Friday, May 24, 2013

Fleshing Out Brilliant Ideas

I'm sure I am not the only one who has come up with a brilliant one-liner idea but was then at a loss as to how to take it much further. Even brilliant ideas can fall apart in the early stages of their infancy.

After successes and even more failures learning experiences, I came up with an idea that has proven extremely helpful in my writing. Maybe it will help you when you get into sticky areas as well.

Got an idea? Great. Write it down. Write down your entire idea in one complete sentence. Then, take that one carefully crafted sentence and expound on it, maybe a few sentences, maybe an entire paragraph. Go for the meat of it, not all the extra descriptions and details which will come later. For the moment just focus on the core of your idea, elaborating it to include key events marking its progression.

Ok, so that was fairly painless, right? Now your one sentence is a paragraph, perhaps long or short, either way it's great. Next, in your writer's notebook or in a word file, or wherever you do your writer's thing, write one sentence from your paragraph at the top of a different page. Then use that page to develop each sentence into its own paragraph(s), keeping focused on key events and actions that drive your story.

When you are done, you'll have 5 to 10 paragraphs (maybe more) detailing the progression of the plot of your brilliant one-liner idea.

This really works for me. I tend to get an idea and then get overwhelmed by the details of it. All those bits and pieces just flood my mind and I feel compelled to write them all, all at the same time. As you might guess, that doesn't work. Focusing on one sentence, and letting it grow bit by bit, has been wonderful in focusing me on the work. It literally saved my writing.

The last idea I had almost died after struggling with it for 2 years. Two years! I have lots of notes and all that jazz for it, but whenever I sat down to actually write on the novel, I just couldn't do it. After using the method above, however, the novel fell into place and made sense of itself while I watched and tried to keep up with its twists and turns.

Give it a shot! See if it works for you. Happy writing, fellow time traveler!

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