1. Oscar Leigh
    Offline

    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2016
    Messages:
    4,425
    Likes Received:
    1,982
    Location:
    Australia

    What to Do With So Many Ideas?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Oscar Leigh, Jun 16, 2016.

    Okay, so I have a lot of ideas. And one of the things that bugs me is managing them. Right now I have about ten different ideas I recently spent time on. And I often wonder how to do this better. How do you manage your ideas? I tend to have things I prioritize but I spend time on a number of them and I find it difficult to avoid going with whatever catches my attention. What do you do?
     
    zoupskim likes this.
  2. A man called Valance
    Offline

    A man called Valance Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2008
    Messages:
    215
    Likes Received:
    335
    Location:
    Here and there, mostly there.
    Easy, you make a list and store it in a file called Ideas. Then you sit back smugly, pat your wonderfully organized self on the back, and resume going with whatever catches your attention.
     
    zoupskim and Simpson17866 like this.
  3. Oscar Leigh
    Offline

    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2016
    Messages:
    4,425
    Likes Received:
    1,982
    Location:
    Australia
    So, change nothing?
     
  4. A man called Valance
    Offline

    A man called Valance Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2008
    Messages:
    215
    Likes Received:
    335
    Location:
    Here and there, mostly there.
    Why change a happy formula?
     
  5. Oscar Leigh
    Offline

    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2016
    Messages:
    4,425
    Likes Received:
    1,982
    Location:
    Australia
    Because I'm asking about it out of the worry that I'm too distracted and don't write enough because I'm busy planning a million ideas?
     
  6. A man called Valance
    Offline

    A man called Valance Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2008
    Messages:
    215
    Likes Received:
    335
    Location:
    Here and there, mostly there.
    I'm serious about the Ideas file... list your ideas there, adding as many notes as you can, as and when. When you're ready to knuckle down and apply yourself to one project, you will. In the meantime do what you do. You're writing, that's the main thing.
     
    zoupskim and Oscar Leigh like this.
  7. izzybot
    Offline

    izzybot Human Disaster Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2015
    Messages:
    865
    Likes Received:
    955
    Location:
    SC, USA
    I basically do what it seems like you do. I have too many projects so I keep organized notes on them and pick at whatever I'm feeling like at any given moment. Don't forget that planning and worldbuilding is an important part of writing, too - it's not just getting down to the actual writing that matters. My writing is a lot better since I slowed down and spent time planning and letting things percolate, and the same might be true for you.

    It might help you to set yourself a limit, and if you get a new idea scribble down the basics but don't let yourself work on it and focus on something else instead. I have marginal success with that and still end up daydreaming about stuff I've been trying to keep on the backburner, but eh, could be worth a try.

    I also occasionally set myself a defined goal to keep my productivity up, which might be "finish this outline" or "iron out these details" or "fix this plot hole" or whatever and don't let myself work on anything else until those specific things are done. Usually it means either intensive work on one project for a while, or I'll sort of rotate and several projects get a lot of important progress rather than all of them getting small amounts.

    Disclaimer: I'm basically asleep right now so I hope this post makes sense.
     
    Simpson17866 and Oscar Leigh like this.
  8. DeadMoon
    Offline

    DeadMoon Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2014
    Messages:
    756
    Likes Received:
    441
    Location:
    fargo, ND
    I keep a basic "idea" page for random OK type of ideas but if I have one that I think has potential I will open a new scrivener file and write down a quick summery of said idea then close it until I am ready to take another look at it.
     
    Oscar Leigh likes this.
  9. Necronox
    Offline

    Necronox Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2015
    Messages:
    131
    Likes Received:
    85
    Location:
    Victoria, Australia
    I've got a good old A5 notebook I carry around with me and I dribble down some ideas on there whenever I get them (even at home). Once I get home I add them to my Wikidpad under "Ideas" typically organising them under categories (world building, plot, character, etc...) I find it quite relaxing, like spring cleaning your brain. Also helps me 'set the mood' for my creative thinking/writing.
     
