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!