I’m a great one for giving advice. It comes from being born a mother. When someone tells me that they have a hard time writing one story because other ideas keep popping into their brain, I easily advise to jot the ideas down in a notebook to use later. Thus, the writer can continue on the present story.
Yeah, right! I not only find I have new story ideas trespassing through my mind, they have also possessed my fingers. I’ll go to look up something on the internet like, Irish blessings, then the next thing I know I’m researching German receipes for another story, locations someone would have dated to back in the sixties for another, police research procedures for a magazine, Salvation Army locations for a someday book that hasn’t even been started yet, and anything else that comes up. I’ve got four novels, two short stories, all trespassing while I try to write the one I’m doing.
Yes, I jot the notes down. It doesn’t help, because my notes turn into short drafts of full chapters. My “ideas” notebook is the size of War and Peace.
Aaaagh! I can’t stop it. I began reading a Dean Koontz mystery yesterday. Without copying his ideas at all, six different story possibilities came into my mind. And this was only from chapter one. I watched a guy almost get run over by a police car after lunch when the cop made a U-turn. Pow! What a cool way to start another story. Was it an accident? Did the cop really mean to hit him? Why? What did this man know that the cops wanted to keep secret? I watched a couple all cuddly in an elevator, then another gentleman looked pretty angry about it. We started talking and he mentioned the elevator gets stuck on a regular basis. You got it! Here comes another idea. Instead of three, there are many in the elevator. Someone has gas. Someone has to go potty. Someone is cranky. Someone is loudly talking on the cell phone. Someone is late. He’s on his way to kill a cop for running over his brother during a U turn.
Everything I see or experience these days creates new story possibilities. What’s worse, each one wants to simmer for a while in my mind, cultivating, developing. I’m running out of room in there.
Is there such things as mental vacuums?