So I opened up the word file where I write down my ideas and did some cleaning up. That is, putting down some new ideas, subsuming ideas that are similar together. After that, I saw I have over 20 ideas for stories, and that not counting the stories up on the site or stories that I’ve written a draft for. So do others have this much inspiration floating around or is this just me?
Absolutely. At any given time dozens, half formed, fully formed, or no more than a title. Sometimes they merge before the drafting stage, sometimes they just sit on the backburner until further inspiration strikes.
Occasionally I write down lists of the story ideas I have, but they usually don’t make it to a cleanup stage.
It does mean sometimes though I track down an old list with a forgotten idea which manages to capture my imagination this time around though.
I have so many half formed ideas. Like they’re a premise, maybe even characters and a scenario or two thought out or even one really well fleshed out scene. My problem, besides time/energy to actually write them and edit them, is that I don’t have a satisfying ending in mind for almost any of them, and don’t want to start writing until I know how to end it. Endings are hard, for me.
I am the same way. Whenever I get an idea, be it at work or even in the grocery store, I quickly jot it down. It’s a blessing and a curse because I just simply don’t have the time to make them all come to life.
Good to hear I’m not alone.
I tend to keep the ideas in my head, but eventually write them down in the file. It was writing down the latest batch of story ideas that lead to grouping the similar ones together and subsuming one idea into another and taking count of all the ideas.
I start out sometimes with a premise, sometimes with a scene, sometimes with the words of the story in my head. For the stories I have posted so far, I actually do have endings in mind for them (and ideas and stories for a second section). But endings and beginnings are often the hardest parts of writing.
For me, the blessing and curse is the ability to create and work on these stories in my head. They come so easily which is great at times, but there’s a tendency for stories to keep running in my head and therein lies the curse.
Are you me? Endings are awful and why do people need closure and all that! Nooooooo
I find that for me I often tinker with a premise or setting and characters who get instantiated into get some life breathed into them later. The character of Ethan in the Nanites story was only ever meant to be a one-off indicating how the nanites “escaped” the setting of the main plot, but writing his “fuck this I’m gonna go to a gay bar” scenes were actually really fun and now I’m going to use him to showcase something else as a whole secondary plotline.
I think when I last copy-pasted it into Word to get an idea of pagecount, my “naughty ideas” file was 5 pages long (not much in setting notes there) but my “these should be novels!” file was 10 or 15 pages long. I eventually start spinning plot and character related notes for a specific story into a separate file so it doesn’t clog things up once I crack in to a story, but there’s just oodles of them lying around now … and never enough time or energy to write them …
Oh, what a question. Currently in my hopper:
- more chapters for my current series
- more chapters for another, abandoned-but-incomplete series
- cursed tattoo series
- superhero series
- continue collaboration series w another author
- standalone Halloween story
- a safe-for-work story I kinda think can be professionally published that I haven’t touched since writing the first scene back in March
Rest assured, you are very much not alone in this.
It’s one reason my stuff is mostly chapter ones—I keep wanting to start on exciting new ideas instead of continuing old ones. Setting myself a rule requiring one new chapter a week of something for my site was supposed to lead to more continued stories, but apart from commissions it mostly led to more ideas being converted to chapter ones. Having a weekly deadline does mean, though, that a lot of those ideas get at least partly realized.
If I had a rule that forced me to finish what I started, though…
I had to make an excel sheet listing all my partially written or researched stories over the years, and I have 105 of them presently, from 0 to 8000 words, those with 0 words are longer stories that I researched for weeks but never got to start writing. Research involves a lot of pictures, videos, but also material about the setting, the characters and the plot. I just calculated and I have over 175000 words written in unfinished stories. The Power of Marketing, The Lexington Bed & Breakfast, The Deal and Latin Spring were unfinished stories from as far as 8 years ago that I completed recently. They all contain unique and original ideas.
105!!!??? OMG!!! There should be an anthology of all these pieces amongst us. Maybe we could start something here along a few themes and then see if we can put something together. It might take some initiative, but the results could be interesting.
I have no idea how many unfinished stories I have on my hard drive, but there are certainly more than I’ve ever published.
Most of them are a clever title and a couple of paragraphs of description. Some of them only make it as far as the title. Some of them are thousands of words long – long enough for me to see that they’re not going anywhere fun.
The stories I post are the ones that beg to be written. The ones that won’t get out of my mind, or the ones that flow from my fingers so easily that they’re finished before I realize it.
I have no regrets about the stories that didn’t make it. If there’s something there, they’ll itch in my brain until they’re realized.
I say, delete some.
You don’t need to write every idea you come up with. See it as pruning.
In fact, I’ve found discarding some ideas works very well for me (not all, but some).
I find them sprouting up again in different ways, in different shapes and in different forms. If — and I’m flattering myself here by claiming it — If people see me as an “ideas” guy, I would say one of my biggest tips is, don’t be afraid to ‘forget’ ideas.
Think of them, chew on them a while, then allow yourself to forget them. When they return, they might come back in better, deeper, or even just easier to write way.
Don’t leave them sitting in a file tormenting you; at least not all of them.
I keep all my stories, but when an unfinished one turns up in a finished, published story, it might have taken a completely different form than the original. Most often, I keep the most unique and interesting parts of it, and delete all the drivel. Some of them show up as chapters in another, longer, story. Many of them change beyond recognition because once the crucial, most interesting parts are left, I can reconstruct around those elements and themes.
While I’ve been writing the first draft to my next novel, I had a really great idea for a new series. Most of my stories start out as masturbatory fodder/ fantasy stuff, which I then flesh out (pardon any unintentional puns).
Anyway, I don’t want to break my stride with the novel to write this new story (which I’m pretty excited about) because I don’t want to change voice or lose my enthusiasm, so I’m putting the new story aside.
Still, however, in the way back part of my brain, I’m developing it…
That makes sense, especially as you’re working in the novel format. So you want to stay focused on the stories at the heart of work.
Let me thank all the readers who’ve given this thread some love; I appreciate that you’ve read and liked the discussion.