I’m sure I’m not the only writer who can say this, but I come across a lot of story ideas which I will turn over in my head for a while before deciding to ignore them and happily leave them behind. I’m not just talking about those helpful story ideas which friends and family so generously offer (provided you split any income you might make out of it with them –I’m happy to give them that $2.50, so I never debate that point).
No, I’m talking about those tangents of thought sparked by a newspaper story, an overheard conversation on the bus (yes, everybody, I am listening) or some random act of strangeness you see when you are out and about. Those moments set off the tendrils from the ether which weave their way into your subconscious and leave behind a story which whispers at you, complete and ready to be written.
There are many reasons why I will ignore a story, maybe it is too far out of line with what I normally want to write, it is not original enough, not logical enough, not scientifically plausible enough or I just don’t have enough interest in it to do the research that would be required. Sometimes I just don’t think I’m the right person to write that story.
I’m a big believer in the collective unconscious, and I think anyone who has written fiction regularly will have at least one experience of a story writing itself, revealing the twists and turns only as your fingers put the words to the page. It is as if you are channelling the story, not making it up.
This collective unconscious is the place to which (I think) ignored stories return, ready for someone else to pick-up. Unlike my dearly loved but unwritten tales, which I keep turning over in my head, the ignored stories are released, never to come back and haunt me again.
Sometimes I wonder what it says about a person, the stories they choose not to write, but as this is a highly private thing I guess we’ll never know. Besides, with so many stories that I do want to write still unwritten, I guess I should just forget about these ones I have turned my back on.