Ever been in the situation when an idea bites at your mind and you can’t think what to do with it? With all the features Smartphones have these days, it is pretty easy to just note it in a file of ideas there. Even a few words of what the idea is about can be of great use later on. You don’t even have to have an idea for a plot. Just a character who appears complete in your mind’s eye is a gift from heaven.
You can always find a plot to fit them into, and who knows? Maybe they will be the beginning of a long and fruitful association. Look at Hercules Poirot and Miss Marple. Or much later, Peter Robinson’s Inspector Alan Banks.
Evernote is great for when these times happen. There are plenty of other gadgets that can do the same thing, and many of them are free or have a free component. Have a search around and find one that will do until you can transfer your idea somewhere that you can play with it.
So sometimes that character who appears fully-developed can be a Godsend. Never discard them as a brain rush. If you cannot use them in what you are working on, put them somewhere safe and come back to them. Then study them and see where you can use them later.
On the other hand, if you are like me and your phone is also old without all the newest gadgets, there is always your voice that you can use. A lot of Smartphones have this option too. But you have got to have your imagination in full flow to get the most of this. The lucky few of us can get away with simply stating a few words concerning their new character and be able to build on them later, but many find the original has slipped back where they came from and are the Devil’s own work to recreate them as you first saw them. One of my first attempts at novel writing had this happen to the main character and I am still trying to find him again. Simply because I thought I could put what I saw in my mind’s eye down after a period of time, so didn’t start to construct him on paper or by voice straight away.
So, invest in a cheap tape recorder that will fit anywhere if you cannot afford one of the newest phones which all but go to the toilet for you, and put anything you see in your mind’s eye there if you don’t like carrying a pad and pen or your phone does not have everything on it.
It really is no use thinking you will remember this character or scene. Everyday events get in the way and something that has no obvious function to your mind will get shoved under the carpet of your brain out of sight. Trust me, it does happen.
So make up your mind to get some gadget to write or speak your brain’s ideas into. Another thing I have found with the brain: It does not care when it delivers these snippets of gold to your conscious. That part of the brain simply functions as it pleases and does not recognise daylight, dark, or whether you are driving your car or not. You can always pull over to the side of the road(safely, I hope) and speak several words into your phone or tape, or make a note on your phone.
You will thank yourself later.