Today, instead of writing a story, I’ m going to write about writing stories. Friday is my hardest day of the week, work-wise, and if I don’t have a story ready to post when I get home, there is little hope of getting one written in the evening. So instead, let me tell you about my story queue.
As long as I have been writing, I have had a file for story ideas. This is just a place where I can write random thoughts and ideas that might develop into a story later on. Some of these ideas are terrible, but at least several of my novels sat for years as one-line premises in a story idea file before I developed them into full-length novels.
For my blog, I have a separate story idea file that is mostly for short stories. It has about 45 story ideas in it now. Some are quite terrible and will never be written, but most could have a shot at being decent if/when I get the time and chance to write them.
Recently, however, I have a new thing developing, which is my story queue. These are stories that I have either committed to writing or that I am actively planning to write, and this is growing quite fast as well. Here is what it looks like at the moment:
– a full story based on my Visual Fiction story, Blue Storm (monsters raining from the sky)
– a full story based on the Visual Fiction story, The Sundering Fog
– a longer story based on my Classics Arguments story
– a longer story based on The Lake
Are you sensing a theme? These are either flash fiction stories or teaser stories I wrote that people have commented that they’d like to hear more about. Of course they are stories I am interested in too, or I wouldn’t even consider writing more about them. I don’t mind sharing these, since they’re all based on posted stories. However, there are others that I am working on, or planning, that I am more hesitant to share, since they’re still just ideas. Here are a few of them:
– a time travel story that I’m writing for Amy of the Bumble Files, as part of my Invitational Prompts series. I’ve been working on it for a long time and it’s about 10,000 words, but soon it will be finished and I will post it in sections.
– a story about North Korea (#3 in the Invitational Prompts series), which I will be writing based on ideas provided by nightlake.
– a story about a (fictional) friend named Sammy. We all know a Sammy. He’s quite a guy, and not always in a good way.
There are a few others that are less defined or that I don’t want to share yet. I am going to write all of these eventually and I will give priority to the Invitational Prompts stories, but the main problem with this list is that about half the stories I write come from sudden inspiration. I get an idea, sit down, and just write it, maybe in half an hour or an hour (not including an equal amount of time for editing). So, it always takes me a while to get through the list and then more things make their way onto it.
Writing is a very private thing, but I’m curious: how do you write your stories or blog posts? Do you have ideas that you plot out, or do you write everything off the top of your head? Since I do both, I see the merits of both, but I’d love to hear what you have to say about the matter.
May 10th, 2013 at 7:57 pm
I draft my stories once I have a full idea on what to write, but poems are written on sudden whims or fancies.. should spend more time editing, I guess, but don’t have the patience for it:) Are the motivational sergeant stories on your list too? They are amazing and humorous. Wonder if anyone has told the sergeant off yet?
May 11th, 2013 at 10:21 am
The motivational drill sergeant stories are always in the back of my mind, but I tend to get a small idea and then just write those. I’ll write more, don’t worry, but I didn’t put established series on the list.
May 11th, 2013 at 10:22 am
May 10th, 2013 at 8:45 pm
I listen to music or search through my catalogue. Once a song strikes an interest, I sit and meld with it for a few minutes. If it gels, I write (see Long Tall Glasses). Others come just on a whim, and some are divinely inspired (see Healing Waters).
And some are adaptations on things I have done in the past (see Future Wife Series).
May 11th, 2013 at 10:19 am
I can see that. That makes sense, considering your type of writing. I’ve only written a few stories based off music, but that’s more or less what I did.
May 10th, 2013 at 9:04 pm
I am in the same condition as you are! that is why I am happy that I have so many blogs, I am shifting some of my stories to Thursday stories and author’s blog! cant wait for centuries!
I wish you could carry a laptop to school and write there!
May 11th, 2013 at 10:16 am
I do write at school sometimes, although usually it’s too hard to concentrate there. I tend to think of Thoughts as your “main” blog, but is that still the case?
May 10th, 2013 at 9:05 pm
all the best! don’t reject any of your stories! I am sure they are all fantastic!
May 11th, 2013 at 10:03 am
It would be an interesting challenge to take a very bad story premise idea and try to write a good story about it. Maybe there are no bad ideas; just bad writers. Hmmm
May 10th, 2013 at 9:06 pm
It only takes one word sometimes, a line, a visual prompt. I’m not good with lists, or journals. Mostly I just sit down and write. Had been mostly poetry which I just kept to a regular page length or less. And a few years ago I started a small daily observance writing project. And that is just what it suggests – pick one thing and observe, pay attention and write. However through blogging I’ve found Flash Fiction – when you only have 100 – 150 words well it is sort of like a short poem, only in a paragraph or two.
I’ve got one story that I’ve been using The Sunday Whirl Wordle prompt list for that I write in verse, once a week. And that is over a year old now. I dislike the whole editing process so if I don’t do it right away – it doesn’t get done.
May 11th, 2013 at 10:01 am
I have found that I need to write down my ideas fairly well or I don’t remember later what I was talking about. That’s a frustrating feeling, although I just assume the idea wasn’t very good.
I like flash fiction for a change, since I just make that up on the spot.
May 10th, 2013 at 9:20 pm
I do both as well; I’ve got fragments of scenes in my head and the odd line said by a character but most of my blog posts are off the cuff.
May 11th, 2013 at 1:42 am
I hate to admit it, darling, but I’ve begun to take advantage of technology — like Agent Cooper from Twin Peaks, I’ve begun taking notes into (well, not a tape recorder, but) my iPhone. If an idea strikes me, I tell SIRI, and sometimes, she even interprets what I say correctly!
Also, I’m a meticulous editor (I even edit my comments on people’s blogs). If you read something I’ve written, even if it’s just a 100 word flash fiction piece, know that it has been likely copied and cut and pasted apart, re-worded, re-written, and then re-read at least a dozen times — I don’t believe in love at first sight, and I don’t believe in a masterpiece in one draft.
Writing is hard work! That’s why it’s such a big pay-off when someone actually takes the time to read. Thank you again for reading!
May 11th, 2013 at 9:53 am
I agree that there’s no such thing as a perfect (or even good) first draft. Even after I’m satisfied with something, I read through it again and still find mistakes and make little changes to make things clearer or stronger. That’s the nature of the work, right?
May 12th, 2013 at 3:53 am
My short story collection started the same way people reading flash fictions and wanting more of the story which is very thrilling but I am beginning to suspect means I am not very good at flash fiction as it supposed to be a self contained story lol
May 12th, 2013 at 9:49 am
That’s true. I have found that flash fiction as a self-contained story is much harder than merely writing a short scene. It’s quite hard to consistently write flash fiction that ties up all loose ends.
May 14th, 2013 at 9:51 pm
When writing, I know my beginning and then I try to know my end. The elements of the body get all mixed up, jumbled, deleted, then typed back again. And before I even know it, my beginning is my end and my end is my beginning. 🙂
May 14th, 2013 at 9:58 pm
That’s interesting. It’s pretty cool how stories take shape. Almost like a mystical act of creation. 🙂