Monty Python and the Holy Grail gif from giphy
So, you’re writing a book. Along comes this idea that kicks you in the pants and decides that you should be writing it NOW. You’ve tried ignoring it. You’ve tried reasoning with it. Heck, you’ve tried hacking it to pieces.
What do you do when you are plagued by a persistent story?
1. Make Notes
Often, the best way to get rid of an idea, or at least buy yourself some breathing room to finish your current project is to make notes on whatever new ideas won’t leave you in peace.
This is a double-edged sword, however. Sometimes, making notes that are too detailed can pull you out of your current world, sabotaging your work-in-progress.
2. Come up with another idea
What? Another idea? Yes!
A new idea will make this persistent story idea less shiny and attractive. Also, it will stretch your brain thin, hopefully to the point of exhaustion, so it will stop coming up with more ideas.
Just be careful not to come up with a better idea, or you’ll be in the same situation.
Some people sketch. Other people draw. I usually fiddle with photoshop because I couldn’t draw a stick figure to save my life. Whatever your preference, do art unrelated to writing.
It’s basically like telling the idea “I’m ignoring you… la~ la~ la~”.
4. Incorporate the idea
Sometimes an idea isn’t different from your current story. Maybe it is an element that should be included. Embrace that little noisy bastard and see if there is room for it in your book. Who knows? Maybe your book needs it.
5. Give in
It happens. Occasionally, an idea is just too good… or just too annoying… to ignore. Go write it. Come back to your other work later.
Keep in mind that many good books die here, ditched for the shininess of another book. Then again, sometimes you are distracted because this book simply isn’t working for you. Either way, you will eventually need to sit down and get to your ending no matter what book you settle on.
Who knows? Maybe your old story will learn to be just as annoying.