Friday, April 16, 2010

A piece to the puzzle, or How I Write

I realized something the other day. I was thinking about all of the different ideas I have and what I'm going to do with them. The thing about it is: when I have a new idea, I have to write the first page down. Like, the opening. Sometimes, it changes after I go back to it, but I have to get those first few paragraphs down in writing. It makes the idea real to me somehow. So, I have dozens of first pages to stories that I haven't worked on yet.

Once I have that shiny new idea in a concrete form, I'll take some notes on it, develop the characters a little, then let it stew. A lot of the time, I have a really clear idea of who the main character is. What s/he looks like, etc. More often than not, I have no idea where the story is going to go until I come back to it much later. For an example of one of those, see yesterday's post. It's amazing how clearly I can picture him and his back story, but I have no idea what to do with him yet. He'll probably let me know at some point. I definitely want to hear his story sometime.

So, that's a piece of the writing puzzle for me.

What do you do when you get a shiny new idea? How many ideas do you have hanging around?

11 comments:

Sandy Shin said...

It really depends on whether the SNI comes at a time when I'm immersed in a WiP or not. If not, my process is familiar to your: I begin writing the first page or so, then going back and jotting down notes. If I am writing something else, I normally just write down as much notes as I can. :)

Currently, I'm working on a WiP, and have 3-4 SNIs hanging around, but they aren't clamoring for attention, which is a good thing.

Krista V. said...

When I get a new idea and am already working on a project, I write it down on my handy-dandy Idea Sheet (don't laugh) and come back to it later.

If it's an idea I intend to start writing immediately, I start working on an outline, a chapter-by-chapter breakdown of how I imagine the story to unfold. It's not a for-sure outline, but it gives me time to think about the idea and still feel like I'm accomplishing something. I've found my world-building is much stronger if I give myself those few weeks at the outset.

Elana Johnson said...

I stew on it. The good ideas/characters stay around for a long time. The bad ones, I forget. That's how I know if it's an idea worth pursuing or not.

Jennifer Shirk said...

Sometimes I get ideas while I'm writing, so I put them in an "idea" file. Funny, but I've never gone back and used them. I usually have a new idea by the time I'm ready to write someting else. LOL

KarenG said...

Hi Kaylene!

My ideas aren't shiny. I wish they were. They're dull and buried and I have to dig them up and polish them a million times and change the light, and then maybe they turn into something but usually not and I have to keep looking.

KarenG

T. Anne said...

I have to jot it down or my rickety mind might accidentally discard it. After that I let it simmer. Funny how they seem to crop up when I'm working on another WIP.

Lisa and Laura said...

We've been working out some of our ideas this past week. They usually originate in Lisa's brain and I try my hardest to contribute to them! There's nothing like a shiny, new idea...

Talli Roland said...

I'm like Elana. I like to let it stew, to bounce around in my head without committing it to paper. It's so much fun to get new ideas!

Roland D. Yeomans said...

I keep a note pad by my bed. Dreams are sometimes the ink my page needs. There is always a notebook in my back pocket. Sometimes an idea for a neat bit of dialogue can't be brought back to memory in just the way I originally thought of it.

Have a healing weekend, Roland

Kayeleen Hamblin said...

I love new ideas, whether they are rickety, shared, or shiny. Thanks every one for contributing to the discussion!

Stephanie Perkins said...

Hi Kayeleen! Thank you so much for commenting on my blog!

Ahh, the Shiny New Idea. The temptation. Generally, I try to resist them (such a distraction from my real work), but when it's something really truly SPECTACULAR, I allow myself a day or two to brainstorm and take notes. One of my favorite tricks is to *combine* Shiny New Ideas into one MEGA AWESOME IDEA! But I probably still have a dozen ideas ready to go, and another dozen percolating in the back of my mind. It's so frustrating! I wish I could write faster. :)