You can’t tell a story without the initial idea. Even a bedtime story made up on the spot requires that first initial idea to get the ball rolling.
This process I’m pretty good at, so I figured why not blog about it. Character development will hopefully be coming soon.
Every novel idea I’ve had started as one initial idea. One novel I’ve taken multiple ideas and combined them because they fit so well together.
Even ideas that are polar opposites can work well together if you know how to combine them properly.
Some ideas are focused and should be tied to an aspect of a larger story. Some ideas are vague, fluid, or expansive enough to base an entire book or series of books on.
I’ve read novels that were written for a specific character, it was obvious the writer developed the character first and built the book around them. Other novels the writer built the world and the characters developed from it.
Either way, the world or the character, began as an idea.
Sometimes an idea is too big, it encompasses too many possibilities. So you have to go in and prune it back to the point it is manageable. This can be hard sometimes because at conception the idea seems perfect. But then you begin to develop the idea, in order to build a proper story, and you find too many possibilities. Application and perception can butt heads more than you realize.
In order to write a whole novel you need to focus on that novel. A problem I have as I research and develop more ideas. So I write the idea down somewhere I can come back to and leave it. Sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn’t.
Some ideas have taken hold quicker and I needed to develop a general outline in my head before I could focus back on the original task. But that could also just be my inability to focus that I need to develop.
The problem with jumping from one idea to another is losing aspects of a story that develop and are not written down. I don’t do that often, I generally hold onto aspects of a story, but it does happen.
Not only that, but working on one story creates a mental flow that allows your mind to build the world you want to write about. Sometimes that creative flow is very hard to get back.