I have lots and lots and lots of ideas for stories. My brain is teeming with them. I have way more than I know what to do with. (Enough so that I might start a blog series giving them away so that they’ll get used.) So how do I organize them all?
New ideas always go into whatever writing notebook I’m currently using, or possibly my little blue ideas notebook that has been left alone for far too long in favor of my main notebooks. Poor thing. An example of a section of one of those pages looks like this:
It has any story ideas on it that come to mind, be they short snippets of scenes, dialogue, description, or names. Then at some point later I transfer them to a document I’ve titled “Writing Adoptables,” which is split into sections.
The first section is characters, and it has whatever facts about a character I have swirling in my brain and don’t plan on using in a current project. That section looks like this:
Any ideas I use in any of these sections will be formatted with strike-through.
The next section is settings, and as you can see in the picture below I do quite a bit with it:
Not. For some reason settings don’t pop into my head as readily as other things.
After that is titles, which I have a lot of, most of which came from title generators that I was using to come up with a title for a specific book and these didn’t fit but I liked them at the time and saved them. And then there are others that I came up with myself, one of which is blacked out because I like it enough to protect it (not that I expect any of you to take any of these):
I actually started Skandain’s Pride and then decided I didn’t like it much, so it’s still on here.
The fourth section is random lines. These can be lines of dialogue, lines of description, lines of narration, anything so long as it’s only a line or two long.
Section five is plot ideas, followed by various ideas that don’t fit in any specific category:
As you can see, plots aren’t something that tend to pop into my head unbidden, either.
The next section is names, and these are rather plentiful. The majority of them are fantasy names, since I find those the coolest, and this list (though not the visible section) includes a place name or two, as well:
After that comes a list of stories that I started or that I had cool ideas for and were too long for me to copy:
Some of them got so far as to even earn Pinterest boards before I lost interest or set them aside in favor of something else.
The last section is scenes and paragraphs, and it’s the longest section, partially because there are a lot of them and mostly because they’re just longer:
This is just the very small sliver that fit before the bottom of the page, and even the second one is a lot longer than it shows here. It’s 10 paragraphs long, actually, mostly dialogue. (I write a lot of dialogue. It’s something I’m working on balancing out.)
So that’s how I organize my ideas. Do you organize your ideas similarly or is your process entirely different?
With your ideas all organized, are you wondering how to pick the next one to use for a project? Sign up to the newsletter to get access to a couple of idea ranking worksheets!