Ideas are elusive and fleeting. They will not wait around till you’re ready for them. They are here, then gone. They’re worst than Pokemon Go prizes. Ideas have legs and they run, fast.
How do you capture ideas, you write them down. Make a list of ideas as they come to you. Become a list making fiend. Authors tell budding authors to carry a note book. Don’t just carry one, use it. Use it as soon as you get an idea. Even if the idea is not useable in the story you’re working on, write it down. There’s a reason it got your attention, your interest. Don’t let that idea get away.
I have listened to many authors talk at book signings about the folders and file cabinets they have full of newspaper chippings, magazine articles, and notes jotted down when they woke up in the middle of the night. I have not heard of them using one of those hundreds or thousands of squirreled away ideas for a novel. So I challenge you to not only write down any ideas that stumbles into you, but to review your lists of ideas. It doesn’t matter if you review them weekly, monthly, or every couple of years. What you will find is that an idea you wrote down years ago is now ripe, ready to use. It may have needed the world to be in the place it now is to be a “good” idea, but it is now ready for you. Or you are ready for it.
I have heard many authors talk about how some idea, some incident, haunted them for years. The idea stewed in the back of their mind. Then something happened and the idea turned into a great novel (with a ton of work by the author, these things don’t write themselves). It may be that a new idea mashed upped with the old idea.
What good is making lists of ideas? If you have a friend that is a gossip taking out your list of ideas and writing something down will stop a gossip in their tracks. Gossip depend on rumor and hear say. If you document who said what about whom, the gossip will get cold feet, if they’re smart.
Turn off your music player, take out the ear buds. Listen to what is going on around you. Pay attention to the world around you. There are lots of crazy things, crazy ideas going on around you. Look, listen, and write them down. You have grown up trying to shield yourself from the noise and craziness around you. People gossiping about relatives, about other people at work are handing you ideas on a silver platter. You’re a writer now. Listen, adsorbs, and write down what is going on around you. Adsorb the craziness so you can put it in your story. You are not a spectator at a Roman circus, you are a gladiator. Your pen is your sword. Keep it sharp, practice, and slay them.
Stay strong, write on. Professor Hyram Voltage