The guys from DitDat told us at Ninc that posts don't have to be long. They have to be useful.
So here we go with something useful...
We've talked about the could/might/must and should list for jotting down potential scenes for your book and using the list when you storyboard. But what do you do when your idea is just a glimmer?
Do you have a system for "catching" ideas before they run away from you? You should.
To me, there are two ways to get an idea.
The first one is simple. You get a full-blown idea. "The hero and heroine must catch a killer but she's already been arrested for the crime and he's the DA prosecuting her." That's a full-blown idea. When you get one of these, scenes will pop into your head. You know the conflicts just from the one line.
The second one isn't so simple. It's an idea that you get piecemeal. You see a mom with twins and Walmart and you think, "Hmm...I'd like to write a murder mystery about a twin who frames her sister for murder." And from there you get bits and pieces of the idea. You see things that fit into the story, one piece at a time.
Do you capture these the same way? (Do YOU even try to capture them at all? Some people don't. They assume their subconscious will work everything out and they end up losing a lot of good ideas that way.)
Actually, you can capture both types of idea the same way. You create a form or system and put it in a notebook.
My "idea" page starts with "Gist of the story." That could be "Hero and heroine must catch a killer but she's already been arrested for the crime and she's the DA prosecuting her." Or "I'd like to write a murder mystery about a twin who frames her sister for murder." Though one's the full-blown idea and the other is just a thought, they are both the "gist" of a story.
Then I have a section called Conflicts. In the one case you could fill them in right away. In the other, the very fact that you have a section called conflicts reminds you that you have to ponder these, and as ideas pop into your head you fill in the conflict-related tidbits.
I have space for characters and, as ideas come to me, I write them in. I sometimes write out my thought process. ie Should they be identical twins? Do you really want to write about another yellow-haired vixen? Is the hero tall, dark and handsome, or is his lack of physical perfection part of his sexiness? Or his conflict?
Setting is also a good category. For some story types setting is almost a character. But even if your setting is just background, you still have to know what it is. :)
Then I have the section for potential scenes. The could/might/must and should list.
I write these "categories" of story in sections that are about a page or two in a spiral notebook. I don't always have the notebook with me, but I have it with me lots of times. (Because I always carry a big purse.) I may also have more than one story in a notebook. (Because most of us have lots and lots of ideas.) If I do have more than one idea, I put a post-it where one idea ends and another begins.
I do like to talk to myself, so there are a lot of my arguments for and against hero types, settings, potential scenes on my pages...but I know shorthand so anyone who finds my notebook won't think I'm crazy...but also I can fit a lot of words on a page! LOL
If you start a notebook like this, ONE notebook to capture ideas, when it comes time to write your next story, you will be surprised and pleased at how far you've already taken your idea(s).
Happy Monday and Happy Reading...
susan ... who is hoping that was short enough to please the guys at DitDat. :)