Last week in “How to Fuel Your Writing,” I advised maintaining a file of book concepts and ideas. I learned this lesson the hard way.
A few years ago, while doing some non-fiction research, I desired for a creative way to share my conclusions. I toyed with the idea of using narrative, of unveiling my findings in the form of a fiction book.
The concept fired my imagination. Soon I had mentally outlined the path my story would take. I developed characters, imagining the appearance and traits of each. I devised scenes and placed them into chapters. I worked through transitions to ensure a smooth flow, stirring in intrigue to keep readers engaged. Through it all, my protagonist would discover what I discovered, only instead of reading books and conducting online research, he would follow clues and talk to real people. He had a mystery to solve, a journey that would educate readers while entertaining them.
I planned that as soon as I finished my research and formally published my findings, I would dive into the narrative version. Until then, I would store my marvelous story in my mind.
Sadly, other projects preempted this one and eventually my grand ideas faded from memory. Though I can conjure up smatterings of content, they represent nothing more than disjointed vignettes of no value. All I can recall is the book’s opening sentence and the general story arc. I even forgot the name of my beloved protagonist.
I never want to lose another idea. That’s why I now write down each one before it wanders off.