Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Building Ideas Box


I am an idea factory. (That shouldn't be confused with title factory cause I suck at those.) When I should be working on my current WIP ideas are brewing like steaming coffee in my gray matter. Before I would stow them away for a rainy day when I would remember to scrawl them down on a piece of paper. But then the piece of paper would get lost in the office of doom and then I can't find it anymore. (Currently happening right now for an old idea. *sigh*)

I thought I'd divulge how my conveyor belt of ideas are currently built, stored, and then packaged for potential pick up by my writing shopping cart. (Cue the 1950s shopper music.)

1. Idea Pops Into Head - This most often happens while I am driving, changing a diaper, or taking a walk. My best ideas have come while driving. Thank goodness only one idea came during a diaper change.

2. Let the Idea Roll Around - Ideas are a dime a dozen so it really helps to let it go crazy after it pops in. I don't really start thinking about the black moment or the plot. Most ideas start with an event or a crazy character. Most of the time my ideas start with either.

3. Store the Darn Thing - Before I used paper for my ideas. I even had a notebook. But now I'm snazzy and use Google Docs. Why Google Docs? Well, they provide a central location for me to access my ideas from anywhere. Hey, I'm in Borders and I get a cool plot point for one of my ideas--then I add the note to my Google Doc for that idea.

4. Organizing Ideas - Once my idea is jotted down into a new Google document, I expand out from my initial paragraph. I use LOCK plot builder from James Scott Bell's book Plot & Structure. Basically LOCK includes the Lead, Objective, Conflict, and Knockout. As I build my idea I fill in these portions. From the LOCK, I am able to add in plot points, the black moment, and other goodies to torture the protagonists.

5. Add in Sugar, Spice, and Conflict - By this point, the idea is packaged and ready to turn into a story if I wanted. But most of the time I'm not ready so I add in bits of scenes if they pop into my head. Most of the time if I get a scene it has an expiration date in my head. If I let it sit too long I'll forget so I simply type into the idea document I've created.

Yes, I'm not ashamed to say I came up with another idea after I wrote this post.

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