyword usually--work on one idea at a time. If I happent o get another idea I put it in my "idea file" on my computer. :)