Ideas are wonderful; they can be creative little sparks that illuminate previously darkened corners of your experience, or they can come to you fully formed, ready to be written into existence just as they are. While it can be encouraging, (and productive!) to have ideas come to you fully formed, I actually quite like when a tiny little seed of an idea morphs into something else entirely. And if an idea iterates more than once, even better!
I’ve heard this process referred to as ‘idea stacking‘, which is an interesting term, but I prefer ‘iteration’, because it gives me a better sense of the evolution of an idea; metamorphosing from one state to another. It can be difficult as a writer sometimes to sit with a half-formed idea, and just allow it to germinate in its own time, but I find it so valuable.
For example, I first conceived of the idea for Elden Forest while sitting on a riverboat cruise of the Seine, which sounds dreamy and romantic, but was, in fact, sweltering and sticky. However, though there are many elements of Elden which I originally conceived of on that sunny day in Paris, there are many others which have occurred since, including cannibalizing a sizable portion of another fantasy series I was working on at the time, and serving it up to the voracious beast that was the initial Elden Forest concept.
As I’ve gained experience as a writer, I’ve been able to fully realize the benefit of iterating ideas. My initial idea is very rarely the best form of that idea it can be. Initially, it felt uncomfortable to sit with an idea, and explore all the edges, and corners of that idea. I felt as if I let my imagination run too wild, the idea would get away from me, and become somehow, uncontained; out of control. But experience has taught me how precious that iteration process is, and how essential it is to my writing process.
How do you iterate your ideas? Tell me in the comments below!
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