As writers, there are areas where we are all the same, and many in which we are different. We get out story ideas from different places. Mine come from my dreams, I kid you not. Some write them as they get them, and some like me stockpile them.
I use to put my best ideas at the end of the line so by the time I got them I would be a more experienced and better writer. In fact, I put what I thought was my worst idea first. Strangely, of my four novels, three finished and the fourth as a work in progress, my first novel I feel has had the most heft plotwise. And the two ideas at the end of my list, my two best ideas, are no longer on the list at all.
Possibly something is considered a better story idea than another merely for the amount of mental energy already invested in that story. The story you’re thinking about now is not the one to file away, but start on now. If you are in the middle of a novel and you get a great idea, make good notes on the new idea quickly and get back to your novel.
There is no reason to exhaust yourself creatively for something that will lose a lot of its steam sitting on the shelf. Why wait? If it’s that good, get to it as soon as you can. Deep down you want to write it, so indulge yourself.
Before It’s Too Late
I don’t want to be downer, but we are all mortal beings and we will all die someday. Will that day for you come when you are in the middle of that one story you put off when you shouldn’t? It’s happened before.
The composer Puccini died before he finished his masterpiece, Turendot. It is said that at the premiere, the conductor Toscanini stopped the orchestra, turned toward the audience, and an announced that it was at this point in the music when the maestro died. After a moment of silence, he returned to the performance.
The Man In Black
In the movie Walk The Line Johnny Cash and his band are playing Gospel songs to a record exec, who is not impressed. He told Johnny to sing the one song he would sing if he had only on more chance to sing a song before he died. He sang Folsom Prison Blues and got signed.
Don’t write what’s expected of you. Don’t write whatever is next on the list. Write that one story that’s in you that you want to write more than any other. Coming at it later will not help, in fact it might hurt. I still have the stockpile, but no more list. I let the Muse pick my stories for me. She’s tougher than me, so I don’t argue.
What is the one story you are writing now? Mine is about a first century Jewish freedom fighter who hates the Romans. I’ll tell you more as I get more done. Whatever that one story for you is, Write it, right now!