Keeping Track of New Ideas

As a writer I find myself constantly thinking up little snippets of stories that sometimes turn into ideas for books or series. Normally I just let them free-float in my mind, coming in and out of the forefront of my thoughts. However I’m sadly unable to keep track of all the threads, especially when I’m deeply involved in writing about another set of characters and the world they inhabit, so today I took half an hour to write some of them down in a document. Nothing fancy, just notes on the genre, age range (I have everything from middle-grade fantasy to literary fiction) and whether it’s a standalone book or a series. Then a few bullet points on the basic plot. Easy to add to as new things come to mind, easy to look at sometime in the future and start building an outline around.

I don’t have any intention of starting on these stories for quite some time. After I’m done the trilogy I’m currently working on, I have another story, which may or may not turn out to be a series, that I plan on tackling. Maybe these ideas I jotted down today will never see the light of day, or maybe I’ll toil over them for months, only to shelve them as learning experiences, but at least they won’t disappear down the drain after swirling around in the sieve that is my brain.

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3 Comments

  1. Most of the time, if I just need to remember a vague idea, I write it down in one of the small notebooks I’ve strategically placed around the house. Just writing it down helps me remember it later, so that I don’t even have to find where I wrote it. I think it’s a visual learning thing.

    But when it comes to more detailed notes about something specific, I have a notes document for each novel, and I write in it and delete as needed, just so that I can remember things like names, descriptions, sometimes lines of dialogue that occur to me, questions I need to research later.

    • I do it the exact opposite way! My vague ideas all go into one big doc, and my specific details get jotted down on a scrap of paper or texted to myself. I find most of the time just writing something down helps fix it in my brain too. I’ve learned to do it immediately, otherwise, something will distract me for a moment and poof… the thought’s gone.

      • Absolutely on the last part. Especially at night, I get ideas in the shower or when I’m in bed, and these days I have to force myself to write it down in one of my notebooks right after my shower or I have to get out of bed to write the thought down. I always think, Oh, I’ll remember it tomorrow morning. Yeah, I never remember. Too many lost ideas. I know better now.

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