Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Writer's Wednesday: Keeping Track of Ideas

I don't know about you, but I have ideas popping into my head ALL the time. Ideas for new novels, short stories, characters, scenes, plot twists, etc.

But how do you keep track of them all, especially when a concept is not tied to a specific project or WIP? And what do you do with these ideas?

I'm not as creative as having a journal with a beautiful pen to jot down notes. Instead I keep a lot of in my head, letting things stew until they meld together into something cohesive to work with. I also write down bits and pieces in documents in my laptop. If it's a specific scene or voice, I will try to get it all out before I forget. If it's a basic idea or plot point, I'll throw the notes in a new doc with a tentative title.

The hard part is deciding what to do with it all. I have several novels in my head, and sometimes it's hard to choose what to work on. A lot depends on the market (I'm not going to start anything paranormal unless the concept is fresh and immediately grabs me). A lot depends on my interest in the idea, and how well I think I can execute it at this moment. For one of the projects I'm working on (I'm actually writing 3 novels right now!) I had been contemplating the basic plot line for several months. It wasn't until I nailed the character that I knew I had to dive in and start writing it.

How do you keep track of your ideas and choose what to work on?


  1. I'm good at writing it down. It's looking for it later that kills me. =) I tend to see if ideas fit into one story. Sometimes it does, sometimes it needs to be mended, other times it doesn't, but it's away I can get it out of my head.

  2. I feel your pain! I keep a word doc/Google doc of my ideas that I add to when something pops in my head. I usually let it ruminate for a day or two to make sure it has any kind of staying power, and then I'll jot down as much as I think of to keep the idea. Then I can let it go in my head and focus back on the work at hand.

    I don't know about how to determine what to write next, though. I struggle with that all the time. The last couple of pieces I just forced myself to pick something and go.

  3. I carry a notebook around with me. But what I really need is someway to write down ideas in the shower...because that seems to be where I get the most. A friend told me they make shower crayons for this very purpose. I need to find some!

    New follower here :)

  4. Mostly I just memorize books and storylines in my head. I've kept quite a few of them up there for many, many years, patiently waiting till I get to that part of the timeline instead of jumping the gun by writing it ahead of time. (I write series and family sagas instead of standalones, covering many decades.) My favorite writer also memorized entire books and stories in his head till he was able to write them down.


Breaths that matter...

Related Posts with Thumbnails