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Saturday, June 17, 2017

The I-Files. Yes, been watching Mulder and Scully WAY TOO MUCH!

      I don't know about you, but when I get a really good idea...I like to write it down somewhere. Sometimes I don't have anywhere to write it on, so I grab what is handy.   I pull a napkin or a receipt from my favorite coffee shop or bookstore (those are longer and wider typically).  I even tell folks to use their phones notepad/evernote/fill in the blank app.  Some even have voice recorders, or you can get the old fashioned kind and buy a small tape recorder (voice recorder, I have 2, but darn it, I can't find them to save my life!).

So what I do, is to take the idea down with whatever is at hand. I write it down; the place, date and time down to...even what spurned the idea (as the action that created the idea might make it's way into its story).   I may make further notes (brainstorming), if that comes.  If it doesn't then it will be kept and worked into another story later, or might tie in nicely to another WIP (Work in Progress.)

Once I get it down on paper, or on the recording device (and assuming that I didn't lose those either) then it is time to move it over to my I-Files.  I actually call mine "Shiny New Ideas," and it's a spreadsheet in Google Drive.   That way I can get them anywhere, and on any device I choose.    It looks something like this.

IDEA                                                                      DATE:                                             SOURCE:

JOHN AND HARVEY FIND LOST DOG            03.22.77                       DOG WANDERING


If you want you can put more detail in those fields.   For instance;



  • Weather and setting
  • Anything else that strikes you about this.  
  • What they were wearing.   

Well, you get the idea.   There is also something said for being concise.  


You can put in fields to update what happens to the idea.  Because I so love bullet points...
  • The name of the WIP where the idea went.  
  • The characters who are involved with the event for the idea perhaps.
  • Deadline dates.  (more on those in a later blog).  

Another idea is to make a word document (under a flash drive), and/or folder on your computer/google docs.  If you also have Scrivener,  make a project to hold all your ideas (one project to rule them all, sorry/not sorry, had to be said.)  Each time you get a new idea add a new folder. You can put titles on the folders, and the dates that you thought up your idea, and can even put color  tabs on them (for instance, red for a WIP)...  none for not used yet.    The note cards in each folder, can be used to flesh those out, and there is also a way to see it as a text on a page at the same time.

     The idea project can be kept up in your system, and use it also to keep track of all of your WIP that way as well.  You could make a new project for ideas in a particular year, decade even.   Check out my NEW youtube channel (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCO5ZGzQiOZ__tlnE5RhOiVQ)  for some helpful videos for Scrivener.  They can help a lot as Scrivener does take a bit of a learning curve.  DISCLAIMER:  The videos are not by me.


     Lastly, you could write them in a notebook binder, or a diary of some sort that you can carry in your purse or bookbag.  I did that for a long while, but getting time to sit down and transfer them to anything is a pain. Probably less so than jotting them down on a napkin or receipt, but still a pain. 

     Keeping track of your ideas is good on many levels; they can help create new WIP/novels, short stories.  They can also help with other works that you are doing, or can help create ideas in and of themselves.  However you record them, keeping track of your ideas is pretty crucial for a writer.   And if you say, "I'll remember it and write it down later."   Well you could do that if you have a fantastic memory...but I do not.  And even if I do remember, the flavor/nuances of the idea are lost, and the idea might not come out as good as in those first moments when they strike.  And you know what they say, "Strike when the iron is hot!"  There is no other place that this saying is more true, than writing.  





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