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  • Patricia Hollett

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When I worked on NaNoWriMo last month, I found myself coming up with new ideas during the writing process. I jotted down notes where I could, and in one case wrote a couple of pages. My friend Anna calls these ‘shiny new things’.
But, now that NaNo is finished, I’ve received some very good input and advice regarding the story I’ve been working on for the past eight months, and it involves a huge rewrite.
So, my ‘shiny new things’ will either have to wait, or I can try and intersperse them while rewriting my manuscript. Plus, there are several short stories I’ve written in the past several months that I want to re-write because shiny new ideas have sprouted to rework these short stories.
Anna and I play something we like to call ‘plot ping pong’ when one of us comes up with a ‘shiny new thing’ and we toss around ideas via IM to work out plots, characters and stories. I think we both get so much out of this method and it helps with just tossing out random ideas and just letting the creative process flow.
Now, the problem with all this is we end up with so many different stories on the go at once, or so many ‘shiny new things’. We try to devote equal or bits of time to each of them. It’s great to have something else to fall back on when you hit a wall on the ‘big’ project you’re working on. But, there are so many shiny new ideas popping up all the time, you wonder if you’ll ever finish just one…completely. I’d like to think so.
How do you handle your ‘shiny new things’? Do you have many projects on the go or just try to do one at a time?


15 Responses

  1. I try to stick to one thing at a time but if something pops up i write as much of it as I can then file it under ‘procrastination project’. 🙂

  2. I keep a journal!

    In it, I seperate each projects, then add on pieces of dialogue, characters’ names and plot twists.

    I let it simmer… until it’s ready…

    I admit when a good idea comes along, usually there’s a bunch following, so I give priority to the most developped (in my mind) and start writing.

    I find that if I write more than one at the time, they all end up being pretty bad… it’s surprising, I’m super efficient with multi-tasking, usually 🙂

  3. Well, my flash are kind of my “shiny new things” as I work on my big projects. Other than that, I keep a notebook with ideas I’d like to work on, but I only do one major project at a time or it will never get finished – not with the time factors in other areas of my life.

  4. Yes, you do have a lot of shiny new things. That only struck me when you commented. I guess you’re the ‘master’ of ‘shiny new things’! And, you’re right…one project at a time. I need to keep focused. Keep those shiny new things for when the time is right. 🙂

  5. I write the first scene with any plot items that need to get out of my head, and then I file it away in my computer and “forget about it” until my current project is complete.

  6. You know me, Pat. Haha. I’ve got three novels in the works. A bunch of short stories in between.

    It makes finishing one novel harder, but it keeps all the ideas fresh. That way, I don’t lose interest in any of them.

  7. It’s tricky, I have a few idea’s on the go at once and have to let them mull for a while to make sure that I get it all figured. My latest piece is about the Pie Rats and a picture book for kids.

    I’ll be shopping it around at some point shortly although not sure if I have the bravado required to get it going.

    Idea’s are always great and having someone to talk them through with helps even more. That’s why I love chatting mine through with my other half, we get something creative ready that just needs some polish and its off.

    From this we’ve already got:
    It’s the Kitwits
    Diddy Di’s Birthday Surprise

    Plus a few others that we’re still kicking about.

  8. I do have a notebook where I jot down ideas. Sometimes just a line or two or a phrase, sometimes part of a poem. Sometimes a werid idea that I’m not sure about.

    Here’s the weird thing though, when I’m working on a pen-for- hire project (the last one was a long and involved proposal for a seniors housing complex) I tend to get a major shiny story idea. Then, I can’t wait to finish what I HAVE to do for $ so that I can get to work on my fiction.

  9. Oh man I used to get shiny new ideas every second… I still do but I manage them better now. Way back when (lol, just a few years ago) I used to have what I called Writing ADD (still do, just manage it now). I’d project hop all over the place and never get anything done. Finally I decided that wasn’t working for me anymore. (Yay NaNo) and I now limit myself to two major WIP’s in progress at one time. I like having the ability to work on something else and give my mind time to relax. I usually work on one main WIP and one not quite as main WIP. I also have little “for fun” stories that I pick at when I need a real break. These stories truly are fun stories too. I don’t really intend on ever doing anything with them and that makes them relaxing.

    Good luck with your shinys!


  10. Some great suggestions. Thanks for sharing them-everyone. I’m going to have to try to keep my shiny new things on the back burner until I’m ready to work on them and focus on one thing at a time. 🙂

  11. I usually write the first page, and stick it in a folder called plot bunnies. That way, the ideas are there if I ever finish my current WIPs. And I love shinys.

  12. I keep a notebook in my purse for “shiny things on the run”, but when I’m at home I type out whatever comes and then file it in the appropriate folder until I’m ready to use it – or get inspiration from it.


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