A Sea of a Million Ideas

One of my problems is that I always have a million ideas when it comes to my stories. Normally I can get together ten different scenarios for the same plot and yet not even think them all the way through. Like with my short story, I wrote a scene where my main character was showing traits of a submissive wolf. I explained the scene to my boyfriend and he was pointing out major flaw. The main character is supposed to be a dominant because the story needs her to be.

I tend to be so obsessed with how the big picture is supposed to be, that I end up glossing over little details during the first write through. Then by the end of the first draft, it’s filled with plot holes. That’s when my story goes to my boyfriend, my plot hole finder. He’s really good at finding them and figuring out ways to fix them, but he keeps saying the same thing to me.

You over think it. You have a million ideas and want to go at it a million ways. It keeps you from focusing on one idea and fleshing it out completely.

As usual, I get frustrated but thank him anyway. Frustrated because I didn’t think of it before and thankful because he was right. I often over-complicate my ideas when I come up with them because I think I’m focusing on that one, but I’m really turning it into a bunch of other ideas. I keep doing it until I get lost and start asking for help again. Not really the most productive process in the world. How would you feel if your story was like using Tiny the Dinosaur from Meet the Robinsons?

I’m trying to get myself to focus better on each idea, but it isn’t easy. Mind maps help. I can go on tangents until my fingers fall off and when I decide to focus on one idea, I can flesh it out with as many branches as I need. If a new idea pops up, just create a new branch that I can build on later. It also keeps all of the ideas in categories so that they make sense later. Though it can get overwhelming after a while. A mind map can get very big very fast. I like using a free mind map software called FreeMind that allows you to collapse the branches to make it smaller to create a better focus for you.

To me writing them all down on a piece of paper makes it really overwhelming but shows the glamour of productiveness. Later all I really find is a bunch of scribble that makes no sense to me. So I only use that when I’m outlining, I just seem to better focus that way.

How about you? How do you get yourself to focus when you have a million ideas swimming inside your head?

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