I believe every idea is valuable.
This is why I have a drawing of a fairy on my bulletin board above my desk. Over a year ago, I was inspired by a flash of an idea involving a fairy, a very small person and a rambling old house. My daughter, because she loves fantasy, drew the fairy and gave it to me. The story idea, which was just a small gem of one, was filed away in Evernote and I rarely think about it.
This little fairy and her story aren’t going anywhere. But I’m keeping it anyway.
That little idea — along with the one about the romance that takes place on a submarine in 1960, the aftermath of a funeral in which the widow bursts out laughing, the scene in which a jilted middle-aged father seeks his high school sweetheart because of his intense loneliness — are all filed away, in the dark, waiting on something to connect them. They may be used someday.
In the meantime, I keep the lights down low and keep my eye out for the gap in my current works-in-progress that only those little gems can fill.
These little gems are all sparkly and shiny. My gem collection grows with every timed writing session. Perhaps they’ll be strung together, rearranged and connected. What if the lonely father became the fairy’s little person? Or what if the laughing widow had been married to the captain of the submarine?
Are there plot patterns, similar characters or a setting that might work?
Perhaps hiding them in Evernote is the perfect place for these ideas. Perhaps they need the company of other words around them.
Perhaps my incomplete stories and ideas should snuggle up close together in the darkness of my files, giggling and caressing. Perhaps their moments of intimacy conceives a new idea.
And then, the new full idea, that carries traces of story genes from it’s parents will be born to me.
I will have a new baby! I will care for it, feed it, guide it gently and then introduce it to the world. Until I tire of it and want a new one. And then this magic starts all over again.
Now I know a lot about crafting stories. I know about structure and plot. I know about characters and setting.