Have you ever been out and about and something, could be anything, makes you think -ooh, that’s a cool story idea? Did you write it down, note it in your phone, leave yourself a voicemail about it… anything… so you don’t forget?
I was in my local used book store and the clerk looked perfect for a romance hero. I told him and he let me take a picture that I can now use that for inspiration. I love that. Sometimes, my boyfriend actually tells me things I think are perfect for a romance hero to say. Yes – I write them down and save them. They’re gems. It could be a piece of dialogue you overhear, a character (literally and figuratively), an outfit, a setting, a feeling, a mood, a reaction, a hairstyle, a building, a show, or any of a million other things.
I hear a lot that ideas are cheap and this is true. I wrote about it in my post Ideas are Cheap and Everywhere. Now, I’m telling you… write them down!
We’re writers… it shouldn’t be difficult 🙂
Take note because you never know when that idea will inspire something great. Someone told me they only wrote them down if the idea wouldn’t go away. I can see that. If it’s persistent, then maybe it’s really good.
BUT, what if that tiny little nugget of an idea – like the enormous icicle hanging on the tree outside my window falling on someone’s head and creating a seemingly weaponless crime once it melts – is interesting to me today but when I look at it in a year, it inspires my next book? You just don’t know.
I think if you have a fleeting idea, picture, scene, character – whatever – jot it down and every so often pull those notes out and look at them. You just never know when a random little seed idea will spawn a complete freakin’ tree.
You have nothing lose, Fictorians, and everything to gain. Write it down and see what happens. Anyone already had this happen? I’d love to hear.
With me, remembering an idea is not a sign of its importance. Often, my best ideas are the ones that don’t even stick. I have a folder of story ideas on my computer. I was looking for something the other day and going through the folder. Some of my favorites were the ones I’d completely forgotten about. I think you’re right, though. I would have more to work with if I caught those inspirational snippets. Now if I could only remember to bring the paper, pen, and camera with me everywhere I go.
But you also have to realize, you’re not going to hold onto everything. I heard an awesome name the other day as I walked into a store. By the time I reached a cart, the name had floated out of my head. I just had too many other things on my mind. It’s okay. No big deal. I’ll find other cool names, I’m sure.
And no, I’m not scatterbrained. I’m artistic.
I tend to find that the things that actually stick in my head are the ones I doubt I will ever use. I’ve had this scene from a dream rattling around in my head for some time and it’s not likely to be something I would ever write – very bloody and gory (I think I was on one of my horror kicks at the time…) but, for some reason, it’s gotten lodged in my head and will not remove itself. Unfortunately it was horrifying enough that I woke up in a cold sweat and I really *don’t* want to keep on remembering it. So if you have any tips for getting rid of ideas I don’t want, I’d love to hear them!
Colette – When I don’t have anything to write on, I call myself and leave myself voice messages 🙂 And it just makes me crazy when I have so much on my brain that I forget something so quick… grrr.
Kylie – When I was younger I had a horribly violent dream that reoccurred for years. I think it stopped after I shared it (in full living color) to someone and discussed what parts of it might mean. Just a thought.
Colette: “Now if I could only remember to bring the paper, pen, and camera with me everywhere I go.”
Evan: It’s called an iPhone. 🙂 Just saying!
A couple of years ago, when I was struggling to gain momentum on a novel, I kept an audio recorder beside my bed at night. Maybe it’s just me, but creative ideas start to spark strongest just as I’m dozing off to sleep. Of course, just as I’m dozing off to sleep also happens to be the time when I’m least likely to gather up the energy to take careful notes. However, I became quite adept at reaching for that recorder in my half-asleep state and mumbling into it. Sometimes, when I went through the recorder logs the next morning, I could hardly make out what I’d said the night before. But there was always just enough there to help me start writing.
@Evan: Hey, some sympathy for the technologically impaired, here! I’ve only had a smart phone for a few months. I barely figured out how to use the stinking camera.