How long do you let ideas incubate in your mind before actually attempting to write them down?
Sometimes I get a story idea and keep it to myself for awhile, letting the concept simmer. If things start to take shape, I’ll write it down in an idea journal (or, let’s be honest, whatever random scrap of paper happens to be around at the time).
Then, it’s incubation time. You know those ideas—the ones you’re sure you’re not ready to write yet, that need more time for development.
It may take a week, or a month, or several years before I’m ready to write it—not counting those stories that demand to be told immediately. But those are far and few between.
I think it’s a good idea to let concepts take a bit more shape before putting things down on paper… it’s akin to mental outlining, ensuring we don’t move into the story too quickly, before we really know what we want it to be about.
That said, the idea baby has to come out of the incubator eventually! Even if we’re not quite sure we’re ready for it… because, in all honesty, who ever is?
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 15, 2007
POSTED BY NEIL AT 9:39 PM
In 1985 or 1986, watching my son Mike wheel his tricycle around the graveyard next door to our house that we used because we didn’t have a garden, I thought of an idea for a story about a small boy who wandered into a graveyard and was raised by dead people.
Then, deciding I wasn’t a good enough writer, I didn’t write it.
Recently I came to the conclusion that I wasn’t getting any better. So I wrote a short story called "The Witch’s Headstone", which will probably be chapter 4 or 5 of the book.
And today I finished writing Chapter One of The Graveyard Book, and it’s a real book. I know it’s a real book because there are all sorts of things I don’t quite know yet, and I can’t wait to find them out.
It’s okay to let our ideas incubate! But we have to let them out eventually…