Today’s word count: 2269
NANTUCKET word count to date: 38,085
HARPER word count to date: 2,128
I have never been one to have a shortage of ideas, but I’ve also never developed a habit of writing down all the ideas I get. As some of you know, I stopped writing fiction for a long time before recently starting to write again; during those years, I have had several “big” ideas occur to me, and I’ve kept them all in my head, adding bits and pieces to them during frequent bouts of daydreaming.
I’ve always figured this was the best way to do things. I still have some nicely developed ideas running around in my head that first came to me years ago. But now I’m wondering if maybe I should start putting my ideas down on paper after all. Start up an idea notebook.
The reason for this shift in thinking? I’ve been getting a little tired of scrolling back over earlier parts of my manuscript to find some minor character’s name, or the name of a business I’d use somewhere along the line. So yesterday I grabbed a notebook that was lying around, in order to jot down the names of some of the secondary characters I was intending to write about.
I flipped open the notebook I’d grabbed, and this is what I found, written in my own hand:
Bits and Pieces.
– a witch, a demon, a black shark helicopter*
– group of girls who can’t let others know that they know
– the witch & demon are opposites. Witch has same powers, only for good.
– the guy, standing outside the glass doors, raising magic to spy. Magic leaves green trace that takes a few seconds to dissipate. Bad guy shows up, good guy switches magic off but too late, leaves signs.
– twin super skiers** are on the good guy’s side. They glow when they ski.
– the one girl must be able to do what she needs to do under all their noses.
– it is a race against time ***
*don’t ask. But it sounds kind of interesting, doesn’t it?
**I don’t have a clue. But this is exactly what I had written down.
***aren’t they all?
This notebook was lying on top of a cabinet that I had cleared off just a few months ago. So it’s relatively new. Here’s the thing, though: Do I remember having this dream? No. Don’t even remember it after reading these notes. Do I remember writing down this dream? No. Not at all. I admit, it IS in my handwriting, so I must have written it down. Do I know what any of this means? No. Not at all. But there are some little things that I sort of like and wouldn’t mind using in a story somewhere (not the skiers, though – but don’t blame me. It was a dream, not me!)
Okay, so I know why this particular “idea” didn’t make it to my list of “big” ideas that I carry around in my head. But on the other hand, it’s interesting in its own way. And it seems to me there are bits of it that might actually be usable.
So I’ve decided to try keeping an idea notebook. (Update: Yes, my dreams do tend to be like this, vivid with lots of action elements, like watching a movie, only often I’m in them. Sometimes, I ‘m not. Is it any surprise that I like to sleep?)
What about you? Do you store your ideas in a notebook? Are you organized about it, or is it just a journal filled with bits and pieces? If you do use one, have you found it to be useful?