Facts of Life,  Ideas,  Inspiration,  Writer's Block

Diamond in the Rough

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.Β 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. ^_^

Happy Hunting!


  • Michelle A (@SunflowerRei)

    πŸ™‚ I have a doc on my comp called “Plot Bunnies.” So far, I have three ideas. One of them is definitely short story material. The other two are probably are more book-length. Sometimes, I feel like I’ll never have a new idea ever again, especially on a long project, so it’s nice to same something simmering away that you can develop as the ideas come to you.

    • krystal jane

      Yeah, totally! I still get that feeling sometimes that I’ll never have another idea or the energy to write one. But I can look through my ideas and feel that shiny new idea excitement. It’s always a nice reminder that as long as I can think, I can’t run out of ideas. And ideas carry hope. ^_^

      I love that you call your file “Plot Bunnies!” I just call mine “story ideas.” Lol!

  • Harliqueen

    Having a multitude of ideas is a great thing, deciding which one to run with is a little harder. I try to jot down every snippet that crosses my mind, just in case πŸ˜€

    • krystal jane

      So true. I’m always coming up with crazy ways to pick an idea. Last time I drew an idea out of a cup. ^_^ I actually kind of like that though. If the thought of working on the story made me cringe, I knew it was wrong one to run with.

  • Michelle Wallace

    Crockpot and plot bunnies and all sorts of wonderful containers overflowing with story ideas… *sigh*
    I wish my writerly brain were as fertile… it’s on the blink… LOL
    I’m ecstatic if I have even half-a-story idea at any given time, that I have to hold onto for dear life… πŸ™‚

    • krystal jane

      There’s some quote I saw somewhere that said something like, “You can’t run out creativity. The more you use it, the more you have.” Or something like that. Like the more ideas you use, the more you get. So far it’s proving to be true. It’s scary, but you get crazy rewarded. πŸ™‚

  • Thea Landen (@TheaLanden)

    Some ideas need to “bake” longer than others. Other snippets never, uh, quite get past the raw egg stage? (I don’t know, I’m running out of metaphors here. And I don’t even eat eggs.)

    For me, I try to limit myself to only work on one major project at a time. In a way, knowing that there’s a shiny new, pretty, fully-cooked story idea waiting for me motivates me to finish what’s currently in progress. (Which is precisely where I am now. Time to WRITE LIKE CRAZY so I can move on!)

    • krystal jane

      Raw egg stage. ^_^ That’s a good way to look at it!
      I’ve tried to multitask stories. I just can’t. You’re right, knowing I have ideas ready to go, keeps me from dragging my feet too much with what I’m working on. I either write the story on the plate, or I trash it and grab sometime else. Some of the ideas in my queue aren’t exactly patient. Lol!

  • rhchatlien

    I have vague ideas for other books, but I can’t do anything with them once I’m working on a novel. I can only incubate one at a time.

    Speaking of writing process, here’s what you need to know for the blog chain you agreed to do:

    Step One: you send me a short bio of about 50-75 words and a low-res photo that I can use in my blog to link to you. I need this by Sunday April 6 so that I can put your link in my blogpost on Monday April 7.

    Step Two: Answer these four questions about your writing process. 1) What am I working on? 2) How does my work differ from others of its genre? 3) Why do I write what I do? 4) How does my writing process work?

    Step Three: Your blogposts incorporating these answers needs to go live on Monday April 14. In it, please acknowledge me and mention my blog ( http://ruthhullchatlienbooks.com) for involving you in the blog tour.

    Step Four: In your post you must also say who will be taking part the week after you do – choose three writers. Give a 1-2 line bio and link to their website.

    You can send the information to me by e-mail: rhchatlien at aol dot com, and I’ll follow up from there. Thanks for participating!

  • Tia Bach

    Cheers to inspiring ideas. I was worried after my first book that I might be a one-and-done author. But then another idea started nagging me, and now I’m on book two of a three-part series. The other day I worried about what I was going to do after that… then I remembered how it worked before (it just came to me). Hoping that’s the way my writer brain works. Now to leave the worry behind.

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