    Oscar Leigh and Mocheo Timo like this.
  10. Mocheo Timo
    Offline

    Mocheo Timo Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2015
    Messages:
    196
    Likes Received:
    114
    Location:
    World of Bob
    I have all sorts of notebooks for my ideas, but what really helps me to manage them is to walk. I usually spend the time that I walk (or run) considering my ideas.
    I entertain them, let them show me what they've got, then I decide whether to write them down or not.
    Usually when something really strikes me, I'm not happy until I have at least some kind of a draft on a paper.
    Then I move on and think about something else.
     
    Oscar Leigh likes this.
  11. Lifeline
    Online

    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2015
    Messages:
    1,398
    Likes Received:
    1,549
    Location:
    UK - the place betwixt and between
    Whenever I get an idea I integrate it immediately in my current WIP in some form or another. So far everything has found a home in there :)
     
    Oscar Leigh and izzybot like this.
  12. Oscar Leigh
    Offline

    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2016
    Messages:
    4,425
    Likes Received:
    1,982
    Location:
    Australia
    I try to do that. Find places for things. Means having less things. But I still have so many ideas! ARGH! Thanks for all the advice guys! If nothing else it might encourage my motivation to control this aspect.
     
  13. Lifeline
    Online

    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2015
    Messages:
    1,398
    Likes Received:
    1,549
    Location:
    UK - the place betwixt and between
    Then just kick your own butt and focus on starting :D

    For me, just the constant attention to my WIP - which sits never far from my conscious mind - asures that I think about THAT and nothing else. Ergo, all ideas I get are associated with my MCs or the world. Or at least that is my theory :rolleyes:
     
    Oscar Leigh likes this.
  14. Moth
    Offline

    Moth Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2015
    Messages:
    105
    Likes Received:
    82
    Find a way to integrate those ideas seamlessly into your current project or else jot them down and put them aside for another day. What you don't want is to distract yourself from working on your main project. Fleshing out ideas and stories is great - one of the more enjoyable parts of the writing process - but if you spend your time fleshing out every idea that pops into your head, you'll never finish working on any of them.

    As difficult as it can be for a creative mind, sometimes you've just gotta set aside or abandon ideas in favor of boring ol' practicality.
     
    Oscar Leigh likes this.
  15. Simpson17866
    Offline

    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2013
    Messages:
    1,735
    Likes Received:
    1,285
    TIP: whatever you do to keep track of your ideas, don't focus on them as being separate ideas, always look for ways of combining them ;)

    I had an idea for a scene a while back, but I didn't have a story to tell around it
    Amateur bank robbers are casing a joint, notice all of the extra security following the bombing of another bank the previous day, and decide not to do anything until the heat dies down

    An FBI Agent walks into the bank, asks if she could have everybody's attention, then she tells the crowd that the FBI have received a letter claiming responsibility for the bombing the previous day.

    The letter claimed that the bomber wanted to force a hostage into a bank with a bomb vest, but that the bank might call the bomb squad instead of handing him the money. Instead, the bomber sent a hostage in to the bank with instructions, but set the bomb off without giving the hostage a chance to follow through, because she wanted the next bank to know that she was serious and that it wouldn't be worth the risk of not cooperating. "At this point, I should hope that the cleverer among you have figured out I'm not actually in the FBI"

    She then reveals that she also has another hostage in a secure location and that if anybody calls the police, then she will kill herself and let the hostage starve to death, forcing her husband and children to bury an empty casket with the knowledge that she died alone over a very long time, just to show off that she is the kind of megalomaniacal Bond villain who would kill herself just to screw with her victims one last time if the bank doesn't cooperate.

    She then asks if anybody has any questions before she leaves, and one of the amateurs formerly casing the joint impulsively asks "Yes, have you been stalking my friends and I by any chance?" His boss punches him in the back and whisper-yells for him to shut up, but by now he has the bomber's attention and she asks what he's talking about. He tells the bomber that they were planning to rob another bank for a while, that it exploded before they could make their move, and now their casing another bank only for the bomber to also be targeting the same one.

