As a writer, one of my biggest challenges is keeping my thoughts straight – and determining what story idea works, and which ones don’t. Like most writers, I keep a notebook (or several notebooks) on me, jotting down ideas that come before they have a chance to go. Whether it be in the middle of the night, after a drive (I try not to ever take notes while I’m driving), or smack-dab in the middle of a conversation, putting these thoughts down on paper holds them in permanence so that they can be revisited later. Some are horrible ideas, others are bits that find homes inside other, larger works, but still there are some that, after starting as a spark, find themselves spreading into a raging fire – just burning to become full books on their own.

While I’m currently still in the middle of a first draft of my upcoming try at speculative sc-fi, it doesn’t mean my ideas stop. I still keep filling notebooks up with bits and pieces of ideas – and every once in a while I have a kind of epiphany, where a full story starts to take shape. This happened the other day, and I’ve been busy marking down notes for the story ever since.

Here’s a little look into the process of what generally happens when a new idea strikes.

  1. I get a new notebook, dedicated to the ideas for that story.
  2. I jot down all the ideas that have been running around.
  3. I copy over the notes from my other notebooks that might have a place in this new story.
  4. I start going through loads of music, looking for the right songs to match the mood and general concept of the story I’m going to write. These get put together for a potential playlist, as well as for music for me to listen to later while I actually write the story.
  5. I throw together cover ideas, again to help define the concept of the story, emotionally and thematically. Usually the covers don’t make it to the final release, but they help guide me in the story as a whole thing.
First concept cover for 'Happier, Forgotten.'
First concept cover for ‘Happier, Forgotten.’

So, while I continue to finish writing The Unfortunate Expiration of Mr. David S. Sparks (the sci-fi type thing I’m working on), I’m already putting all the pieces of Happier, Forgotten. (the new-new story) all together in a conceptual box, to be stitched together and the gaps in between filled to create the next novel.

As for what Happier, Forgotten. will be about? I’ve made the decision to switch off between larger-scale books, and more intimate ones – and since David Sparks is a pretty grand-scale, Happier, Forgotten. will be something much smaller. It’s going to be about loneliness, despair, depression and anxiety. It’s a love story and a life story, where love is lost … we are lost … and the past is better left behind. It’s going to be the most depressing thing you’ll ever read.

I can’t wait to get started.

In the meantime, take a listen to The Cure’s ‘Pictures of You.’ It’s fighting for a spot on the playlist.

The Excitement of a New Story Idea

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