Organized Mess

Ideas, ideas, ideas… Why, they are everywhere, constantly bombarding my mind?! Why is everything so inspiring? I can’t watch a movie, read, or take a walk before something interesting pops up. What am I suppose to do with all of them?

I try to organize them.

It took time to come up with this system, and still it’s not perfect, but this is the best I can come up with, so bare with me. I separate them into three categories: ideas that are concepts, ideas with narration and ideas with plot.

Guess which category most of my ideas end up as?

Concepts are easy, so little is required of you to have them. The definition I use for a concept idea is that it has neither characters nor any sort of narrative, meaning they are the “what if” stories. These types of stories can turn into anything, if you let them, and require the most work. They are also the most fun because the plot hasn’t materialized yet.

Then there’s ideas with narration; they are the next step after the concept. These types of ideas are still very open to change, but there have events that tie it together. The characters are nameless and faceless, at this stage. Things has little consequence because we do not care about the world yet. You might have noticed with my ambiguous talk that this stage is difficult to define because where do you draw the line between concept and plot and is there something in between?

Maybe after further study, I’ll figure it out…

Then there’s those few ideas where, at least, some of the characters have been materialized. They have faces and personalities and there’s an urgency that drives the story forward. Ideas with plot is what every writer strive towards, because without characters we care for, we don’t care about the story overall. Even if the world building is excellent, the scenes vividly expressed, or an interesting topic is brought up, if we don’t care about the characters, the story is without meaning.

So this is how I organize my ideas. Obviously when I pick my next story I should choose the one with a plot already in the works, but sometimes it is liberating to choose an concept and see where it will lead.

© Christopher Stamfors

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