1. spklvr
    Offline

    spklvr Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2010
    Messages:
    734
    Likes Received:
    36
    Location:
    Sarpsborg, Norway

    Plot Bunnies from Hell!!

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by spklvr, Feb 14, 2011.

    Okay, just curious. After spending a few months on this site, I'm under the impression that I'm not alone when it comes to being tortured by plot bunnies from hell (AKA too many ideas). So if you're trying really hard to focus on one story, what do you do when you get an idea for another one (or maybe too many ideas for the story you're currently writing)?

    This always seems to be my biggest problem. Absolutely everything can trigger ideas for a new story, and it's a problem when I'm trying to focus on just a few. Recently, I've been writing the plot outline of all the stories I get ideas for, so that I can look at them later. I wish I begun doing that earlier. I have 334 (no kidding, just counted) story beginnings that are only 1-50 pages long, and who knows how many pages I have scribbled over the years... I spent my six last school years writing stories in my notebooks :p
     
  2. Chickendancer
    Offline

    Chickendancer Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2011
    Messages:
    106
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Australia
    Hello spklvr (catchy name).

    334 stories? Holy cow!!!! Well, there's nothing wrong with your imagination.

    There are people out there who would kill for an imagination like yours, but I see your point. I'm sure that many of us have been (somewhere) near this problem. Hmmm, so what to do?

    Perhaps you could take your 12 best stories and turn them into an anthology of short stories.

    Or perhaps you could ask the question, 'As a reader, which of these stories would I like to read?"

    It takes focus to write a novel size ms, so pick one and see where the story takes you. But finish one, and see how it goes. (Unless you want to stick with short stories.)

    I'm rambling, so I'll end now. Good luck, CD.
     
  3. arron89
    Offline

    arron89 Banned

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2008
    Messages:
    2,460
    Likes Received:
    91
    Location:
    Auckland
    I guess I get a lot of ideas (though maybe not 334...), I just shoot most of them down when they come up. If they're too close to something else, or don't produce an interesting concept or story, or if they're not well-suited to my writing style, or if I can find some other hole, it get's scrapped. As a result, I only have a manageable number of viable ideas at once. If you're getting overwhelmed, just work out some quality control. I doubt all 334 ideas all great ideas that you think will make great works, so maybe come up with some kind of system for focussing on only the great ideas.
     
  4. Mallory
    Offline

    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2010
    Messages:
    4,274
    Likes Received:
    191
    Location:
    Tampa Bay
    You can combine a handful of ideas into one story to make for rich backstories, subplots, etc.
     
  5. spklvr
    Offline

    spklvr Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2010
    Messages:
    734
    Likes Received:
    36
    Location:
    Sarpsborg, Norway
    Vowels are for losers :D (jk)

    Don't get me wrong, at least 330 of those ideas will forever collect virtual dust on my computer. I have two folders, one with stories I'm working on seriously (contains five stories) and one with stories that are most likely dropped (contains 334 very unfinished/barely started stories). I'm more curious about if other people have this problem and what they do about it... maybe I get ideas..
     
  6. minstrel
    Offline

    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2010
    Messages:
    8,722
    Likes Received:
    4,821
    Location:
    Near Los Angeles
    I agree with Arron. I write down in a file all the ideas I have, and I have hundreds, but looking at them now, I think not many of them will really work as stories. Ideas are a dime a dozen. VIABLE ideas are rarer, and it takes work (at least, for me) to develop the ideas into stories that are worth reading.
     
  7. Ellipse
    Offline

    Ellipse Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2010
    Messages:
    714
    Likes Received:
    32
    If I am working on one story when an idea comes along for another, I'll stop and write down those thoughts because if I don't, they are going to bug me forever and ever. After that, I'll go back to my original story.
     
  8. guamyankee
    Offline

    guamyankee Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2011
    Messages:
    474
    Likes Received:
    15
    Location:
    Tacoma, Washington
    Viable, such a powerful, fitting word for this topic. Well said.
     
  9. Porcupine
    Offline

    Porcupine Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2011
    Messages:
    346
    Likes Received:
    21
    Location:
    Frankfurt, Germany
    Hi spklvr!

    I have about 45 stories, so a far cry from your tally, but I understand your problem. I am still only an evolving amateur, who is slowly starting to adapt to a different style of writing from what I did before, but here is what I do now:

    Brainstorm. If I have different ideas where the story could go and how it could develop, I write them down briefly and see what options they give me for continuing the story. Since I usually have a good idea of what the main story is going to be like, where the characters are going etc., I then analyze the different subplots I have created to see which one fits best with the story, whether it is plausible, whether it is fun, whether it helps get the story along. Then, I take a decision. Frequently, during the analysis part, I see ways to combine several of the subplots into one which is more colourful and richer.
     
  10. Elgaisma
    Offline

    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2010
    Messages:
    5,337
    Likes Received:
    92
    Hmm don't know I have only been writing a year and during that time have produced at least 10 VIABLE ideas. On top of that have written stories for my kids.

    What I have done is written some short stories when I have had the ideas to test, refine and organise them. Then I get back to my WIP - what i have decided to do once my current deadlines are done with is to serialise some of my ideas, putting aside one day a week to write around 1-2000 words from a none work in progress and I will then add it to my website so there is one new part to each story/sketch a month.
     
  11. HeinleinFan
    Offline

    HeinleinFan Banned

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2007
    Messages:
    483
    Likes Received:
    33
    If I'm trying hard to focus on one story, and another suddenly shoves to the front of the queue, I'll generally open up a second Open Office document file and write out the beginning, plus any ideas for the end, and anything else that really matters such as magic system rules or backstory. Then I name it, date it, and save it for later.

    Right now I have ... hmm. Way too many stories "on hold." Three science fiction stories are waiting to be finished, another two are done but need to be lightly edited (or, in one case, seriously edited) and sent out to magazine markets, and there's the sf disaster novel that's on hold with a chapter and a half extensively outlined, plus a loose outline for the later events.

    For fantasy there's the project I'm currently working on, and a dozen or so book ideas / short stories in various stages of completion. One fantasy book is a real bummer; I got 65,000 words in and found a plot hole. (Dammit.) That one will need to be entirely re-written.

    My hope is to go through numerous short stories and one of the novels in the next few months and finish them. I'd really like to force myself to acknowledge that my writing doesn't have to be perfect, which is a serious hang-up of mine. If I don't think something is great, I often revise it too much, and take out the awesome random bits that come in as part of my author voice. Plus, if I fret over perfection, I spent huge amounts of time on each story, time that would be better spent just sending the fracking thing out to editors and starting the next one.

    Ah, discipline. *sighs* If anyone finds out a way to bottle it, let me know; I'll buy a six-pack.
     
  12. Tesoro
    Offline

    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2011
    Messages:
    2,825
    Likes Received:
    290
    Location:
    A place with no future
    that was what i was about to say. use these ideas as subplots .
     
  13. kablooblab
    Offline

    kablooblab Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2011
    Messages:
    91
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    at home
    I just start writing another story when that happens
     
  14. Show
    Offline

    Show Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2008
    Messages:
    1,495
    Likes Received:
    30
    Combine? And maybe prune some ones that seem weaker. A lot of times, you just need to decide to just scrap one idea and focus on another.
     

Share This Page