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It’s been a while since I looked in my idea file to see what’s there, mostly because have been concentrating on getting the finished books published. Since my first book The Nun and the Narc is scheduled to come out this spring from Soul Mate Publishing, I need to figure out what my next writing project will be. I need something to pitch to the editor in order to keep the books in the production pipeline.

The question I’ve been dealing with is should I go with something that’s partially written, or try something brand new? In view of my question, I thought it might be a good time to check out all the story starter ideas I’ve filed away.  I also thought I might find some new blog material in the files. After writing two blogs a week for a year, the creative well can get a little dry. So, I pulled out my idea files and rifled through the snippets of paper I found there.

Here are some of the things in the files.

  • Several news clippings about the Buffalo Soldiers.
  • A news article about a swastika, the size of a football field, cut into a corn field in New Jersey.
  • A news article about the Mudd family trying to clear their name over the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.
  • A list of 52 dumb facts, including one about a monkey that was tried and convicted of smoking a cigarette in South Bend, Indiana
  • An article about a frontier madam
  • An email about Regency slang
  • A list of words to create Shakespearean insults
  • A list of Russian prison tattoos and their meanings
  • A chart of the relative humidity and heat index
  • An article about the order of birth and what it says about you
  • A list of the names of God found in the New International Version of the Bible
  • Several articles about abolition, Freedom Train and slavery
  • An article about Gypsy persecution
  • An article about a prison for American Indian captives
  • Several articles about American Indians
  • A couple of articles about the Orphan Train
  • Clues to reading body language
  • An article about club drugs
  • An article about space germs
  • A mock-up of a children’s book based on a poem I wrote
  • Meeting notes from a Day of Mayhem, Murder and Poisons workshop
  • Several beginnings of short stories, long forgotten about
  • New  lyrics I’d written to the ABC song, rearranged as a Happy Birthday song
  • An article about drugs on the Indian reservations
  • Several articles about old west gunslingers
  • An article about Sister Alice, executive director of St. Vincent’s Senior Citizen Nutrition Program.
  • An article about Chicago World Fair
  • An article about the Oregon Trail
  • Several articles about Indian attacks
  • Email about church hymns
  • Arabic fairy tales
  • An article about wildfire fighting

Hmm.  This is one odd list of ideas with very little in common. After spending several hours looking through the papers, I’m not any surer which direction I should go. I do see that I need to reorganize the files since I have some areas that have multiple news clippings.

The one thing the list does confirm, however, is that a lot of things pique my curiosity … and that’s not a bad thing for a writer.

What’s in your idea file? Are you working on anything gleaned from that file?