Photograph copyright: MATTHEW McMAHON
I've had some interesting feedback on the subject of how best to harness ideas, especially when inspiration strikes at unexpected times. Misty Dawn asked about idea-retention techniques:
My problem is that I have many stories, both short and long, running through my head. I have a great thought or a great "scene" go through my head while I am out shooting photos, in the shower, or lying down to go to sleep. By the time I get in front of the computer, I have either lost most of the idea, or everything is playing out so fast in my head that I can't get it all down fast enough, it all gets mixed up then, and I get frustrated and give up.
Relax, Misty Dawn. Here's a choice. Would you rather have no inspiration at all, or too much inspiration? Sounds like you've definitely got the latter happening. That's a wonderful thing for any writer, but in your case the challenge is the task of stringing them together. Trust me, that's a whole lot better than not having any ideas at all, so you're a couple of steps ahead of us all.
My fellow Aussie, the Bendigo-based blogger Pope Terry said:
I come up with a lot of ideas on my walks, when I don't have a pen and pad handy. It's a little annoying, trying to remember everything until you get home.
Been there, done that, Your Eminence. I had this great idea a couple of months ago, about a twist to the novel I'm writing. I should have written it down, but I didn't. The next time I sat down at the computer, I could not for the life of me recall what it was. It took a few minutes, and I was sweating bullets! If you get a great idea and you can't write it down, try and fix it in your consciousness with a memory aid.
Then I had to chuckle at the pithy comment made by I Am Not, who said:
"There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are," - W. Somerset Maugham.
I've also got three rules - never give up on a good idea, never give in to writer's block, and always follow up on a good idea.
It's The Little Things asked about when and how to locate an agent:
Say we've "mostly finished" our work, but know there will changes and edits suggested by the agent/publisher. Should we start sending out as is? Secondly, where do we find an agent?
I hadn't finished my first novel, Vegemite Vindaloo, when Penguin indicated interest in the synopsis and early chapters. On that basis, I'd say give your work the once-over for typos, factual references and self-editing and then go through the process I described in an early post in this series about finding an agent. To recap, a lot of big publishers won't look at work unless it comes recommended by an agent. You might also find some useful information in my post Make Sure You Find The Right Agent. If you have any specific queries, just let me know. I'm always happy to help.
And this interesting suggestion came from Kimberly:
Another question for you - have you considered compiling your Telling Write From Wrong posts into a book?
In all honesty, Kimberly, that was not my intention when I began this series. But after I'd written about ten posts in this series, a little light started to flicker in the recesses of my brain. At this stage I am totally committed to writing novels, but this is something I'll definitely think about. Stay tuned ....