Idea’s, I have plenty. Idea’s for short stories, idea’s for novellas, novels, screenplays, flash fiction. But – as a great writer once said – to have an idea is not enough, no matter how good the idea. The trick is to formulate that idea into something less foglike, turn it into a solid thing, a thing that can be picked up, tinkered with, polished, perfected, made into something other’s would like to get on board with and maybe – someday – look round and say “hey, that’s a great idea.”
Idea’s, what to do with them? Plot and plan, sit and make a spreadsheet, detailing every nuance, every minute details down to what colour thong your protagonist is where today? Or just run with them, see where they take you as they whoop and holler across the fields of your imagination. I’ve never been that much of a planner, I’ve tried, sat and worked out what the characters are like, their stories, their histories. But then part way in I get that feeling that instead of spending time doing this I could actually be writing. Everyone ha their own way of doing it, their own rituals that have to be performed in exactly the right order so as to raise the story from the ooze. My way – like most of my life – is to just wing it.
Life In The Fastlane – my current main WiP – started life as a short story, a military steampunk with ingredients from SF and fantasy. An alternate history of the mid-20th century. But after submitting it to several magazines – and getting rejected but some nice feedback – it started to become more than a self contained story. The characters were crying out for release, their world began breaking the bounds of just over 6,000 words and demanding to procreate. So it was the short story became part one of a bigger story and the idea began to evolve.
It wasn’t a conscious effort, I didn’t find myself sitting for hours working out which direction to go. I made adjustments to the initial short story – which is now out with beta readers – and dived headlong into part two. It was this headlong dive that became a bit of a marathon, resulting in part two surpassing part one in words and character view points. As of the end of March part two is nearly complete – well the first draft is – and is bordering on a novella all on its own. I already know where to go in part three, but I have no map to take me there, I’ll be jumping on that wing again.
Where am I going with this? Nowhere, I’m rambling, making my inner thoughts public. I feel it helps to vent every now and then. But I just wanted to get it out there, feel some sort of release. With parts 1 & 2 almost in the bag part 3 is the biggy, its the one that could make or break the whole project. I’m entering into unknown territory, beyond 25,000 words territory.
But I have an idea I know how this will play out, I just hope it’s an idea people can get on board with.