Displaying Story Ideas

So, I’m trying something new for organizing my writing ideas.

I don’t really have a centralized area where I write down my ideas for plots/characters/etc. Usually, they just end up in any notebook I have handy or any scrap of paper that just happens to be nearby. Sometimes, I’m careful to transfer these ideas to a central location, but most of the time they just float off somewhere, never to be seen again.

To remedy this, I’ve decided to collect some of these ideas in one place and, at the same time, give myself more of a visual reminder that, yes, I do get good ideas occasionally.

I’ve found some of the favorite ideas, written up a summary for each of them on sticky notes, and started covering my bedroom walls with them. There are three categories, each with their own separate section of wall: Place, People, and Plot.

Yes, a I am a fan of alliteration, why do you ask?

Under “Place”, I put setting ideas. Background stuff.¬†Anything from maps of magical kingdoms to a fictionalization of a museum I once went to. One of these days, I’m going to add creatures I’ve invented, and fun houses that I wished I lived in. ¬†This area will probably fill up pretty quickly when I start putting up my theories of magic. I spend more time than I like to admit coming up with rules for systems of magic (sociology, biology, conservation of energy, etc).

“People” is filled with characters that haven’t attached themselves to a plot. They are people with a distinctive trait, disability, or superpower that will require a certain style of story to accommodate. However, there are a couple of examples of people that are just interesting personalities that have asserted themselves when I’ve started writing. There is one guy, for example, that likes playing baseball. I don’t know his name, yet, or what story he is a part of, but I know what he sounds like and I know how he treats his younger sister.

“Plot” is filled up with log lines, basic “who” and “what” kind of stuff. I’m very careful to space the sticky notes out a bit, though, since I’ve added some smaller sticky notes below some of the main ones that start to detail the conflicts, characters, setting, or the origin of the idea. Ideally, each log line would branch out into a full tree of sticky notes that bring the story into greater detail with each layer added. In practice, I don’t think that’s going to happen, but I can dream.

After putting an afternoon to get this set up, it surprised me how many ideas (decent ones) I actually had. For the exercise, I had gone back through some of my old journals, and found some short fiction that I had forgot I even had. When I finished posting everything up, it was encouraging to be able to see a history of my creativity.

I have to remind myself: Yes, I am a writer. I do, actually, have ideas. I don’t have any excuse for why I shouldn’t be writing.

Mind you, this hasn’t encouraged me to write more, like I hoped it would. But, still, it’s gotten me thinking.


NaNoWriMo 2013 Update #4

Sorry that I didn’t post this earlier, but here it is anyway.

I finished NaNo with less than 4k words. Not my worst year, at least. (Freshman year of college I managed only around 2k)

My live has just shifted on its axis a bit: I’m now on night shift until further notice. It will probably only be a week or two, but it’s decidedly different from anything I’ve done before. Expect a more lengthy post on it some time.

When my work shedule clears up a bit (especially once the end-of-year shutdowns happen), I’ll be able to write some more interesting and detailed posts. Until then, all I can promise is that I’ll get at least something on the blog.


NaNoWriMo 2013 Update #3

Nothing to see here.

I only managed slightly less than 1,000 words this week. That puts me at a number below the 5k which was my goal.

That being said, I’m feeling better this week. My parents are visiting and, if I’m lucky, I might be able to convince my supervisor to let me have Thanksgiving off to spend with them.

Here’s hoping, anyway.

NaNoWriMo 2013 Update #2

It’s been another week. I’ve added about 1,000 words since my last post.

. . .

I’m not quite to the point of giving up, but I’m not terribly optimistic that I’ll get anything out of this month.

My goal for this week (because I need one) is to get 5k total. I think, if I had motivation, I might even be able to pull 10k in a week, but I’m feeling really low right now.


NaNoWriMo 2013 Update #1

Well, this isn’t going well.

I have around 2,000 words. And it’s a third of a way though the month.

To compound my feelings of guilt, my friend who is completely new to NaNo is already 10k+ words down.

That probably means I should get some work done instead of griping about it, huh?