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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Too Many Story Ideas, Not enough Time…

Please welcome guest blogger Christine Ashworth

There are too many stories running around in my brain. It’s a problem most writers have, and paranormal writers more than most I think.

So what to do? Well, it depends. Here are five things you can do with those pesky story ideas. What you end up doing will be entirely based upon your own predilection.

1. TYPE IT OUT – Partially. Write down just the basics of the shiny new story in a shiny new document, and promise it you’ll get back to it just as soon as you can. Put it in an IDEAS file so you don’t lose it, and name it something recognizable. Don’t forget to back it up! Then get back to the story you were working on and FINISH IT.

2. DROP YOUR CURRENT STORY If you’re not under contract and your current story is giving you fits, drop your current story to hit up the shiny new one. This has worked both for and against me in the past. The problem can be if you are ALWAYS dropping a story that’s giving you fits for that shiny new one, and NEVER finish ANYTHING. This is not good. But, if you’re new to writing and still trying to find your own path, maybe the shiny new story is what you need.

3. GIVE IN AND WRITE IT Sometimes you just have to give in. A couple of summers ago, as I was wrestling with a paranormal novel I was writing, I became enamored of a certain celebrity couple. This story started bugging me, and I could NOT get it out of my head. Worse, there was another story that had been floating around, waiting patiently for me to get it down.

So - I gave in. From mid-June to late July, I wrote 145,000 words on two separate YA stories. The girl story first – it took me ten days to get down. The boy story took eight days, but it was also shorter. What an exhilarating ride! These stories were so close to me, though, that I had to put them on the shelf for a couple of years. I went back to my paranormal romance, finished it, entered it into contests, fixed it, submitted it, and eventually sold it.

4. TEASE YOURSELF Another way to do it is tell yourself the shiny new story at night, before you go to sleep. If you really want to write a novel about a man who finds a faerie’s wings in the forest, and the faerie who’ll do anything to get them back, but you’re currently writing a novel about poodle-walking zombies that your publisher needs right away, tease yourself. Tell yourself that story as you toss and turn in the heat of summer. (Can you tell I don’t have air conditioning, lol?) The best part about this approach? Once that zombie book is out of your hands, you’ll have a head start on the faerie story.

5. RESIGN YOURSELF In the long run, having too many ideas is gold. One of the reasons I didn’t write for many years was the fear I wouldn’t have any ideas. I have found, however, that once you open your mind to the world of possibilities, the ideas will come flooding in. Telling yourself “no” to a new story idea is not an option – too many fabulous ideas for novels have been lost due to “no”. Let the ideas flow, and capture them however you can. They are not lightning bugs, the glow will not die once you put the idea down on paper – but if you don’t find a way to catch those shiny, sparkly ideas, you will find that they fade on you in time.

As a snot-nosed boss twenty years my junior used to tell me, in a snooty, I’ve-got-more-money-than-you-could-ever-dream-of voice, we write things down so we don’t forget them. This is as true or truer of story ideas as it is to make sure to pick up the boss’s laundry. Which I made sure to forget on a regular basis.

When too many story ideas plague you, what do you do?

Christine Ashworth is a native of Southern California. The daughter of a writer and a psych major, she fell asleep to the sound of her father's Royal manual typewriter for years. In a very real way, being a writer is in her blood—her father sold his first novel before he turned forty, and he is still writing and selling novels.

At the tender age of seventeen, Christine fell in love with a man she met while dancing in a ballet company. She married the brilliant actor/dancer/painter/music man, and they now have two tall sons who are as brilliant as their parents, which keeps the dinner conversation lively.

Christine’s two dogs rule the outside, defending her vegetable garden from the squirrels and raccoons, while a polydactyl rescue cat holds court inside the house. Everything else is in a state of flux, leaving her home life a cross between an improv class and a think-tank for the defense of humans against zombies and demons.

DEMON SOUL is her first book, a paranormal romance published by Crescent Moon Press in April, 2011. DEMON HUNT, Christine’s second novel in the series, should be out by the end of 2011.

Website and blog: http://christine-ashworth.com
Twitter: @CCAshworth
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000709867094

Demon Soul

…to retrieve his soul, she’ll become fire… Gabriel Caine stands on the edge of the abyss. A vampire has stolen his soul and if he doesn’t get it back soon, his next step will be into hell.

Rose Walters has been sent back from the dead to complete one task – save Gabriel Caine. But this muscled guy in leather, black jeans and a dangerous aura didn’t look like he needed anyone’s help.

Rose has touched the whole of Gabriel, making him yearn for a love he believes he can never have. Her willingness to put her human life on the line for him forces him to bring all three parts of himself – demon, human and Fae bloodlines, and the traps and gifts of each – into harmony, and into the fight that will decide their fate.


Ciara said...

Hi Christine,
These are some great tips. I always have more ideas then I have time to write. :) I jot down notes and go back to them later. I've had a MG fantasy about a boy with special needs that keeps getting left on the shelf. It is a story close to my heart and I hope to write it someday as my son is the inspiration for the story. Have a great day.

Christine Ashworth said...

Thanks for dropping by, Ciara! I hope you do write your MG story - it sounds like the world could use it.

Anonymous said...

Great post! I've often found myself plagued by too many ideas. I let them simmer for a while, and the ones that don't fade I start writing down on sticky notes (I'm a bit obsessed with sticky notes). And sometimes the ones that did fade come back to me for whatever reason. I figure if I can't stop thinking about them, or if they keep coming back, they are at least worth looking into further :)

katjameson said...

I have several small books where I keep track of story ideas and dreams. Seeing it on the page rather than typed helps trigger the memory of the whole idea as I'm reading my notes. I agree with you that writers should never ignore a new creative idea. You just never know when it could be the best one yet.

Mona Karel said...

I had the opposite problem and often still do. So many ideas I don't know which one to work on so I end up not working on any! I'll do a quick idea format and keep it in a computer file. Then come back a year later and be pleased to read the idea fresh.

Christine Ashworth said...

Mona, sometimes you just gotta do a little bit on each idea - and when one grabs you by the throat and won't let go, that's the one you go with. Good luck!

Christine Ashworth said...

Kat, I too have those small books. The problem for me is, if I don't translate those small books to the computer, I invariably end up losing those small books! Which really sucks, you know? Hugs and happy birthday, girl!

Christine Ashworth said...

Sticky Notes, absolutely - the ones that fade and then come back are definitely worth solid effort. Do you keep all your sticky notes in one place? Do you ever lose any? Inquiring minds want to know!

Lisa Kessler said...

Great blog Christine!!! :)

I jot down the notes and save them in my "Novels & short story" folder on my computer...

If I let myself jumps projects I end up with 4 books at various stages all unfinished... LOL

Focus is best for me! :)

Good luck with the new release!


Savannah Chase said...

Thank you for the great post...I have so many ideas but not enough time..I need another me to keep up..

Anonymous said...

I have lost a few, but they were the ones I always toted around in my purse and so I already knew them by heart :) I keep them all in my writing drawer at home, and for a long time I was scanning and putting them on my blog. Those 64 stickies will never be lost! :)