That's how I see it. Ideas are shiny. Really shiny. I could be sitting in a room of tinfoil reflecting sunlight, and ideas would win out 9 times in 10. I don't know where ideas come from or what they're made up of exactly, but whoever makes ideas must put in a lot of glitter.
Now, I say this, because I recently became rather distracted by an idea and wondered off from where I was meant to be going. What can I say, it was a seriously pretty looking idea. Too bad this was one of those times when I really needed to get a specific something done and not wander away.
I feel reasonably sure that I am not the only person who gets distracted by shiny ideas. Because, well, I'm not that special or hyper-distractable.
This sometimes happens to me in my writing. In the previous draft of my WIP, Charlotte (happy, happy MC) was supposed to be meeting Alberto (Close friend). Instead, she went off on a trip under the bridge to hang out with Luca & Co. (Other friends). A nice shiny idea that came with some interesting characters. Too bad that following the shiny took me so far from where I needed to go that it would take thousands of words to resurface on the path Charlotte needed to be on and to manage the related complications. So, it would seem, following the shiny doesn't always work.
However, sometimes, it's nice. One time with this WIP, I followed the shiny from Anna-Maria (a.k.a. the porcupine) to a minor invasion of her privacy (because, well, those things happen) to her boyfriend and her fabulous little subplot that I now really enjoy. The Shiny, it would seem, can sometimes lead us down some very interesting paths.
I guess what I'm advocating is giving the shiny its fair chance. It might lead to the witch's house of candy and cake, or it might lead to the big rock candy mountain. The shiny might be a risky bulb of light leading off into the marshes of death, or it could be that light at the end of the tunnel leading some place really awesome. Give the shiny its fair chance. Think about where it wants to lead you. It might be somewhere you want to go.
How do you feel about the Shiny? Do you get distracted by it sometimes? Where has it lead you in the past?