Monday, August 4, 2014

Plot bunny management

I'm not sure about everyone else, but I have story idea overload on a regular basis.  Some image will come to mind, or a phrase, or a plot idea, and I know I need to grab onto it before it disappears back into the wild before I have a chance to do anything with it.  These ideas are plot bunnies, and they are hard as anything to wrangle sometimes.

My main storage space is a Google Document (appropriately titled "Plot Bunnies") that I can access online and on my phone.  It's one of the easiest ways for me to jot down what I'm thinking of before it vanishes, and it gives me access to those ideas later if I get stuck.  Now, because I'm usually writing them down frantically while trying to get enough detail across that I'll know what I was talking about, there's a level of surrealism that pops up.  Things like "soul lever" and "honey blood" are just there, with no context whatsoever.  Admittedly, a lot of time there is no context to give, but still, it can be confusing.

While I enjoy using the Google Doc, and usually move everything over to that document so it's all in one place, I don't really like writing on my phone.  If I'm away from a computer, I'll usually jot the idea down in one of the multitudes of notebooks that surround me.  I admit to being a stationery addict, and have more notebooks than I could ever really use.  But you never know when you'll need a piece of paper, or you'll have an idea that'll take less time to write out by hand than it would to fight with your phone.  Also, as I discovered in college, moving text from the hand-written to the typed gives me an opportunity to do a first run of editing.  It can help me smooth out some of the wrinkles that come from just getting it on the page, and it also helps that it becomes legible after I type it up.

Finally, when it comes to images, I've become a believer in Pinterest.  One of my coworkers spends a lot of time on Reddit, and frequently sends around photos that she finds interesting.  After the second or third email, I created a Pinterest board for the images that seemed like they had a story waiting to be told.  I don't update it all the time, but it's nice to have an easy place to stash an image for later inspiration.

So tell me how you organize your plot bunnies.  What tools or tricks do you use to keep them under control?  How often do you use them to inspire new ideas in something you're working on?