♦Welcome to another edition of the Open Book Blog Hop!♦
Do you get story ideas that you know you’ll never write?
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The scrap pile of my past ideas is probably substantial at this point. I can’t recall them all, because the forgettable aspect of them is what drove them to the garbage bin. Perhaps, my judgment in that time wasn’t the best, but I would like to think that a story that need writing wouldn’t abandon me anymore than I would it.
You can always see the list of items I’m working on and my scrap works over on the Scribbles & WIPs tab. Some of those listed will never be written. A few may become scripts. Even fewer will enjoy life as a novel. I keep those ideas on tap because I feel value in the tail I glimpsed thus far. How it will manifest has yet to be clear to me. It may even be that it should be a cooperative project undertaken with other writers or filmmakers.
So what causes something to end up on the scrap pile? A couple of obvious matters can drag something down: it’s forgettable and time. If you know a writer, then you know that writers carry a means to write notes while they’re out and about. Prior to smart phones and their note options (both voice recording and note apps), this was the bane of my writing life.
I can clearly see myself crossing the college campus as an idea bubbled up, and neither pen nor paper in easy reach to mark it down. Besides, I was in a rush to get to class, or to my ride home, or to lunch and what not. Ideas always came when I was unable to pause to mark them down. I learned to daydream them in a loop. Repeating lines over and over helped me keep it with me.
If that idea stayed, I’d write notes in class or wherever I could take a moment (the ride home), to jot it down. I still have my little notebook that is about twenty years old. That hasn’t seen the light of day in years. I haven’t cracked the pages in longer (it gets moved around but not reviewed). All of the ideas in there are probably scraps. Multiple notebooks carrying the starts of projects are stacked on my bookcase gathering dust. A real scrap pile.
Would I ever go into this idea catalog? Absolutely, someday I plan on reviewing the old ideas I have had. Perhaps there is something in there that I wasn’t prepared to write at the time it’s egg landed in my brain. Never say never to any idea.
Other authors have answered this same question in the past, and their advice was to keep notes. The idea might be the egg for a poem, a short story, a scene in something else, or novel in stasis until all it’s parts develop or the writer is ready to undergo the project. Hindsight is our greatest tool in these instances. Time is the tell.
I’ve given similar advice in other hops and articles. Sometimes, an idea comes to us just a small fraction of what we will need to produce the final product. The rest of those pieces are going to come when they will, and you may not be in control of how that plays out. It could be days and months. Then again, years may pass before that key element hits you.
Writer’s block, in believe, is part of that process. The block may be telling you, move on, because this is all you are going to get on this one for now, your deadlines be damned. It’s so important to be okay with that happening. The best way to deal with something that feels like a scrap is to shelve it and move on. The other pieces are likely coming along. So having multiple projects isn’t a bad idea. In fact, it may turn out that those multiple projects are somehow tied together.
Years ago, I penned several hundred pages of a fantasy series. They’ve sat on my shelf for decades at this point. Recently, I discovered that this story belonged in the Trailokya universe. Adapting the books will be quite a lift, but it is going to be worth it in the end. That work is not a loss. Those pages were just waiting for their time.
Don’t worry if you leave a scrap pile behind after you shuck this mortal coil, dear writer. Such a legacy is a testament to your discernment.
Let’s hop on over to see what our hop authors do about the never write scraps…