Friday, May 22, 2009

The Oddities of Ideas

Ideas for stories pop into my head all the time. I keep a notebook handy at all times for them (or when I get the urge to start writing one of those stories, NOW). A file on my PC and thumb drive dutifully receives every seed of a story idea. Many of the ideas are just crap, and I know it, but they stay there, because for all I know, they might inspire something else when I peruse the list.

I get most of my ideas in two different ways:

1) Reading. I'll be reading a book, and it will trigger something inside my brain. Suddenly, I have an idea for a new story. It could be based on what I was reading in some way, or it could be completely unrelated.

2) Driving with the radio off. I do this about 50% of the time when driving for work. It's a great time to think and let stuff percolate in my brain.

The ideas are never forced. I never try to come up with something. If I did, I'm pretty sure it would suck. My subconscious has first dibs on all creative endeavors.

Now, what's odd about the ideas that are good is that there's no telling when I'll actually start writing. New ideas that are barely fleshed out may demand to be written well before ones that have developed characters and background. For an example, I direct you to Works In Progress on the side bar. Ignore Jack O'Lantern for now (more on it in another post at some point).

There are three novel ideas in there, and they're pretty vague. I'll go into just a tiny bit of detail here.

1) Untitled (Epic Fantasy) - World building. This is my oldest novel idea. It involves a father and his two sons. I expect it to end up being a trilogy.

2) Untitled (Science Fiction) - Percolating. The idea for this novel came after #1. It's about a colony ship.

3) The Guardians (Working title) - Writing. This is another epic fantasy. I expect it to have one sequel, although there's probably room for more. It follows a boy named Kale as he joins the Guardians, an ancient order that protects the world from Evil.

Now, The Guardians is easily my most recent idea for a novel. Wait, let me correct that. My most recent idea that has grown legs and is now walking around, waiting for me to do something with it. I've been developing the Untitled Epic Fantasy much longer. I've done a lot more work with the characters in it, and the basic synopsis has been complete for months. But it's not yet demanding to be written.

A few days ago, I felt close to The Guardians. I suddenly knew the story, knew where it was going and how to get it there, as if it was already written. So I grabbed my laptop and wrote a synopsis, along with some background and world building. Sure, there are one or two points in there that need to be flushed out. But the storyline just came together and knocked on a door inside my brain. "Hi there! I'm ready!" it said.

So I started writing it. The first few thousand words I wrote ended up being cut, as I discovered I started the story too early. But I think it's starting correctly now, and I'm excited to see how writing it goes. I just find it odd that this story has come so quickly to me, compared to other ideas that are waiting for their time to come.

No comments:

Post a Comment