Friday, February 2, 2018

What to Do: New Story Brain (When You're in the Middle of Another WIP)


The other day, I said to one of my beta readers, KP, "Next contemporary, after this one...older guy/younger girl."

She reminded me I said the same thing months ago.

I do not recall this.

Or maybe I do. I mean, it sounds like something I would say. Story ideas are spur-of-the-moment, stopped at a red light, staring off into the distance saying, "Oh my goodness, look at that big, pretty field. I wonder who works that field. I wonder how long it's been there. I wonder if' it's really old. I wonder if there's a big, monstrous house beyond it. I wonder who lives there. What if the daughter of the rich man who owns that property fell in love with the servant boy who works that field?"

Rapid succession. Story blooming like a muffin pouring over its small space in the tin. The above scenario really did happen, by the way. My historical novel Return to Me was the product.

Anyways. KP then asked if I'd written any of it as of yet. The older guy/younger girl idea.

"Nope. Not going to. Have to finish what I'm working on first."

She knows this.

Because here's my problem with giving in to New Story Brain: I'll never finish anything.

Doesn't negate the blaring fact that I do get New Story Brain and I HAVE to do something about it, else allow Shiny New Story to pester me, until I give in completely.

So, here's what I do:

1) Make a Pinterest board. If the characters and scenery are in my head, I give them visual birth by permitting them their own private section. "There," I tell them. "You're somewhat alive and breathing. Now, as my momma would say, sit in there together and marinate."

2) Start a Playlist. I don't ever allow myself to go too crazy with music for a new story, because that's reserved solely for the projects going on full-force. However, if I hear a song and it makes me think, "Shiny New Story," I add it to a new playlist.

3) Create a ROUGH Outline. This is the part that allows me to get ideas down, without doing any "actual" writing.
                            * Who are the players?
                            * How old are they? What do they look like?
                            * What pivotal events make up their respective backgrounds?
                            * How do/did they meet?
                            * What is the hero's goal? What is the heroine's goal?
                            * What's keeping them from reaching that goal?
                            * Where is the setting?

Granted, I may not have an answer to every question, but this at least gets the new idea on paper.

4) Write Down What's Clear. This could be a paragraph of exposition or a patch of dialogue. If it's something I don't want to forget, I get it onto paper. However, I don't "create" as if the story's my main Work In Progress.

What do YOU do with New Story Brain? Do you buckle and give it your full attention? Or do you have a process?
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1 comment

Andrew Leon said...

Oh, man, I have SO many folders with ideas and notes!
And a few with a first chapter.
But, then, lately, I haven't been very good at finishing anything, so, probably, all of those things are just going to sit and rot.

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