Friday, December 10, 2010

Fiction Friday: The Idea Doc

I have a Word document I created awhile back. I created it just to write down a few notes about some upcoming writing projects I had going on. But since then, it has morphed into something more... a dumping ground for ideas. I thought I would tell you what I include in case you guys want to create your own Idea Document. I like calling it an "Idea Doc" for short because a dock is where you park things. Since this is where I park my ideas, it's fitting.

Here is what goes into this document:

1. Current projects-- anything I am under contract for.

2. Ongoing commitments-- this includes any blogs I regularly submit to, magazines I am writing articles for on a regular basis, etc.

3. Books I have written (just because I like to see them listed out).

4. Quotes or lyrics from songs that I might like to use as epitaphs (epigraphs? epithets? the quotes at the beginning of the book, you know what I mean) in upcoming books.

5. Titles I think of. (I might have no idea what kind of book it would be, but it's just a cool sounding title, so I capture it just in case later an idea that would fit with that title comes to me.)

6. Names for characters. (If I hear a cool name I might like to use in the future-- male or female-- I put it in there.

7. Book ideas. In this section I write the title of the book and then a paragraph that reads like back cover copy. This is a way of cataloguing ideas for the future. Sometimes two ideas become one. Sometimes I will be working with a new character or a new scene and will need an idea, so I will pluck something out of another book idea. After all, I am not writing future books, I am writing current books. So I have learned not to save ideas for later.

I will often open this file and just spend some time updating it-- jotting down new ideas and making changes. This document is fluid, constantly being tweaked. I have been very glad numerous times that I have it. Perhaps you'd like to create one of your own!

Next Friday I will talk about the notebooks I keep for developing these ideas. See you then!
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Joyful said...

Marybeth, I LOVE THIS IDEA!!! I keep sending myself emails with ideas when they come to me, song lyrics, quotes etc... so they are on the computer and I can put them all into one file, but I never thought of creating a document for them all. LOVE IT!!!

Thanks for sharing's genius! :)


Jenny B. Jones said...

I do this with my email. I have folders for title ideas, blog ideas, websites I love, character names, story ideas, etc. If I get an idea, I send myself and email and file it. :)

love the new family picture!!

Ruth said...

I love the new family photo Mary Beth! You have a sweet family :).