The problem with getting so many good ideas is that you can’t use all of them. Couldn’t even begin to. I’m sure I’m no different from every other creative person in that I have a list of cool ideas I don’t want to lose, but I know half of them (at best) will never see the light of day.
I just thought of a really cool idea for a game, that I could maybe turn into a short story, and then while watching a movie today I caught the tail end of an aesthetic I really enjoyed. I could perhaps marry the two ideas, but in the end, the idea I have is for a game, not a story. I’m not going to say what that idea is (though I will tell you, Dev, next time I get the chance to talk to you in person), but it has a chance of being the story that publishes on Friday. On one hand, this is good. Having good ideas you don’t have time for end up saying a lot about the ideas you do end up putting effort into. But on the other, it’s frustrating.
I had a really cool idea about a novel where the protagonist was one of a million in an army against a small group of (we’ll call them) adventurers. The idea wasn’t so much of putting focus and sympathy into one of the orcs that gets decapitated by Aragorn’s sword, but rather the angle I had presented looked more like “these four people are bad news, and have godlike powers compared to the common man. How can we make the common man have a fighting chance?”
The ten second pitch for the idea was “imagine playing chess where one side only has 16 pawns and the other side has a knight, bishop, rook, and queen”.
I’ve tabled that idea for now, though. Not because I don’t like it or because I ran into problems. Actually, the only reason I haven’t already tried my hand writing that story was because the idea for Spear Gate swooped in while I was putting it together, and it whisked me away. I still plan on visiting it. I even tried framing it into Spear Gate. But in the end, it didn’t work. There’s a lot to the framework of the story that I didn’t explain, and that framework clashed with what I had in mind for Spear Gate. So it’s been on the back-burner for a while.
The worst part is I still haven’t been able to figure out how to hold my personal interest in the novels I’m working on. I resolved to write Spear Gate until I reached the end, but I’m starting to doubt if I can. I really need to get out of the habit of quitting on long projects before I’m even halfway through, but I don’t see how that’s possible when that new cool idea comes along. I would highly doubt this is a rare problem authors face, and yet I’ve never seen or heard any advice on how to tackle it.
Sometimes, new ideas can be a curse.
2 thoughts on “Me — Too Many Ideas”
This probably won’t help, but any ideas I have when I’m engaged I shelve. I’ve got a plan for a tetralogy, that after trying my hand at I realize I haven’t got the talent to pull it off. I’ve shelved it for now, and everything I write now has been nothing but a long extended practice for me.
Recently I’ve had a lot of new ideas, but I’ve shelved them. My thought process is kind of like this: The story I’m writing deserves to be written, it deserves the chance to be read by someone. Each one is a world to be introduced and narrated, and I’ll be damned if I don’t do right by them.
I promised myself one thing: That once all this is over, I will write everything I’ve shelved. Perhaps that’s one of the motivations I have, a promise of more good things to come. As a mediocre story finished is simply mediocre, whereas any story left unfinished will always be a disappointment.
That’s a great outlook on it. Historically I tend to let those new ideas corrupt my interest in whatever I’m currently working on, but it probably doesn’t have to. That’s pretty neat!