The first part of my process is the most common. It’s the ideation stage, one of my favorite stages. For me, this can last from a few minutes to several months. That’s because when an idea first hits me, I have to mull it over. There are several things I consider before I decide if the idea is or can be made great.
1. Is the idea interesting enough to me: in other words, do I care enough about it
2. Is the idea original: has this been done before.
Depending on these two answers, depends on whether or not I consider the other parameters.
If the answer to number 2 is yes, the idea is original and/ or it hasn’t been done before (at least to my knowledge) then I go on to consider the other parameters. If the answer is no, then there is the added parameter of
2a. okay, so it’s been done before but I really like this idea and it won’t let me go so how can I take it to a different level that it hasn’t been seen on before?
Note: when an idea hits me, I always try to make sure I don’t have to answer question 2a. I want whatever I do to be original, fresh and new. Now getting back to the list..
Other parameters are
3. who are my characters (names, profiles, any background stories that may or will play in the main story, etc.)
4. what’s the setting
5. what’s the plot and storyline
6. fine tune any and all details that aren’t on the list as well as pop-up details
Now this is not a definitive list, but it’s usually most of what happens when I’m in this first stage of my process. Depending on the characters, storyline, plot, any backstories, and how intricate these things are the ideation stage can last for months.
So where do my ideas come from? That’s one of the most common questions I’m asked besides “how can/do you write?” (An answer post is on the way). But my ideas come from everywhere and anywhere. They come from books, movies, songs, television shows, my thoughts, my feelings/emotions, real life situations, nature, my faith, people, etc.. Literally anywhere and everything.
The idea can’t just be any idea though. Like I said before, it has to excite me beyond reason. It has to nag me until I can’t stand it anymore. It has to be on my mind constantly. It has to force me to think about it, how to mold it, differentiate it and take it to that next level. If the idea doesn’t do that, then I know it had no weight with me and that I probably shouldn’t write it. But if I try to get rid of it and it keeps coming back, it’s a winner.
Now there are times when I’m sure about whether or not I should write this idea out. Even so, I’ll still go through the development stage and even to the production stage just to see how it’ll come out. If in the end I don’t like it, I will trash it and start it again or rewrite the parts I don’t like or something along those lines. I’ve only had to do this once to my knowledge.
Anyway, once I have an idea I can fly with I’m at that point when I start in on the development stage…