Those Darn New Story Ideas: Catch ‘Em, Store ‘Em, or Let ‘Em Go?

I’ve been up to my brows recently editing, writing, crafting, and talking about editing, writing and crafting, and thinking about editing, writing and crafting. Yep, there’s been a lot of ‘ing-ing’ going on in my house the past few weeks. I’ve also had a lot of new story ideas coming my way, too. And it’s making me crazy (or more crazy – your call:).

I can only write three stories at a time, not the ten that jump into my head every other day and take hold for a few minutes that sometimes stretch into hours, hours I should be working on my current manuscript or the other two WIPs that still have life in them.

What do you do with these story ideas? Where do you keep them? And yeah, I could jot them into a diary, or a journal, or keep a file on my computer that says story ideas. But then I’m afraid I’ll spend hours sorting, researching and Googling, because I have this ‘ing-ing’ problem anyway, and then I’d have to add another ‘ing’ to my repertoire – the one called screaming!

Seriously, what do you do when you have these new story ideas that just won’t stop, well, like this one…

One night last February while taking a break from writing, I was watching a television show called Justified staring the yummy Timothy Olyphant (photo, however, is from Deadwood).  In it a character has a line that went something like this: “Denzel should do a movie about him.” Of course, with my past history with Denzel (see my bio here if you want details, but it’s not that relevant), I perked up at the mention of Mr. Washington’s name and had to look this ‘him’ guy up.

So, I Googled Bass Reeves (great name by the way). Interesting. Black man who was a U.S. Marshall who was a quick-draw in the Old West. Very cool. Within a few minutes – in my head – he went from being the man with a way-too-thick-mustache in a photo to a man who looked like Idris Elba (see photo stage right) in a Stetson (a big good looking man in a big sexy hat – I mean, seriously, that’s yummy), and then I remembered Bass was a kick-butt US Marshal, so I decided he also had to be a time traveler (especially if he looks like Idris:).

Bass/Idris then meets up with a daredevil sexy clairvoyant chick who plays heavy metal violin (like this gal, Tina Guo), and then I decided it should be a romantic suspense and I found this website…and my story had to be set in the world of Steampunk!

Jeez…what do you do with these ideas?

Okay, I stored this one (by writing about it here:)…But I’ve got fifty more that take up good brain space, and the attack of the new story ideas always raises its head as I’m going strong with the writing, editing and crafting of my current manuscript and those other two WIPs (with life left). It’s as if writing is always about new ideas, and I need for it to be about finishing one damn book, you know?

Oh, sorry, I went into my rant about finishing, but I’m back.

The bottom-line is what do you do with your story ideas? Or give me a one-liner about your wildest, silliest, or most brilliant idea (in your humble opinion) which you still may write one day…and oh yeah, if you want to steal my US Marshal Time Traveler who looks like Idris Elba in a Stetson, who then kidnaps a heavy metal violin-playing mind-reader to protect her from vampires in a Steampunk romantic suspense – well you can’t have it, because I wrote it here first!

16 thoughts on “Those Darn New Story Ideas: Catch ‘Em, Store ‘Em, or Let ‘Em Go?

  1. Okay, I say we clear the next two months and let Denny Mermaid blog-out all her story ideas here! Holy Guacamole, Denny! Other ideas:
    -cartoon sketch each idea (another ing for you)
    -find a wall, pref. in a hidden closet, and like parents who keep track of their kids’ height, mark each new idea by jotting a sentence on the wall (no files to organize!)
    -hire a thought assistant
    -act out your ideas in front of You Tube
    -don’t listen to carlene-mermaid 😉

  2. Hi Denny,
    Great post! I’m a big fan of sending emails to myself. Use the same subject label for each, such as Story Idea: Idris Elba. That way, when you’re ready for them, you can search for “Story Idea,” and presto, up will pop all your messages.
    Good luck finishing your book!

  3. People often ask me where I get my ideas. I dunno- my brain? Plot bunnies are always hopping in and I have a memory like a colander so I have to write the ideas down. I have a notepad next to my bed and i have a wall full of post-its next to my desk, and a file on my iPad with ideas and a computer file titled “ideas” and…well you get the idea!

    One day I may even get the chance to use one of these ideas. For now, business dictates I stick to my brand and keep writing in my genre. Luckily most of my ideas are the smexy ones.

    1. I think that not being published yet and dabbling in three different genres is also one of my issues…if it can be called an issue. But yeah, plot bunnies don’t always listen to what I’m supposed to be writing…

      Thanks for dropping by and commenting!

  4. Hell if I know what to do with my ideas. They are everywhere! I do the same thing as you – I know I should keep a journal or Word file but alas, I don’t. I figure the ideas that actually stick with me for a couple weeks (or months or years) are the really good ones.

    My brain is a scary, scary place. 😉

    1. lol – I actually believe you when you say your brain is a scary place:)…it’s the curse of the creative mind – it’s free to think what ever it wants to think…

      Thank you for commenting.

  5. My personal favorite one of these is Kristin Higgins’ Irish potato famine idea. 🙂

    I end up with these stupid ideas rolling around in my head (hopefully maturing like fine wine) until I can’t take the voices screaming at me any more and I write. I’m not the only one who hears them, right?

  6. lol! A TV writer from my Buffy fandom days told me to stay clear of TV and film because it breaks people into tiny pieces and throws them away — seriously, and she was/is a successful TV writer, show runner and producer. So I’ll stick with the books, but that that idea? It was meant as fun except the US Marshal sounds very cool in my head:)…

    See you Friday!

  7. ‘chuckling’ – I don’t know if I can help you on the voices you are hearing- but I won’t argue with you about them either. I’ve read in medical books you shouldn’t argue with certain people:)…

    Just teasing, but yeah, I hear the voices (sure, I do.)

    I am looking forward to the retreat and the retreat, I can’t even explain!

  8. I too have ‘the’ problem. Again–mostly files of ideas I keep as snippits of outlines and synopsis.

    My favorite idea of late (after the WIP I’m currently working on) is a story based kind of on real-life–not saying whose or what part though 😉 This one is about a middle aged divorced woman who inherits an international male review show-(think a young female Hugh Hefner inheriting Chippendales). The main story is about the woman and then various novellas/novels can be about the men in general. The rating–not sure yet, but on the spicy side of things.

    My Muse is killing me! LOL Come here, Zmeu…you wicked thing! 😀

    1. Loni-Mermaid, I’m jumping in here before anyone else and offering up my services as research assistant on that new fave idea of yours 😉

      1. Carlene-Mermaid,
        I will keep that in mind. 😉 All in the name of research though. It would be a heck of a job but hey–someone’s got to make the sacrifice. LOL

  9. Denny,
    I have pieces of paper everywhere with a couple of words written or whole paragraphs. I can’t even make sense of them half of the time. It’s ridiculous. But those are my ideas. Scraps of paper. LOL.
    I started to keep a file with idea and book titles. Those are the best. It would annoy me so much when I’d come up with a great title and think, “There’s no way I’ll forget this! It’s brilliant. I’m brilliant!” Then, I forget it. Where’s my brilliance?!?
    So, I started keeping a file with just book titles. 🙂
    See you Friday, Denny-Mermaid!

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