Some Write It Hot

September 23, 2010

The Distraction of New Ideas–Part Two by Ellie Heller

Filed under: Writing life — dangerouslysexy @ 04:00
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Last time I talked about getting rid of those top of the brain new story ideas which are clamoring for attention while you are trying to write. And I mentioned I tend to save a note, perhaps the scene with three or four tag line ideas as to why it happened or a short paragraph if there’s a more solid story racing around. This is because for me, ideas come in one of two categories, scenarios I wonder about and people I see doing things and I wonder what they’re thinking.

For a scenario I note the trigger and perhaps one or two thoughts I’ve had, but generally not full sentences and no characters. Just the scene and the ideas it sparked.

Something like:

Ambulance – u-turn in forest. Stops.
-Attack from inside?
-Dump drugs/chemicals/body?
-Spill coffee in lap?
-Let changed Were creature out to roam?
Then I force myself to stop. Just stop.

Okay, usually I do succeed; sometimes one of the ideas becomes so entangled with the idea for a character I instead jot down a paragraph about the character and scene. While I always try to use good grammar, just getting it down and out of my head is top priority here:

If Daria had just done her job and searched in the Hudson’s garage as well as the house while they were there with the warrant Harris wouldn’t be standing in the sweltering sun without a lick of shade going through the dumpster which supposedly contained their trash. Although, it wasn’t like Daria to be slack on the job, heck, she usually busted balls over someone screwing up like this. Which made Harris wonder why the screw-up had occurred in the first place, and why she wasn’t ripping her partner Jude up one side and down the other. She was clearly covering for him. What hold did Jude have over her that she’d let him get away with a stupid mistake? Harris would find out, if only so he’d know her secret too and make her cut him some slack. Some days being low man on the totem pole at the sheriff’s office was hell; no matter how much you’d done before you got here, you were treated like a greenie and watched like a hawk. And given the worst and nastiest jobs; right now, sweat dripping off him, eyes squinted against the glare of all the white paper in the mid-summer sun, life pretty much sucked.

There done, I have it for later.

If, and it’s happened, I seem to have a lot of ideas (and this does seem to be inverse to how far I am in a piece, i.e. the further I am the more ideas will pop into my head, keeping me from finishing my current project) I try to set a time or number limit generally three ideas or fifteen minutes.

For me scenes and scenarios are always easy to come up with and, along with them, some general ideas for stories. I’m always curious, though, how other people come up with their ideas.

When not distracted, you can find Ellie Heller at her blog

17 Comments »

  1. […] by Ellie Writes Too in Uncategorized I’m at it again over at Some Write it Hot!! Last time I talked about getting rid of those top of the brain new story ideas which are clamoring for attention while you are trying to write. And I mentioned I tend to save a note, perhaps the scene with three or four tag line ideas as to why it happened or a short paragraph if there's a more solid story racing around. This is because for me, ideas come in one of two categories, scenarios I wonder about and people I see doing things and I wonde … Read More […]

    Pingback by The Distraction of New Ideas–Part Two (via Some Write It Hot) « EllieWrites2- The Blog — September 23, 2010 @ 04:31 | Reply

  2. Hey Ellie that is brilliant stuff. I very rarely get an idea unless I am deliberately looking for one. If something pops into my head when I am in the middle of something else I just write a couple of lines down in a notebook.

    Comment by Lillian Grant — September 23, 2010 @ 04:31 | Reply

    • Oh, no, not me. You may notice when someone is brainstorming over at ERA they often tell me to shut up (in the nicest possible way, of course!) 😉

      Comment by Ellie Writes Too — September 23, 2010 @ 05:51 | Reply

  3. […] of new ideas when they are in the midst of writing a story?  Check out Ellie’s posts on Some Write it Hot.  She has documented her process.  It must be lovely to be overrun with new ideas. Posted in […]

    Pingback by New Ideas — September 23, 2010 @ 04:35 | Reply

  4. Wow, you’re far more restrained than I am. While plot bunnies attack often here, (as do dust bunnies now that I think of it) I jot a note in my journal. Sometimes a few words, sometimes a few sentences, usually starting with “what if?” With a little luck I am able to decipher them once I have finished my current project. You’re way would certainly make my life easier.

    Comment by Debbie Vaughan — September 23, 2010 @ 04:39 | Reply

    • I used to write them on paper, but then I’d loose the paper and find it later. Bunnies for my current WIP, though, I’ll jot down on anything. Plus putting it on the computer seems more ‘permanent’ so my plot bunnies are more likely to stop breeding.

      Comment by Ellie Writes Too — September 23, 2010 @ 05:54 | Reply

  5. For me, book ideas grow from people I get the chance to observe, but I’ve always admired the way your mind works, Ellie! What about an idea jar? write as little as you can on a slip of paper and put it in the idea jar. Then go forth into your WIP!

    Comment by Cate Chase — September 23, 2010 @ 06:29 | Reply

    • Given how scarce pens are in the house now that homework has started up again – I *swear* the kids hide them – an idea jar probably wouldn’t work. But…love it as the name for my idea folder!! Thanks.

      Comment by Ellie Writes Too — September 23, 2010 @ 06:37 | Reply

  6. Very cool process. I like how you let us inside your head. I definately don’t have any of your restraint or the srestraint of the other people commenting. If an idea pops in my head, I find myself a couple of chapters in before I’m like, “Hey, get back to what you were working on.” That’s the downside to ADHD. 🙂

    Comment by DH Starr — September 23, 2010 @ 06:33 | Reply

    • Everyone has different ways of dealing with ideas. Sounds like you do get back once the idea is firmly set and written out. Not a bad thing, so long as you don’t let yourself get too distracted.

      Comment by Ellie Writes Too — September 23, 2010 @ 06:39 | Reply

      • Yikes, just realized how condescending I sounded. So not what I was trying to say.

        Glad to hear how you manage your distractions and get back to your WIP.

        Comment by Ellie Writes Too — September 23, 2010 @ 07:21

  7. I like your process Ellie. I catch myself in restaurants waiting for my company to arrive scribbling on napkins. Drawing maps, writing character names, etc. Thanks for sharing!

    Comment by Judith Leger — September 23, 2010 @ 12:49 | Reply

    • Have to admit I do this a bit too! Do you keep all the ephemera until the idea is used?

      Comment by Ellie Writes Too — September 23, 2010 @ 12:52 | Reply

      • If I don’t misplace it, but yep. Try to.

        Comment by Judith Leger — September 23, 2010 @ 14:18

      • LOL, you sound like you’re as much of a pack rat as I am!

        Comment by Ellie Writes Too — September 23, 2010 @ 15:41

  8. I tend to work on a couple of different stories at once until one of them really takes hold and shuts the other one up. LOL Probably explains why I have several half finished books. Oops. I can only work on a couple though so any other ideas that arrive have to written down in a book to be looked at on a later date.

    Comment by Lauren Fraser — September 23, 2010 @ 20:21 | Reply

    • So interesting to hear what other people do. Clearly there is no one ‘right’ way. What *you* do end up with, Lauren, is really good so I’d stick with it!

      Comment by Ellie Writes Too — September 24, 2010 @ 09:49 | Reply


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