Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Idea File

It's said that ideas are a dime a dozen. I disagree. No one's paying me for them, but my story ideas are gold to me. I treasure my idea file almost much as my novel drafts.

My idea file has a few forms. It includes three partly outlined novels, a few paragraph-length summaries, a line or two each in individual Word docs, one long list of story ideas, a few snippets, a paragraph here or there. A few years ago it had nothing. Then when I finally started writing a novel, I had more novel plots than I could write. Then a few years later, a wrote a picture book. Now, thanks to Tara Lazar's Picture Book Idea Month, I have a couple drafts and a lot more ideas.

Often I review my idea file before a walk or drive so I can turn a premise over in my mind, transforming an idea into a story. Almost everything in that file (well, except a couple make-weights from PiBoIdMo, if I'm honest) seems tantalizingly viable. I just need the time, skill, and creativity to do those ideas justice ... someday.

So a dime a dozen? No way. I insist on the traditional penny-per-thought rate. Unless you have a 20 percent off Groupon, and then a dime will do.

How do you keep track of your ideas? Are you a one-at-a-time writer, or do you have a vault full of SNIs?

And get your pitches ready -- New Mystery Agent contest beginning on Wednesday, February 1!

Need inspiration? Read the i swim for oceans interview with Operation Awesome's Angela J. Townsend, author of AMAROK, a unique, dark, thrilling paranormal coming soon from Spencer Hill Press.


Tracy Jo said...

I have that same file and I also have documents on my computer stored of ideas and thoughts. :-) Now I just need to finish one! Have a great Sunday.

Kell Andrews said...

I horde my ideas a little bit. They're like an insurance policy for when I run dry! And yet I will never run dry if I don't actually, you know, write some of theme!

Anonymous said...

Oh boy. I have a vault, and lists and journal, stuff on evernote, lol!

Patricia Marques said...

I definitely jot them down, I'm very protective of when I do get them and have a folder with folders in them for each one, although I'm starting to think, that like with everything else, I need to make it more visible to me so that some of them don't fade away too much :)

Recently one of them got merged with another and its allowed me to actually move forward in my planning. Now I just have to get on with it! :D

Jemi Fraser said...

I started keeping my ideas on the computer - but if they're strong, they usually hang around in my head until I'm ready for them :)

erica and christy said...

I have lots of files called intriguing things like weird idea, pb idea, scifi idea, sportsbook idea, etc. We have the ideas for a reason, might as well not lose them!