Well, it’s been 10 days and I’ve come up with 145 short story ideas. And counting. At this point, I think I’ve added a few more. If I keep this up, I’ll easily make the 365 short story ideas goal. Some of these ideas might even be potential novel ideas. To be honest, that’s been the hardest part. When I come up with a great idea, I have to decide if it’s more of a novel concept rather than a short story. Usually, I’ll put it down anyway and make that decision later.
Short stories, for me, are tough because they’re a slice of a story. I love having time and room to expand and grow characters and plots. Not having that kind of freedom makes me feel a little claustrophobic as a narrator. At the same time, it’s good for me. I need to have restraints and come up with shorts that are creative. Training to be concise will help my novel writing.
Finding those slices of stories inside a concept will be the next step. Most of these ideas I’m coming up with don’t have a plot. It’s hardly a story in and of itself. It’s mostly concepts and seeds that could potentially grow if watered and fertilized.
Regardless, after 145 story ideas, I’ve noticed the ideas don’t flow out so easily. The worst thing I can do is stare mindlessly at the mass spreadsheet of story ideas and try to brainstorm more. Something locks down my brain when I do that almost like my brain naturally says, “You’re done. You’re good. You don’t need 365, psycho.” But, I do.
I figure if I have one story idea for every day of the year, that’ll spread out for quite a while and keep me busy. Then I don’t have to really have to think about story ideas and can write them as I go. It’s a great challenge, too.
It’s humbling. When you find the outer-reaches of your creative output, you start to realize you are both creative but also not as creative as you thought. It’s making me reach the bottom of the well. Before, in my mind, I had this idea like…Oh, I have X number of story ideas, so I’m good. But, in reality, X was like 10 ideas. Not that many. Now I can physically point to a spreadsheet of 145 ideas and say, “I’m still not good. I need more.”
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When will it ever be enough?
But, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go write a novel.