Aladdin shout out. ^_^
Once upon a time, I remember I was going to talk about the benefit of having multiple story ideas. Back in the day, I had a constant supply of workable ideas thanks to my handy dandy writer’s crockpot, something I abandoned a few years ago when I was chin deep in a four book vampire series. After that needed to be shelved, I found myself completely without anything to work on. Not a fun feeling.
Whenever I get a new idea, I run it through a kind of obstacle course. If the concept is particularly woo-inducing, I give it permission to throw a one sentence pitch at me. Or if it’s just a character (which is how I usually get ideas), I allow them to introduce themselves, and they have half a minute to say or do or show me something interesting. What can I say? The attention span for nonsense is super short! After this, if the pitch/introduction seems like something I would dig, I move it to the Crockpot! cue fanfare
This is where stories go to “cook,” developing characters and backstories and plot lines in the background so I can do other stuff. Kind of my way of saying, “Hey, brain! See if you can do something with this, eh?” And when I’m ready for a new idea, I poke through the crockpot and see who’s ready to go. Sometimes they fall apart, but if you always have a few stories in the crockpot, you know you always have options, even if you end up making up something new after every project you finish.
When I get a new story idea, I can’t just dive into it right away. Characters aren’t always ready. The plot isn’t complicated enough. Backstories are still far too exciting, and I infodump like a crazy person. Or the backstories are non-existent. Some ideas take longer to develop than others. They can be in there anywhere from a few days to a year or more, and some ideas will need some research & spices thrown into the mix. I know the story is ready when I can run through a basic plot summary in my head without running into any snags.
Let me tell ya, it is beyond awesome to always have a story or two on the back burner. It really takes the stress off the old brain if you know that no matter what, you always have SOMEthing decent you can work on.
Now what I mean by ideas though is ACTUAL ideas. I ran across a blog post a few weeks back in where a writer admitted she had some 80+ ideas to the tune of “Luke and Daisy at the hotdog stand.” She was like, “What about them?” An idea would be more in the vein of, “Luke and Daisy at the hotdog stand get approached by a super secret weredog organization.” Feel free to swipe that one. ^_^
I admit, though, I do have a few “ideas” to the beat of “Something like Alice in Wonderland without the Wonderland, but with a Jabberwocky.” Sometimes I just want to see if the concept can turn into anything, so every once in a while I lift the crockpot lid and see if I can add something substantial that pitiful broth of an idea. Some of them will turn out to be crap and fall off a cliff, but this is why you have several. There’s bound to be something on my list of ideas that I can turn into a story. A Diamond in the Rough! see what I did there? Lol!
And you know what’s cool…most of the best ideas I’ve gotten of late have actually been when I’ve been developing one of these crockpot stories. And I think it’s in part due to the fact that I’m relaxed, knowing I have a bucketful of ideas at my disposal. They know there’s competition so if they want my attention, they know they better grab it quick. ^_^