The idea process


Hello everyone :slight_smile:

I’ve had the idea for a story rattling around in my head for a while and I’m curious: what is your process for getting all the loose ideas onto paper and making them into a story?

I tend to think of my brain in these early stages as the big stew pot in a medieval tavern. You know the huge one that never really empties. I start by chucking all the thoughts in my head into the stew pot then it simmers for a day or two. After that I go into research mode and start looking at everything related to my topic that I can think of and I barely even digest much of it. Anything that looks cool at a cursory glance goes into the stew. Then everything has to sit for a while. I won’t look at it for a week or so then go back and pick out all the bits I dont like and hopefully end up with an idea I can build on.

So what’s your process? Does anyone do anything similar? Or is your idea process wildly different ?


I usually snowball my ideas. Initially, it is some sort of a premise, a few lines describing a weird thing to happen or an unexpected outcome.


How long do you find it takes to get from that initial premise to a point where you feel like you have enough to start the story or start outling depending on if you’re a planner or panther ?

For me its ages, I tend to think about an idea for weeks before I even start my idea soup


Oh, yes. I always in the process of writing, so it takes months normally before I can move on to writing the next idea. Meanwhile, I pad it.


Honestly, I just think of an idea, and then I build on it. I think - what would happen? If it turns out to be a flop, I won’t write it. But if it’s good, I’ll just write it and see where it goes, because yeah, I’m a pantser lol


So you jump right into the story “no plan, no plot, no problem” style? That’s really interesting, I need to have at least something down before I start.


Well, not really. The thing is, I make an idea, and then if it’s good, I write it. The only thing I really plot out are the major plot points, like ‘this this this’ will happen after ‘that that that’ happens, never thinking about what will happen in between or the details. It’s been working quite nicely for me, to be honest.


aahhhh I see, when it comes time to actually writing I use a similar process. I like loose outlines with room to improvise between the major plot points.

How do you decide if an idea is worth working on?


Mostly I debate whether it’ll work out for me or not. I think about the beginning to the end, not worrying about the middle first, and figure out what happens in between. For example, ‘A will come to B, and how will we get the conclusion of B?’. If I think I might be good at writing it, I’ll write it. If not or I’m just too busy, I write it in my ideas document.

How about you? Do you have such a process, or do you just focus on one idea?


I got into writing through making campaigns and setting for role playing games, and I’d always plan out the world first and then let my players decide what they wanted to do plot-wise. So I still do that, once I get a concept I like and throw all the bits I think might be cool together, I start worldbuilding and I let the state of the world influence the conflicts in my story. Once I have a couple different potential points of tension or conflict I pick one, start planning characters and develop how I’d explore that conflict


Wow! You must be a planner. That’s very impressive, at least to me. It’s not efficient when I do it but hey, to each their own. I wish you good luck with your writing!

~ Shadow :winterstars:


My process was like @shadowsettle until my current book.

My current book began due to watching a clip from the 1979 remake of Nosferatu. For some reason, this clip moved me unspeakably and I had to write something that mimicked those feelings in me. The first scene I ever thought of was a slight mirroring to that one and ended up being featured in Chapter Nine of the book. Beyond that scene, I expanded the entire plot in my head for like two weeks and began an outline. I never ever outline. I created an entire plot from beginning to end, chapter by chapter, the whole thing is outlined. I am currently writing Chapter Twenty-Six.

The twists and turns are still coming, I’ve added a small subplot to be featured in the third act of the novel, and the characters have become so real to me over the last two years it’s insane. I love them with such a passion, even if I despise the main character’s actions, he’s like a son to me. His lover, the vampire, is actually tattooed on my arm in his bat form. An idea literally has spanned into two years and counting of dedication.


That sounds awesome, I can never start in the middle of anything, I usually have to go chronologically and I have a hard time writing scenes out of order.


I have to have something to fall back on so that I don’t get lost, or whenever I get writers block I can just look back a my notes and I already have what I wanna write; I just have to get it on paper. Loose outlines are usually what I do, but sometimes I plan out entire scenes if I get a scene that I know won’t come until later in the book; but I don’t wanna lose that idea.


Same, I thought of it all out of order but I never wrote anything out of order. I built it all up in the outline. It was all written chronologically.


I just write the general idea, develop it into an outline, redraft it for a while until i like the plot and outline, then I’ll start on the characters and make them into ones that are deep and have all the background that they need, and then I will start writing it. It also depends on the story and the kind that I intend to write - different proceses for each individual story


I tend to get scenes in my head, ideas and let them stew for years.
I won’t work on the story, until I have the first line in my head, what voice I want to use for the narrative.


My ideas tend to stew for a couple of weeks before I deem them writable. xD I usually know right away who I wanna use as the main voice of my novel.


You’re lucky, every story that I begin, is always trail and error what voice I want to use.


I think it’s because when I am actually writing I’m very character driven. Once I have a character I really like, I plot around him/her.