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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Open Discussions About Writing » Cold-storage

   
Author Topic: Cold-storage
smncameron
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I'm not going to ask you where you get your ideas. Ideas I can handle. What I am curious is how you 'store' them untill they're ready for use. Personally I just use a word-file but I'd be interested in hearing the solutions you've come up with.
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darklight
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I usually keep them in my head. The only problem with that is, I don't have a very good memory. I can think 'wow, that's a great idea' don't write it down, then a week later, it's gotten lost in the mix with all the other great ideas. I should learn a lesson and start and write them down.
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Krista
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I write ideas down, or rather, type them and save them as files on my computer in my writing folder, with backup copies burned on disk. I include any research notes, reference materials, scene snippets, dialogue, plot points, and outlines -- pretty much anything that comes with the idea -- in case enough time passes that I forget details. That way, no matter when I go back and take a look at my idea file, there's always enough information to remind me exactly what I was doing. And the best part is that I can usually bring a new perspective to the idea and add to it or flesh it out in some way.
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smncameron
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I definately need to do more revisiting/fleshing out, far too many of my ideas are one-line concepts. Do you suggest looking over your idea folder, say, oncea a week?
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annepin
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I jot them down wherever I might happen to be--I always keep a little notebook and pen for that purpose. I also write those, and others I come up with, in a Word file called "Story Ideas".

I go back to that document when I'm ready to write a new story. I usually have something in my mind already that I want to write, but I'll browse through my story ideas and see if I can't combine or tweak the one that I want somehow. I also go back in just when I need inspiration or whatever, or if I have a vague notion I want to write but I don't quite know what.

Since my story ideas are pretty eclectic--either a theme, a setting, an event, or a character, it's somewhat easy to combine two or more ideas and come up with something that feels newer.

When I decide to use the story idea, i'll paste my notes into a new file, make a notation in the story idea that i've used it (I still keep it, since I like to have a running file of all my story ideas--plus, if you're combining them, they could get used again) then start brainstorming and writing in that new file.

[This message has been edited by annepin (edited January 18, 2008).]


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KPKilburn
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I usually write them down in a journal or Word file, but recently started carrying around a digital voice recorder, especially when I'm running. I can talk for the 30-45 minutes I'm out and then dump the files onto my computer and transcribe what I need from them. I can talk through dialogue and I sometimes see things as I'm running that inspire ideas.
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Crank
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I keep directories on my PC's hard drive for each story, containing typed notes, photos, scans of drawings and print material, lists of research URLs, digital files of me dictating ideas to myself during my commmute, even MP3s of songs that set a mood I want to establish in that particular story.

Same for physical notes. My bookshelf contains folders with newspaper clippings, notes and maps hand-written on anything from notebook paper to restaurant napkins, hard-copy photos...and I've even shoved entire magazines inside these folders.

When I'm ready to begin writing, all of this stuff comes out.

And, yes, my desk turns into Clutter World for a while.

In addition to the obvious benefits, this approach also allows me to recapture many of the subtle ideas and nuances I would have otherwise forgotten during the time I spent working on something else.

Besides...I'm starting to build up a rather interesting collection of 'stuff'.

S!
S!...C!


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Marzo
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I use the program Mori for all my writing, and I just have a text file in the main directory called 'Jots'. Things are starting to get a little disorganized, though, so I've started separating ideas for the main novel series I want to do into their own file, and short story/other genre things into a little file of their own. It's still hard to go back and find a specific idea if I remember it since there's no overarching organization, but it's enjoyable to go through and read the disordered ideas I've had. It feels more like I'm reading someone else's thoughts, which helps me approach those ideas with a fresh eye.
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thedorkygirl
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A lot of times, I act out a new story. I know! It's childish, something I never grew out of.

I'll write out the story four or five times (or eighty), different ways, in a notebook over the space of weeks. I reread, re-imagine, re-act, rewrite those scenes until I think I have a story. Then I might write it (type it). Even while I'm in the middle of writing a story, I'll lay in bed at night and finish scenes, repeat lines until they sound *real.*

I'm not writing in my head -- I'm those characters and live their lives. Only I'm omnipotent & with a reset button. The thing is, as much as I want to, I can't spend every moment of my day writing. I have to work, watch my nephew, read my newspaper. So acting during the moments I can -- imagining -- is what helps me brainstorm.


It also helps me combine ideas. It can be something that never fit in a story -- I pretend I'm someone else as I do a monotonous (and repeating) task, just to pass the time. I build a little world for them, but never write a word down. Suddenly -- BAM! The four-year-old idea suddenly can be combined with this three-week-old idea, and I'd never thought of that before. For the first time, both get written.

I do it like that mostly because it's fun that way. I can play with an idea & character for weeks before I ever write anything down; it can be a year before the drastically re-envisioned story begins to be written. As I've been doing this since I was a little kid, I've always got a story going somewhere in most of those stages -- daydream, acting, scribbling, drafting ... writing.

I've kept a "Harriet-the-Spy" book since I was nine that I fill with whatever half-thought story, character sketch, list of names, comes into my mind.

If I've got a "good idea" and I'm not in the mood, I do tend to write it down on a scrap of paper or put it in its own documents with a brainstorm of notes, then dump every file that's not a fully conceptualized story into a folder.

& yeah, it makes me kinda absent-minded.


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Lynda
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I write story ideas or scene ideas on post-its and stick them to the shelving unit over my desk. When I use the idea, it gets pulled and tossed. When the number of Post-its becomes annoying, I'll pull them and type them into a "Story/scene ideas" file.
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DeepDreamer
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I don't care if it's childish or not, I act out scenes from my stories as well. You wouldn't believe the household items that make good props. Blankets/bathrobes become hero's cloaks, the handle of my Swiffer mop has been at least five different weapons, and laundry makes great ammunition - especially when the laundry basket is the target.

You're never too old to play-act -- but you don't have to do so with the curtains open, either.

I have an idea-box that I store slips of paper with ideas on, and I grab out of it whenever I need an idea or two to play with. I've also got a folder on my computer full of scene fragments - scenes I wrote with a story in mind, but never got around to actually writing that story; scenes that were intended for use in a story but were cut; and scenes that might eventually go into a story I've already made some progress on, but don't know where they'd fit, or how.

Also, in my worldbuilding notebook, I have a list of story ideas that I might write in order to better develop certain aspects of my story-world. They're usually not very well developed ideas. I'm looking at it now, and most of it is historical events or people. I have a strong enough sense of my world that I can pretty well see what each story would be about though, just from that. But before I can write any of those stories, I have to finish the ones I'm on. If only I could figure out a way to make those stored ideas STAY in storage, rather than always pester me to write them instead. That's why I have more writing in my scene fragments folder than in my WIP folders. =/


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NoTimeToThink
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Folders for each work in progress, with a file in that folder for ideas related to that work.

A single file for ideas not tied to a current work.

I write ideas down as soon as they come to me, on whatever I have at hand (otherwise I will forget them). At the end of the day (or ASAP) I add these notes to the appropriate file.


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