h&r-block

anonymous asked:

What do you do with Too Many Ideas Syndrome?

At first you embrace it: “I’ll never stop writing ‘cause I’ll never run out of ideas! This is awesome!!!!” And then you realize that with so many ideas, you’re going to have to pick one to run with and then it’s like uh…yeah…  

Too Many Ideas

This question has given me the opportunity to bring back the cute bunny post from 2015. In it I discuss how you bounce back and forth between ideas, so take a look. It might help!

In that post I mention that it’s really a matter of going with whatever idea is most interesting to you at any given time. This could change from day to day, so one day you might work with one idea and the next you work with another. This is really basic advice, so I’m going to try to take it one step further. 

Start with Your Characters

If you’re overwhelmed by how many concept/plot ideas you’ve got, make a list of each concrete idea and set it aside. Then, work on character development. Start with one key character and then work outward. 

You might be wondering, how do I create characters without any kind of plot, but writers do actually do this. We’ve got questions in our inbox right now from writers that have developed characters and are stumped on the plot. So it’s definitely possible. 

This key character you’re starting with? Begin by establishing aspects of them that are separate from plot, things like age, gender ID, racial/ethnic background, sexual ID, and obviously their name. Go as far as you feel compelled to go, but start with these basic facts. 

Then, think about their relationships/friendships. Do they have lifelong friends they knew as children? Do they have siblings they’re close with? A parent they bond well with? Think about those they’re friendly with, and then do the same thing you did when you started with your key character - their age, gender ID, ect. ect.

Next, think about potential future relationships. These don’t have to be romantic relationships. If your key character is an artsy type, maybe you envision them clashing with someone who operates with logic and reason, and then seeing how they become friends or enemies over it. This leads you to create yet another character. 

What you’re doing here is developing character dynamics. You’re thinking about who these characters are first, before you even begin to consider what will happen to them. Having a cast of characters in place before you plot anything out can immediately draw you in. As I’ve said before, this is one reason we write fanfiction. We’re attached to the established characters and we want to imagine them in new situations. 

The Character Quick-Change

Grab the list you made earlier of all your plot ideas and concepts. Start casting them in roles in the ideas you’ve already come up and see how they fit. One of your ideas might be set in a fictional, fantasy world with fairies, werewolves, dragons, while another idea might be an urban fantasy where they are no magical creatures but there is magic. And maybe another idea has no magic at all. So as you plug your characters into each vastly different idea, the two start to mold each other. Your characters drive the plot, and the plot you chose will help you add deeper levels to your existing characters. 

If something doesn’t feel right, move onto the next idea. Imagine your characters are standing on a stage, and you’re simply switching out the scenery and the costumes. You’re giving them opportunities to play different roles, but you’re allowing them to bring their own personalities and backgrounds to each role they take on. 

Eventually you should find something that just fits. And when that happens, you keep going with it. You might run into problems as you’re writing, and you might be tempted to move onto another idea, and that’s okay! Go with your instincts and see what happens. Discipline with an idea is hard to maintain, so don’t feel guilty about it. It’s something all writers struggle with. 

When it comes to frustration during the writing process, the trouble is differentiating between your idea just being dead and the typical writing problems that you’ll see with any idea. But I think that’s a whole other topic that maybe I’ll get into at a later date ;)

Writing = experimentation. Try things out and see what’s working and what isn’t. You’ll know an idea is worth exploring when it happens, because your excitement and enthusiasm will soar. 

And as an afterthought, here’s another post that might be useful to you: Focusing on One Project.

-Rebekah

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this took me longer than i wanted it to bc i had no idea what i was doing during colouring it and i didnt want to restart it over