Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I is for...Ideas

I'm struggling at the moment with the number of ideas I have for new books. How do I pick one when I have three equally compelling ideas crowding my skull? Not to mention the fact I also have 14K written already on a new book that was meant to be my follow-up to The Boyfriend Plague.

Ideas are interesting things. People always ask you as a writer where you get your ideas from, and it's never an easy question to answer. Sometimes I feel like I just grab them out of the ether, but other times I can say with certainty where a certain idea came from. A line in a movie, maybe. A character in a book I read. Even an article in the newspaper. Ideas fly at me from every direction, but focusing them into a coherent story is another matter.

And that's where I'm hitting a wall right now.

I have one story that is almost science-fiction, set in a post-apocalyptic world where most of the population as been relocated to another planet. I'm excited by this idea because I've never written anything speculative like this before (apart from the short story this idea sprang from).

I have another which I need to find a POV for because I can't tell the story from the POV of the girl whose journey it is. She'll come off as a victim and weak if I try and tell it through her eyes, but maybe if I try and tell it through her best friend's eyes? Or the ex-boyfriend she just dumped?

My last idea is an old story, one I've written several unconnected parts of, but never finished. I know how to write it now, where it needs to go and the idea is sitting right there behind my eyes, waiting to spill out onto the page.

So how do I choose? Throw darts? Start writing all three and see which one sticks?

How do you find the right idea to work on?


  1. I've got a folder full of story ideas, and it seems like no matter how much I meditate over them to decide which is the right one to work on next, it ends being none of them. A new idea seems to spring up right when it's time to start the next story.

    I'm always happy to receive inspiration, but sometimes I feel bad for those poor story ideas in that folder who came at inconvenient times and will seemingly never be written!

    J.W. Alden

  2. My method of picking an idea is so very uncoordinated. Like you, I usually have at least a couple when it's time to start something new. I grab one that sounds interesting and give it a poke. If nothing happens I move to the next until one sucks me in long enough I that feel committed to finish it.

    Good luck with whichever strikes your fancy next ^_^

  3. Oh goodness. I'm not a writer so I've got nothing on that but the first two sound interesting! I would be terrible at writing as a career I think. I'm so impressed by all of you out there that actually sit down and put pen to paper. I kinda like the dart idea for picking which to go with :) Good luck with each of them!

    Anna@ Herding Cats & Burning Soup

  4. My only suggestion is to make some story notes for each of your ideas - rough outline, character profiles, hash out some dialogue, and then save them and walk away for a week. Continue on your current project and revisit the ideas to see what sticks.

    I think too many ideas is a blessing in disguise - wouldn't it be worse to want to write and have no ideas? :)

  5. I probably have more ideas than time to develop them. But, I'd rather be that way than be a dry well.

    Love your post.


  6. I puzzle over ideas for months until something just screams to be written and I can't hold it back any more. But since you write with the speed of roadrunner on crack, I guess you can start writing and see which one you feel the best about after a month or so. :-)

  7. I can never answer the "where do ideas come from?" question, either. And I think that's a good thing.