When Ideas Attack!

I’m really not complaining. I’m very, very blessed to have an active imagination that’s also incredibly fruitful.

But do all my ideas have to attack me at once? Can I not take a drive, a shower, a nap without one more popping up? If I have to use one more tube of lipstick to write out an outline because I’ve lost my pen or that’s the only thing I have on me, I think I’ll scream.

Ray Bradbury once made the analogy that his ideas had the habit of biting him on the leg, releasing their venom as he wrote the story, then let him go when he was finished.

Which is all well and good…but what happens when all your ideas attack you like the compys in Jurassic Park??? And when you ignore them or try to reason they just make you feel so damn GUILTY. Argh.

I’m currently working on a YA urban fantasy piece based on a folktale. I’ve had this idea for a good three years in different forms, and it all started when I was out for a walk one March day and heard a sound: WhooshTHUNK! WhooooooooshTHUNK! WhooooooooshTHUNK!

Obviously curious, I turned down my MP3 player and picked up my pace…and nearly died at the source. A few streets down a group of children were blissfully sledding down a hill in their yard that was quite steep. That isn’t unusual, right? Except they were stopping themselves by letting themselves run right into an SUV parked on the street. I was so stunned I wasn’t quite sure what to do…really, it wasn’t my place to do much in this day and age. But I have never forgotten the bizarre hilarity of that scene. And that got the ol’ juices flowing into the thing I’m working on now. Which was supposed to be fairly short and to the point. I’m now at 21K.

Which also wouldn’t be bad if I didn’t have two more ideas breathing down my neck plus a novel I need to finish and a host of other things I want to do. I have to carry a pen and notebook with me everywhere, if only for my sheer survival. And this isn’t counting the design ideas or craft projects that explode into my head at random hours.

At the moment, my daily brain activity is something like this:

Current Idea: (sidles up along side and slings an arm over me) So you’re going to work on me, right?

Me: Well, yeah, of course. We’re almost done, anyway!

Current Idea: Yeah, about that…I’ve decided there’s actually more to me than what I told you.

Me: Wait, you were supposed to be simple!! That’s why I bumped you to the front of the queue!!!

Current Idea: Life’s ironic, ain’t it? So yeah, here’s some more for you to play with; you like having options, right?

Me: Well yeah, but-

Current Idea (spontaneously dumps a basket of baby subplot ideas into my lap)

Subplot Ideas: Idea! Idea! Idea! Idea!

Current Idea: Aren’t they just adorable?

Me: uh…well I can work with them, I think. They’re hard to ignore, at any rate.

Other Current Idea: Wait a minute, Bub! That’s cheating! I’m next and now you’re just hogging the author!

Me: Yeah, Sorry about that…but you’ve kind of fizzled–

Other Current Idea: Nah, we can fix that! I’ve got all sorts of ways we can fix that (reaches for its own basket of baby ideas)

Me: Oh God! Wait, not you too– (has to duck as they’re all dumped out). Wait a minute–

Novel: You’re supposed to finish me! This isn’t right at all! And I’ve finally figured out a good ending–

Other Novel: Hold up there, chief! You don’t want to forget about me, do you?

Me: Of course not, but…uh, if you’d just wait your turn-

The Novella Gang: Haaaaaang on just a minute here….

Me: Damn. I thought I ditched you guys a while back…I mean just give me some more time…

The Novella Gang: If you planned better you’d be ready for us by now!

Me: Well things kind of come up

The Giant Mammoth Series of Doom: THAT’S WHAT YOU SAID AGES AGO!!!


Me: (quietly tries to run ) Oh not you! Anything but you!

Life: Face it, kid, you’ll never get away from me!

Series: That’s why she has us! To make her feel better and take her away from all your drama!

Current Idea: Yeah! What he said!


Me: uh…they’re idea-ing all over the place

Current Idea: Yeah, they do that. Cute, huh?

Me: (looks up number for witness protection and wonders if she can get in contact with Ray Bradbury to find out how to make these things calm down….)

The Giant Mammoth Series of Doom: If you’re not going to appreciate me, I can just leave…

Me: NO! No! I love you! I love you all! I don’t want you to leave, just…be patient!

(They all look at each other and mumble, presumably negotiating)

All: Well okay, we can do that.

Me: Good. Great. Awesome. Thank you.

(Exactly five seconds pass by before all perk up with great big puppy eyes)

Series: So are you ready to hear about this new curve ball I’m thinking about???

Current Idea: No, it’s MY TURN!


Random New Idea: Hey there, babe! Have I got a thought for you!


…………………….SIGH. Compys, I tell you. Freakin’ compys bent on poisoning and mutilating me until I do their bidding.

Though what would I do without them?

Sometimes I fantasize about that…but then again I don’t think I could take all that boredom.

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