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Like most writers, I have a trunk full of unfinished or abandoned projects.  
Whenever I think of a possible story, I make a few notes so that I don’t forget the basic idea. For flash fiction/shorts I might only write a sentence. For novels, I write a rough, query-size description.
Some of the stories never get past the summary stage, but I find it useful to rummage through that trunk on a semi-regular basis. Not least because I sometimes come across a promising idea which I’d forgotten all about.
Over the weekend (between shoveling the rest of the driveway and clearing a path from our front door to the mail box), I dusted off my ideas folder and found this brief summary of an idea I had for an MG novel:

Dead Doris (MG urban fantasy)

 Doris and Kimberley are best friends. Doris is pretty, confident and by far the smarter of the two, but Kimberley wouldn’t trade places with her for the world. After all, who’d want to be the ghost of a ten-year-old girl?
Not that Doris is dead you understand. She’s only ‘mostly dead’, and as everyone
knows, mostly dead is slightly alive. 

Every year, on the anniversary of her death, a door appears at the spot where
Doris died and she must choose whether to stay on earth or walk through
the golden door and become ‘all dead’. This year though, the door
appeared two days early. Instead of polished gold, it’s black and covered in slime. Something’s trying to come through from the other side.  It wants Kimberley.  Is it Death? If so, what did she ever do to be
sent to the dark place? 

One thing’s for sure. Doris isn’t about to let anything bad happen to her best friend.  

My current WIP, A Union of Snakes, should keep me occupied for a good part of this year, but when that’s done, I think I’ve found my next project.  
How about you?
What all-but forgotten story ideas are hiding in your trunk?  



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( 64 comments — Leave a comment )
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Feb. 16th, 2010 06:36 pm (UTC)
That is so awesome that you found your next project. I have notebooks all over with story and play ideas in them, I really need to consolidate at some point because I know parts of the same story are different places :0)
Feb. 16th, 2010 06:40 pm (UTC)
I hate when you remember writing the notes about a particular scene or story arc, but they're not with the other notes :(
(Deleted comment)
Feb. 16th, 2010 06:52 pm (UTC)
True, very true :)
Feb. 16th, 2010 07:09 pm (UTC)
You had me at the title, Jon. 'Dead Doris' sounds like a winner.

My trunk is overflowing with ideas, I have 2 novella ideas, three YA and four MG.
Feb. 16th, 2010 10:32 pm (UTC)
It's good to have a choice, isn't it? :)
Feb. 16th, 2010 08:19 pm (UTC)
Hmm. I have some scribbled notes. Probably the one that's most firm but still unlikely to be finished (because I can't figure out how I want the story to go) is a human and an alien (not a humanoid alien; the description is basically, fox-sized and shaped but with two arms as well as four legs), both adult males, go to a planet colonized by (human) religious zealots in search of a valuable mineral resource. They run afoul of the the local fundamentalist laws and are helped by a very attractive woman who flees with them but instead of the human guy she picks the (literally) foxy alien because he understands her better.

I don't think it's a novel sized-story but it could be a novellete.
Feb. 16th, 2010 10:33 pm (UTC)
Intersting, though my 'pun radar' beeped when you had the fox-sized creature running afoul ;)
(no subject) - karen_w_newton - Feb. 17th, 2010 12:00 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - Feb. 17th, 2010 12:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - karen_w_newton - Feb. 17th, 2010 09:31 pm (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 16th, 2010 08:41 pm (UTC)
Sore spot!
Oooh, this hits me where it hurts. I've got so many starts...and I'm bound to end up with many more! Hopefully as I gain experience, no so many of them end up orphaned.

Practically every story I've ever written started from some kind of fragment or other: an image/scene, a character sketch, etc. Wait. Scratch the "Practically."

Beading these fragments onto the same string is oh so difficult, and why I haven't completed more stories.

I've got a hard enough time writing short stories; how did you pull off 3 novels (or is it 4)? I'm curious, had you been writing off/on since well before these novels?

In my own personal history, I was writing very consistently throughout my undergraduate years, and even a couple years afterward. Then the workaday world struck...and I didn't return to writing till about two years ago, or several months before I joined the GSHW...
Feb. 16th, 2010 10:37 pm (UTC)
Re: Sore spot!
I think novels are easier (if that's the right word) than short stories, because you've got plenty of room for a wide story arc.

Aside from songs, I'd never written anything before 2003, unless you count class assignments in English, back in the mid 1970s - for which Mingin the Merciless would not be surprised to learn I got barely passing grades.

My novel count is currently (almost) five, though three of them are poorly written first drafts.

Edited at 2010-02-17 12:13 pm (UTC)
Feb. 16th, 2010 10:04 pm (UTC)
I have many. One in particular, I know I will never have the time and patience to do the research to write. Don't even know if I *want* to write stuff like this, but I think it sounds like fun:

How does one hire a terrorist?
An ad on the internet, an alias, a hotel room in Dubai, and one frightened 52yo woman who watches the idiots and the fanatics file in. She’s actually got to appoint one of them? You kidding?
Elizabeth is rich and she’s angry. The world is full of hypocrites. People collect cans and paper for recycling, but drive to the recycling stations in petrol-guzzing cars. Big companies can pollute as they please. It’s time someone did something, really did something.
Is Jeroen, the crazy Dutchman she ends up hiring, and whose favourite English word is ‘kaboom’, the answer? He certainly knows how to blow up power stations, and blow her mind in bed.
While electricity is down, Elizabeth gives subsidies for wind and solar power.
As Ellabelle, she is a terrorist, as Elizabeth Watson, she is the woman who changes the world. Of course, this will only work as long as no one makes the connection between the two.

Feb. 16th, 2010 10:43 pm (UTC)
That does sound good! Have you done an outline for it?
(no subject) - mikandra - Feb. 16th, 2010 10:56 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - Feb. 17th, 2010 12:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
Feb. 17th, 2010 12:10 pm (UTC)
Hehe, sorry, but no :P
Feb. 17th, 2010 02:30 am (UTC)
That sounds like a great story idea!
Feb. 17th, 2010 12:12 pm (UTC)
Thanks, the promising ideas usually lurk around somewhere at the back of my mind, but I'd totally forgotten writing this one down.
Feb. 19th, 2010 01:34 pm (UTC)
My trunk? Among other things, psi-fi. A bit of SF here and there. Also some fantasy. Mostly, I'd call it "unfinished". I cant say there's any idea at this point that I have completely abandoned, as of yet.
Feb. 22nd, 2010 12:16 pm (UTC)
' I cant say there's any idea at this point that I have completely abandoned'

I know what you mean. Even if your never write that particular story, there's always something you can cannibalize from it.
(no subject) - snapes_angel - Feb. 23rd, 2010 02:45 pm (UTC) - Expand
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