I’ve decided to make this post about some of the questions I have for my writing friends. I have my own answers to these of course, but I’m curious about yours.
First question: how do you remember all of your ideas for stories and books? Because, I can hardly remember what I had for breakfast… wait, I don’t think I had breakfast today. Anyway. The way I do it is through a file I call “Novel Ideas.” I know, inventive right? Basically how this works is I wake up with a new idea, and after a large amount of time spent mulling over plot lines and possibilities for sequels, I write it down in this file. If you looked at any random page, you’d see the name of the book, name of the series (if it’s in one), the plot, and a list of major and minor characters with in depth descriptions of the major ones. It’s pretty simple, but it works for me. As I said above, none of this happens until I’ve spent quite a bit of time thinking over the stories and developing scenes in my head. Seriously, this can take months. I figure if I forget it before I write it down, it really wasn’t that good of an idea to start with. I have the same philosophy with writing down songs.
My next question is, write ahead or not? I do this sometimes, just to get the wheels turning. I’ll start writing a scene that is nowhere near where I am in the actual book. In fact, I’ve written a few future scenes that I probably won’t be able to use for a couple of years. I have scenes for books I haven’t even started. Just so you understand just what I’m saying here, let me give you one example. I have written a couple of scenes for a book that is in a sequel series of the third book I’m working on now. Crazy right? Part of me wants to just stop, because I know that it will be torturous to have to wait so long to use it. But the other part says write it down before you lose it! So I do. I know this seems like it’s in direct conflict with the philosophy of “if I forget before I write it down, it was no good to begin with,” but with individual scenes, it’s different. I spend a lot more time thinking every angle through and getting the dialogue perfect, so obviously, I don’t want all of that mental effort going to waste.
Speaking of the third book I’m working on now, do you write more than one book/story at a time? I didn’t at first. But then I got writer’s block on my first one, Super Star, and I started my second (which I’m not telling you the name of). I’ve written about 63,000 words in that one now (at least I think I have. I haven’t checked recently.) Then, just before finishing my first one, I was blocked and couldn’t write anything in either book, so I started a third (I’m somewhere around 35,000 words with this one). Now that I’ve finished my first one and got the editing done, I’m going to wait a while until I start another, although I already know which one it will be (the one with the longest plot summary, so it’s not so easy to get stuck).
That seems like enough questions for now. I’d love to hear some feedback on this.