So I’m reading The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan/Brandon Sanderson. (By the way, AMAZING books.) I’ve read 1 – 5 I think before, but it has been years so I restarted at one again after buying the first… six I think.
And I realized something. Robert Jordan doesn’t just add a character or group of people for shits and giggles. When they show up, they keep showing up and they’re in the shit deeper than you realize. I’m going to try for some non-spoilers here, but if you haven’t read the books and plan to, you might just want to take my word for it and come back to read this once you’ve started the series. (Don’t wait til you’ve finished the series, we don’t have that kind of time.)
For instance, Padan Fain. The peddler who shows up at Emonds Field in the early chapter. Being the bearer of bad news. Well… he should know, right? He pops up again and again. And lets just say he doesn’t bring sunshine and rainbows along with him, right?
Also, Thom Merrilin. I love me the gleeman. He’s amazing and is a lot more than he seems. (I’m not sure just how deep his involvement goes, but he travels with them and doesn’t just fade into the background as a ‘here then gone’ type of character.)
And just look at Elyas. He could have easily been a character to just point Egwene and Perrin in the right decision. But no, he and wolves are so much more than that. (Honestly I can’t wait to see what role the Tuatha’an play in the end, but I’m not 100% sure they will. I can’t quite remember how far Aram goes, or if he dies or lives. If he lives I’m sure he will have a large part to play as well.)
Basically, what I’m getting at here, is if you add something to your books/writing, they better mean something. If they don’t mean anything or add anything to the story. Cut it. Cut it now before you get in too deep.
That’s all I really had to say about that.
Anyone who has written or done anything artistic seriously for any amount of time should know this. Ideas can come from anywhere at any time. Dreams, songs, bits of conversation, even seemingly from nowhere.
The problem is, how do we catch those ideas?
Someone, I think it was Brandon Sanderson, called it an ideas bucket. I have two general notebooks, one sits in the bag I always carry and the other is a small one that fits in my back pocket.
I have only recently started using the small one again and now I can’t live without it. Early on, when I first started carrying it, I used to think that I got no ideas while doing so. However, I started getting ideas from everywhere and, tired of writing on my hands all the time, I started carrying it again.
The bigger notebook is to ‘think out’ my ideas and write up some blog posts (like this one) at work. With more space, I can sit down and examine my ideas in more depth. I always use lined notebooks as I thin more in words than in pictures, though many times when thinking quickly and in a non-linear fashion, I write diagonally across the lines, and occasionally there is an image or two while thinking out scenes.
My point is, you have to have somewhere to keep your ideas. There is no way you can keep them all separated in your mind, so what do you use?