How long do you brew?

Seriously, I’m interested in seeing the differences out there. How long do writers brew, or rather stew on an idea before they begin writing it down? How long do you normally take? A couple of days, a few weeks, months maybe, or even years? 
I normally take weeks if they are novels, and a day or less if they are short stories, poems etc. I take a couple of days for short scripts and a couple of months for features. The longest I’ve sat on a story before starting to write it is a few months. 
In those months, what do you do? Do you plot the whole affair from beginning to end, or just major story arcs? Do you figure out your characters? 
I find that I usually focus on story arcs and character profiles, but in saying that I don’t set these as immovable before I write them down. Even as I start writing, I know I have to get from A to D to J and eventually Z, but the whole planning (and I use this word loosely) can go out the window as I write without restraints. 

Well, my dilemma here is that I have an idea, a very brief overall arc of the story and the two protagonists I’ll be writing about, but I am so tied up with other projects that I feel this will have to take a backseat for God knows how long. Is it wise to lay aside a story? What has been some of your experience? I’m kind of nervous that if I don’t at least brew on it for a little while, I’ll lose the story, the spark that inspired it. 
All I know is that I have the title for the story already and the characters: Ebony & Frank.

The theme: recognizing one’s true self through the eyes of others.  


8 thoughts on “How long do you brew?

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  1. When I’m slogging through a first or second draft, I’m often tempted to get sidetracked by a brilliant new idea I have for a book. But those ideas are often like a hot guy you’ve just met but don’t really know yet. After a few dates, you begin to discover his faults. That’s why I usually just write down a few sentences to save the idea for months or even years later, then get back to work on my current project.

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  2. Short story ideas get written down and worked on as soon as possible. I’ll write down the premise, then I’ll write down the angle for how I’ll tackle it (POV, tense, character, story arc) and then I’ll start working it asap.

    Novels will brew for at least a month before I start tackling them properly. I can usually tell if it’s a novel by the complexities of the story. I’ve had short stories grow into a novella, but never into a full-blown novel.

    I’ve pantsed one novel and chapter plotted another, and I have to say plotting suits me better (which is really weird because I’m super-spontaneous to the point of flightiness). Plotting needs brewing. Some ideas just won’t let go.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, I love that while you thought you were a pantser, you were actually a plotter. It’s a strange phenomenon I guess. We all have a style of working that suits us. I think mine is so that subconsciously, I know what format I’m writing in: screen, novel, shorts & poems. Otherwise everything would take on the same shape. I know what you mean when you say you kind of know which one is a novel and which one isn’t. I do that regularly for which one is a screenplay and which one needs more words to covey. 🙂

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