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.
Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.