    The bomber would decide that she was fascinated by the coincidence and pressures the robbers to go with her instead of striking out on their own.

    I've also been working on an Urban Fantasy world that I had a few characters in that I liked, but again, no good stories about them
    *A half-orc named Krailik and a werewolf (technically a Human/Psoglav shapeshifter but let's just say werewolf for right now) named Rilana who work for a supernatural law enforcement agency together:

    The half-orc is the equivalent of a Sergeant and the werewolf is the equivalent of a Detective

    Both are lesbian yet not remotely interested in each other (their parents tricked them into going on a blind date as teenagers after seeing how much time they spent together, the half-orc claims to still have nightmares about how awkward it was just going on that one date with her best friend)

    The half-orc prefers dual-wielding Desert Eagles in the field while the werewolf uses a shotgun that grows/shrinks as she does

    The half-orc is caustic and occasionally unpleasant yet is in a committed loving relationship while the werewolf is so sweet and sensitive and empathic that she sentences herself to a life of empty one-night-stands rather than taking the risk that she'll make someone else fall in love with an officer of the law who could easily find herself one day being sent home in bodybag​

    *A vampire calling herself "Nemesis" who started a cult of vigilante serial killers and declared war against the criminal underworld. Not because she valued the lives of the innocent (although most of her acolytes do) but because she wanted to go down in history as such a larger-than-life supervillain that even the other villains in the world were afraid of her.

    But then I found myself rethinking my vampire character, wondering if the vigilante serial killer angle was really the kind of supervillainy that she would want to read about in the history books in a few hundred years, and then just three simple words bulldozed into my brain:

    She's the bomber

    Simply declaring "my bank robbery scene takes place in my Urban Fantasy world" was enough to give me a story about my bank robbers discovering the existence of magic and having to keep up with two superheroes versus a supervillain despite having no supernatural experience of their own :D I now have the entire story outlined, 6500 words of text written, and could potentially have a draft finished by my next birthday.
     
    Oscar Leigh likes this.
  16. Oscar Leigh
    Offline

    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2016
    Messages:
    4,425
    Likes Received:
    1,982
    Location:
    Australia
    I do try to integrate things if I feel I have no room for them as a whole. I shall try to increase that to help with this area. Thanks.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2016
    Simpson17866 likes this.
  17. Mumble Bee
    Online

    Mumble Bee The writer formerly known as Chained. Contributor

    Joined:
    May 18, 2015
    Messages:
    792
    Likes Received:
    1,305
    You could always take a page out of the bodybuilding book. Specifically the bulking and cutting cycle.
    The idea is its very hard to do everything well at the same time; in their case build mass and tone and in our case come up with ideas and flesh out a story.

    What they do is bulk up, eat tons of carbs and lift all the weights for a few weeks until they're huge, strong, but a little on the chubby side.
    Next they cut, which consists of eating almost no carbs, cardio, and crying themselves to sleep.
    The result is, they have big muscles and almost no fat.

    "How would this work for a writer?" you might ask, and it'd be pretty screwed up of me not to tell you after all this build up.
    I'm actually tempted not to tell, i'm just that terrible of a person...

    So here's what a writer has to do.
    Focus.

    You have your bulk period, where you come up with tons of ideas, as many as you can for the story. Doesn't matter how you're going to make it work yet, just throw everything interesting in there.
    Then, you cut, or 'edit' as we like to call it. Please don't stop eating carbs, a writer who doesn't eat carbs starts to sound like Edgar Allan Poe. Cutting does take determination though, you have to stick to your story without coming up ideas for new ones. That was your bulk phase.
     
    Oscar Leigh likes this.
  18. Oscar Leigh
    Offline

    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2016
    Messages:
    4,425
    Likes Received:
    1,982
    Location:
    Australia
    XD, nice analogy. :D
     
    Mumble Bee likes this.

Share This Page