How does an author choose what stories to devote their energy and time to finish? Most of us have many ideas floating around based on what interests us from the world around us. But how do you choose what to work on next?
Here is how it works for me. I made a pretty picture!
The books that I’ve devised an outline for, in my head or in writing, get chosen and filtered through the Think Tank for the order I choose them. Things that have progressed naturally to near-completion also get chosen this way. Some subjects that “write themselves” are stories I have intense feelings for, or things that are really relevant to me at the time. These ideas erupt out on their own and I find time to write them because I HAVE TO! These get published too and sometimes without choice from the Think Tank. The Lustre was one of those “feeling” stories.
A story doesn’t get written because it is in the Box of Shame, which means I’ve overdone it for myself and dislike the story because it is Abodid (this is a very appropriate baby word for “hateful” coined by my son Corbin the Philosopher at age 18 months). The rest of the unfinished rabble exist in the idea cloud, which means they have at least a few sentences to remind me of the concept. These could be one of the four completion categories some day if they eat their Wheaties.
Ross Gale has this interesting take on the books writers choose to write: http://rcgale.com/2012/04/18/writing-what-you-ought-to/
This is a really interesting graphic.
Recently I’ve discovered how useful it can be to rely on charts and diagrams of this sort when it comes to exploring characters, plots and also what ideas to write. It’s like having your brain in front of you and picking it apart until you see what you need.