Throw away ideas.
According to my ball busting, kickass editor and good friend Renee Murphy, there is no such thing. I usually disagree with her, just because that is what a goddess’ second does, but in this I’m inclined to agree.
Remember that saying, “Don’t be a sore winner?” Well, Renee is a sore winner and, as a result, I’m writing this post in response to her challenge. I am to pull a detail from my last manuscript (ironic, seeing as I haven’t even finished my first) that’ll work in a sequel. Of course, I tried to slide out of it by reminding the Editor Goddess that I have no finished manuscript, but she knows me too well. I’m always thinking ahead and she knows it.
In my first run through of my book (we’ll call it Book 1, since I’m holding the actual title hostage) I found something intriguing within the first chapter. In a flashback sequence, there is a conversation between two characters, one named and one unknown. At the time I didn’t think it important, but four months and twenty-one chapters later, I received a pleasant surprise.
Turns out that unknown was someone I had previously “met” in a scene that I wrote months before and completely forgotten about. Imagine my surprise when he came back to let me in on a few nuggets of information and one huge secret that’ll have far reaching ramifications for the entire series.
Another example is the geis I have incorporate into the series mythology. The idea was originally given to me by the Editor Goddess herself when I consulted with her about a character named Augustine, the half-demon son of a witch.
In tradition Irish lore the geis is a form of magic that can be either a curse or a gift, of obligation or prohibition, depending on the individual placing it. In Augustine’s case it is a curse, manifesting physically as a band of stylized scrollwork around both his wrists that prevent him from harming humans. His counterpart, an incubus named Jourdan, also possesses a geis, though his are hereditary.
Originally, the geis was unique to Augustine alone, but after the discovery of what would come later in the series, I realized what my mind had been trying to tell me.
All of Jourdan’s kind possesses a geis, though theirs is of obligation, not prohibition. At first it didn’t seem like a huge discovery, until I continued plotting out my endgame for the series. It was then that I realized in simply being a sounding board for me, my Editor had given me the solution I’d been racking my brain about for months.
Long story short, nothing idea/detail is insignificant. Even if you feel like that person who served drinks at in the scene is just a bartender or if they’re really the guy that ends up shooting your main character in a back alley in the sequel later.
My advice? Write every single thing down. Make sticky notes. Pin up napkins with scribbled ideas on them. Your mind is a vast and imaginative thing, and you never know if what it’s churning out is a slam dunk or not, but why risk forgetting it?