When is an idea a story?

I have a lot of hobbies and interests. It helps with my writing because I’m intrigued by so many things. I love the ocean (I know–you’re saying, ‘wait, you’re always going on about thalassophobia and now you’re telling us you love the ocean?’). There are so many really cool creatures living there and the ecosystem is the most varied and dynamic in the world.

I also have interests in movies, books, the paranormal, horror, fantasy, cephalopods, psychology, mythology . . . the list goes on. In some form all of those interests build into my writing. I see bits and pieces in each story I write down. Those other focuses color the way I see stories and what I include or don’t.

It’s an amazing process and I am always in awe when I come up with a new story and get it put down on the page. Mostly because I don’t get how it all comes together to be able to tell a coherent tale on the pages.

Except, I have lots of ideas popping into my head. Walking down the street, or to my job, or driving–usually when I’m active in some non-writing related task. It’s when those ideas come.

The question is, how do I know which ones to pick to actually turn into a complete story? My first answer is, ‘I have no idea.’ Legitimately, it’s how I often think of the process. However, having been around for a while, I’ve come to ‘see’ a little more clearly which ideas are just shards and which deserve to be written down.

As I said, I have lots of ideas flitting around, but some die after a few seconds and others keeping hanging out. It’s the ideas that keep coming back to the forefront I focus on. When I start thinking more in depth about an idea, when characters start forming and scenarios start showing themselves; it’s when I think there’s a story in there.

I don’t try to control it, because the stories show themselves when I give them room to hang out in my head. I let those ideas simmer and fester. It’s the ones which float to the top and keep bugging me I keep an eye on.

I’m going to keep adding to this theme because I’ve got more to say. Story creation is an important process and worth chatting about.

Feel free to shoot your own experiences at me. I’m always curious how other writers create.

Craig

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