Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Shaking the idea box

I have no idea what that title means. I'm just now getting over a very nasty stomach virus, so I can't be held responsible for the things I write or say today. I'm like the Verve Pipe, only less 1996.

My question for everyone today: what do you do to keep track of your (no doubt brilliant) ideas?

Based on the effort it's taken to get ONE book up and running, I'm pretty sure I've got ideas to last me from here until kingdom come, so I'm not really worried about running out of ideas. I do worry, however, about losing good ideas or losing good scene ideas because I'm somewhere that I can't take good notes. I'd love to say I'm organized and have a neat little folder somewhere with all my brilliant story ideas along with character descriptions, scene ideas, and funny/clever lines. However, I think we all know where I'm going with this.

Let's say Martha wouldn't be proud. I have notes EVERYWHERE (and I mean EVERYWHERE): scribbled in random notebooks, saved as unsent emails, a billion word files across three or four different computers (and floppy disks, people, floppy disks), a few random notes on my phone notepad file. And those are just the ones I can remember. Every once in a while I run across an old song notebook or a file aptly titled "Story" and open them up to see a long forgotten story idea. Some of them are good, most of them are not, but they're hidden gems from my own past (does that make them hidden JEMs?). It's fun to find them and discover what I thought was interesting enough to write about at any given point.

I'd like to go back and write each and every one of these stories one day. The odds of that happening are about the same as me not eating this cookie (you can't see it because it's just crumbs now), but I still have high hopes. And suffice it to say my old boxes of stuff from middle school and high school are veritable treasure troves of JEMs.

So how do you keep track of all the brilliant?

10 comments:

Tere Kirkland said...

I don't keep track, so much as scribble down every little note in the wrong notebook, or on a little scrap. Maybe if the notebook route isn't going for you, you could start a physical file, a folder full of all those little scraps to save them for later.

This is one of the reasons I try not to work on too many projects at once, I never have the right notebook for the project I'm scribbling about. Maybe I'll try the file method...


Hope you're feeling better!

Dianne K. Salerni said...

I try to jot things down in a brief document and save it in a file called "Drafts and Ideas." I have to actually write a few chapters and know I'm going forward with the project before a WIP graduates to its own folder - lol!

I don't put anything on paper anymore.

But occasionally, I worry what will happen if there is a catastrophic hard drive failure.

Actually, maybe I should back up my document file TODAY.

Jayne said...

I tend to muse and chew over ideas a while, and find that if they are fab ideas they stick around, and I don't forget them. Later, once I have pondered them a bit (this could be YEARS!) I write them down in a notebook, and then worry obsessively that a plot pilferer will steal it. :)

Jennifer Shirk said...

I do have a little "idea" folder on my computer. It's becoming quite a list now. LOL

Jen said...

Wow how do I keep track of all the brilliance in my brain? Well by various notebooks, napkins and drafts in my inbox. I didn't say it was a brilliant idea, but it's chaos in my brain and chaos outside of it!

Happy Wednesday!

Veronica Roth said...

Gah, at least you write your ideas down SOMEWHERE! I don't write mine down most of the time, I just trust that if they are really good enough to stand the test of time, I won't forget them. I'm sure I will regret that someday if I don't shape up soon.

Kimberly Franklin said...

Haha.. such a good question. I'm not sure I keep good track of it like I wish I did, but when something pops into my head I try to remember to write it down. Needless to say, sometimes I don't and I loose it forever. But hey, it happens sometimes. :)

Lydia Kang said...

I keep a Word file of ideas. Sometimes they're just one or two words, sometimes a paragraph. But I'll forget, so I have to write it down, even if they never become anything substantial!

Jaydee Morgan said...

I'm constantly writing ideas down on little scraps of paper (that I leave all over!) One of these days, I'm going to find them all and keep them in one place.

Although, I don't know what I'd do if I couldn't stumble upon a long forgotten scrap of paper with a brilliant idea written upon it ;)

Christina Lee said...

I am all over the place with mine too! I really need to put them all in one document or folder.