A Story Idea in the Dead of Night.
I’m pretty sure every writer experiences this at one point or another.
It’s when you’re lying awake, trying desperately to sleep and then wham, bam a story idea pops into your head and won’t leave you alone.
This happened to me last night. It’s a kicker. Thankfully I remembered it and have started jotting it down already, but oh boy, I was terrified I was going to lose it.
It wasn’t particularly interesting or unique, but it was a story that I was excited to write, and that doesn’t happen very often. So when inspiration strikes, I usually get up and write it.
Unfortunately, now I live in a studio apartment with my husband, who has to get up early. I could get up and type out a story in the middle of the night, but the light from my computer screen would turn me into a heartless monster.
So, there I was, lying in bed, waiting for sleep to take over so I could wake up and write.
I did what any good wife would do.
I repeated the story to myself a few times before going to sleep. I injected a ridiculous amount of detail into the story so that I could remember it when I woke up. I tied everything together in a neat little bow so that I would only have to remember one part to remember the whole story.
When I woke up, I sprang out of bed and into action. I typed out six hundred words in twenty minutes, and I felt great about it!
You may or may not be impressed by that but for me, trying to remember the details while tapping frantically on my keyboard. Not too, shabby!
How to remember an idea.
Ideas come to us at the most bizarre and inconvenient moments, while we are in the shower when we’ve forgotten our notebooks when we are trying to sleep etc.
It’s like my brain only wants to think of ideas when I’m not ready to do anything with them.
So what tricks can we use to remember these ideas?
- Well, you’ve already read my main one. I think of lots and lots of details and develop the idea as much as I can. I hope that I’ll remember at least one part and that the rest of the story will come flooding back.
- This one depends on what kind of thinker you are, but essentially if you can convert your idea into something very visual, your brain is more likely to remember it. Try and think of your story like a movie. Our brains remember visual things more than words. So making the idea as vivid as you can will help you to remember that awesome idea!
- Make it rhyme. I’ve tried this one, and I can’t say that it works for me, but some people swear by it. If you can make it rhyme, you can remember the outline. It doesn’t work for me, but it might work for you!
- Repeat the story idea over and over and over again. This one works best when ideas hit somewhere inconvenient but not hours away from a place to write. I use this one when I’m in the shower until I can pad over to my keyboard and jot down the thoughts.
My memory is particularly bad, so if I can remember a story idea, I’m sure you can. These are techniques that I have tried or heard of, but I’m sure there are so many more.
It’s good to have a method you can use to handle these surprise idea moments. I hope that one of these works for you! As always, I cannot wait to see you on the bookshelf!