Weeding out Ideas by Christine Duncan

safehouse I was out in the garden earlier today, weeding out around the roses and planning all the writing stuff I was going to do in my head. I had ideas for my WIP, ideas to talk to my publisher about, stuff I wanted to tell you all about on this blog. Do you think I can remember a single one?
Now it’s hot in the garden right now, but I can’t blame this on heat stroke. I have done this before. Regular readers of this blog will remember me complaining that I will go running and plan a whole chapter in my head and come home to the computer and write…nothing. It’s gone.
I was more than slightly frustrated about this until I remembered a column that Lawrence Block wrote long ago in Writer’s Digest. He talked about ideas that pop up at you in the night (or on the run) and said that some won’t stay with you. That was all right, he claimed, since this is the brain’s way of getting rid of the clunkers. (Yeah, I kind of doubt that Block said clunkers too–but you get the idea. I am quoting this article YEARS after the guy wrote it.)
On thinking this over, I think he’s write, err, right. The thing is when I finally do get to the scenes I’ve mulled over like this, they tend to write themselves. Somewhere in the back of this thing I call a brain, some decisions have been made and the scene is usually a good one–even if I don’t really have a conscious memory of how I planned to write it.
Of course, you have to remember, I’m one of those people who can’t plot either. Maybe it’s just how my brain works. How about you?


7 responses to “Weeding out Ideas by Christine Duncan

  1. Hi, Christine,

    Ah, the sieve-like memory. I know just what you’re talking about. I keep a notepad & pencil at my bed side, and I’ve learned to write in total darkness at 2 or 4:30, whenever I get an idea. Too many times I’ve thought, “This is too good an idea; I’ll never forget it.” Hah! Consider taping a notepad to the handle of your trowel.

  2. I’ve had the same thing happen. Drives me crazy, but you’re right, when it’s ready, the idea/scene will stay and allow itself to be written.

    It’s hot here, too. Killer hot. August hot.

  3. Well, if I said that, Christine, I guess it must be true. It’s sort of Darwinistic, innit? The strong ideas survive. Maybe. Then again, maybe not.


  4. Good points, Christine. Thanks.

  5. I get the same problem when I sit down to write my flash. Except with mine, I’ll actually get a few paragraphs (or pages) down before realizing that what I wrote simply isn’t gonna work.

    Sometimes it is better to let an idea simmer like a stew, then to nuke it in a microwave.

  6. I do the notebook in the dark thing, as well, because my best plot ideas seem to surface in a semi-dreamlike state I get to at two or three in the morning.
    The other thing that is great is a small voice-activated tape recorder (or something more technologically sophisticated that I don’t own or even KNOW about yet) for road trips, and yes, weeding. BTW, anyone out there need some tumbleweeds???

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