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Untangling Story Ideas
Brian Jewell Consults the Cracked Pottery on Writing Multiple Stories
I actually took a little time to work on some fiction projects. I should have some of those ready and available before the end of the year. Right now, I have so many idea's as far as long-term stories I'm having trouble deciding on which ones to give my attention to. Any advice on this would be helpful and greatly appreciated. As for the blog I'm sending this week, I tried to not be quite as political as the last one.
-Brian

Any fertile writer has numerous story ideas. Combining too many of them will result in a big feminine novel. If you want to sell to a male audience that is not emasculated and you want a chance at a script or comic adaptation, which is where the money is, then go for a short novel.
Multiple short novel ideas are best handled by two methods.
Do not write the outline and synopsis as taught in school.
Your outline should be bare bones: title, subtitle, estimated number of scenes or chapters, possible chapter titles, a protagonist that is described in the text, not sketched outside of it. The idea is to put every word of writing before the reader, not in the back ground. Everything you need to write the novel should be contained in a 3-6 sentence dust cover, which is part of the publishable work not some backstory rep never to be read by the reader. Do not write to you, write to the reader.
Sure, other writers use other methods, much more extensive and have great success. But they have publishers and you work full time and also write nonfiction. You need to write like you are selling every word. A dust cover should be between 50 and 150 words.
Multiple ideas can be put aside by doing a barebones outline in under 300 words.
The one that you focus on should not be the one you think you should do first, but the one that you are irrationally driven to write. That one will be the better story. Then see what other idea is most urgent in you. You might find that the story that you were really driven to do, was getting in the way of another properly forming in your mind. For me, I outlined 4 and finished 1 in February. For me, I had to do Beyond Rainbow Bridge in January because of a nonfiction book on the same subject nagging at me. Once I got over that urge to write a revenge mayhem book, I could do a more mature look at a book about a 22nd century prize fighter in Cube. They were both myopics, and Beyond Rainbow Bridge was stalling Cube.
You will have to figure out how story ideas get cluttered in your head and then cut out the one doing the most tangling.
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