Story Ideas: A Bang or a Whimper?

posted in: 2017, The Writing Process, Writing Goals | 0

Do you ever get a great idea and then it just kind of…fizzles out? I do. All the time. I had one in mind earlier this week that I started, wrote about 400 words, and then decided it wouldn’t work. So I set it aside. I have a Word document with dozens of story ideas—working titles, loglines, which format it would work best in, etc.—that I’ve been adding to since 2009, and I don’t know how I’m going to get through them all.

If I pick any of them, that is. The only ones that I’ve really gotten anywhere on have been the stories that I added to the list after I started writing. There’s a lot of good stuff on this list, stories that I would totally read if presented to me. The issue is just getting them out there.

Considering each story is months of hard work, it’s unlikely that I’ll get through them all in my lifetime, especially as I add more throughout the years. The issue for me then is to figure out which ones are worth the effort. Which stories would I enjoy reading? Which stories would others enjoy reading? Which stories would I enjoy writing?

Some it’ll be easy to pass over. A thought here, a character idea there. They aren’t really stories in the traditional sense. “What if a band of teens came together to save their local hangout—the shopping mall—when it was going to be torn down?” types? That could be a story. But “what if death was unconstitutional?” More an abstraction. It might be the basis of a story one day, but until then it’s best to focus on the former.

Right now I’m in the middle of sequel to my short story The Raven Bride. This should be novel-length, but it’s incorporating a couple of story ideas that were once on the Word doc and now can be retired. Some pretty cool ideas, one’s that I’m not ready to divulge but you’ll see one day. Right now, it’s better for me to focus on creating a short story and polishing up my other novel first. Then I can move on to the sequel. I’m excited about it and about an eighth of the way in. But I must think smart.

Otherwise this whole New Year’s resolution thing could fizzle out. And I don’t want that.

Leave a Reply