Don’t Put All Your Idea’s Into One Story

I recently saw a tweet regarding putting every last solitary idea that comes to your mind into your story. At first glance, I figured they meant “give it your all, leave no stone unturned”, I’m all about that. Following the link, I read an article about some very different advice that, in my opinion, could actually damage your story.

Summed up the concept seemed to encourage one not to spare anything for a future story and never hold out any detail (large or small). There are a number of reasons that I tear my hair out at this idea. Here are some of them:

Frequently, when penning a script or novel, the author (we’re talking the first draft here) throws down masses of information. This, in itself, is not a bad thing unless left unchecked. More often than not the first draft contains a hell of a lot of backstory. While it is important as the author to be fully immersed in the back-story, it is not always necessary to incorporate all of those details in your final draft. Let the details inform but not dominate the script. Even in novel form, where backstory is far more acceptable, it should be used with both caution and purpose.

Covering scripts has shown me that as writers we frequently struggle with organization and clarity as the result of unwittingly telling too many stories at once. A storyteller always has more than one tale to tell and it’s not necessary to tell them all in one manuscript. If you find, for example, that you are genre-splicing, take a critical look at your story and ask yourself if the choices are vital to the plot or if they would be stronger as independent works? You may have several different stories on your hands!

So, yes, give “your all” to every story. Open yourself to your inner muse and let the ideas fill your pages! Just don’t miss out on the opportunity to tighten your writing by seeing what goes in and what doesn’t. Writing is rewriting and a large part of that is editing!

What are your thoughts on this? Do you think that all ideas should go into one story, no stone unturned? Or are you more in line with my thoughts? Drop me a like if you enjoyed this week’s blog post!


I asked for questions last week and got some good ones, but not enough to do a second Vlog with. I have decided that rather I’m going to talk about why I chose to Vlog and some struggles that kept me from doing it for eight months! Watch for that next week!


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  1. Ariane Both said:

    Hi Amy! Found you through the blog hop. Great article!

    I myself have somewhat of the opposite problem. I tend to write lean, and at some point during my writing process I usually realize I need to add in a few more ideas to flesh out the story. My brain likes to zero in on the main plot and I have to remind myself that subplots need love, too. But I keep documents just for random ideas as well. If it’s a more fleshed out idea, I’ll give it its own document. For one or two line ideas I have a document called “Ideas,” that lists random characters ideas and lines of dialogue, etc. Whenever I feel like the story I’m working on needs a little something extra, I scroll through the Ideas doc and see what might fit with my current WIP.

    September 5, 2017
    • Amy Laurel said:

      Hi Ariane,

      I love blog hops! I always find such good stuff that I wouldn’t have otherwise seen.

      It’s crazy how different author’s processes can be! Thanks for sharing yours! I appreciate you commenting!!

      September 5, 2017
  2. ScotK said:

    I’m a victim of this if I let myself. I have maybe 20 or more ideas drafted out and sometimes I feel like I should merge them. Once or twice it works. Most of the time it’s subconsciously a laziness on my part I think as the sheer number of ideas begins to overwhelm. Eventually I come to the realization that I just need to keep them separated. In the last year I created Scrivener files just for ideas. I have one folder for rough, 1 or 2 line thoughts and individual files for more thought out projects. This helps me keep them apart.

    August 28, 2017
    • Amy Laurel said:

      That’s funny, because that’s what I do to keep my stories separate! I have a separate file for each new idea whether it’s a few sentences, or a few chapters ,or more. I guess great minds think alike! Thanks for reading and commenting!

      August 28, 2017

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