Ideas are great, but what do you do with them?
I’ve participated in PiBoIdMo for the past 3 years, and have come up with some awesome, entertaining concepts. However, I haven’t yet found the right approach for most of them. I can imagine them complete, but am not sure how to take them there, or which are worth the effort.
I am, as I type this, trying to come up with my next middle grade project. I think it is middle grade that I’m after, but truth be told, some of my most recent ideas may actually be Young Adult, or in the awkward space between upper middle grade and young adult. It doesn’t matter right now; I just need to write.
But writing a chapter book, or a novel, is a big commitment. It means months of time spent at the computer, dreaming about the characters and letting them take over my headspace. Picking the right idea is of the utmost importance. I don’t want to waste my own time, of which I seem to have less and less!
So tonight, I am listing out a bunch of “what if” questions to get my ideas moving. My most recently completed manuscript had a clear, unique idea, with a clear, unique approach, tone and voice. I want to keep it going. But everyone knows that writing isn’t about the inspiration – it may or may not come along. I don’t have the time to wait (or the patience). My list is growing, and there may be one or two gems that come from it. I am writing everything down, no matter how absurd and impossible to write around (ie., “What if there was no more cheese?” Yes, it’s my nightmare. It could be a good picture book … but, I’m not going to be the one to write that. It’s just not for me.) And then, an old idea struck.
It’s the first “novel” I tried writing when I was about 10. I am sure I still have the notebook somewhere. It’s based on a legend from the summer camp I went to every year … actually, I think I made the legend up in my own twisted pubescent mind, but I think I convinced myself that it was in fact a legend and probably spread it to campers. Anyone who went to the camp knows that the bathrooms are called “Kybo’s” – permanent outhouses, with concrete holding tanks for the … mushy stuff. Just a big collection space. It smelled. Dear lord how it smelled! (FYI: Kybo’s, apparently, stood for: Keep Your Bowels Open.)
In the legend that I may or may not have created (I honestly can’t remember), there is a Kybo Monster. If you spend too long on the can, he sucks you in, down into the depths of his Kyboland.
I decided to write a book about it.
I didn’t get very far. The “chapters” were one or two paragraphs. This was well before the digital age. All hand written, and I had no concept of what should go into a chapter book. I’m still learning, almost twenty years later.
Maybe this is the book worth pursuing … but something tells me, it’s not. It could be a fun one to write just for me, and my old camp friends, one day. For now, it will stay on my “What If” list, and I will get back to daydreaming about a lack of cheese, among other weird ideas.