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I don’t just read books, I write them. (Well, I have one novel completed, many more started, and a bunch of short stories that range from one-sentence ideas to completed.) I often get far more ideas for stories than I actually have the time or interest to further develop, much less finish. I think it’s important for any would-be writer to actually record these ideas, so as to not forget them if nothing else, and so I maintain a number of files of ideas, some of which I periodically return to, in order to further develop them as the Muse wills. I actually have some files with novel ideas I first had literally decades ago that return to every now and then. I remember reading a quotation by some famous writer (Stephen King maybe?) who sad this approach was bullshit and that any idea worthy of being fleshed out didn’t need to be recorded because the writer would naturally gravitate toward the good ideas and forget the dumb ones. That may very well be true, but I’m glad that I’m not alone in keeping a log of all my story ideas.

As it turns out, noted horror author H. P. Lovecraft also kept a notebook of his story ideas, and we now have access to a transcript of it. It’s a fascinating list, even though most of the ideas are only a single sentence long. Many of them seem to have been developed into the finished stories with which we’re familiar, or are so vague that we can imagine they were, but many of these 221 story ideas do not seem to have been developed further by Lovecraft unfortunately.

(And the image I’ve included here is one of my absolute favorites of Cthulhu because it was on the cover of the Arkham House collection The Dunwich Horror and Others, which was the first collection of Lovecraft I ever read at the tender age of thirteen. Checked it out of the library and it promptly blew my mind. Thirteen is undoubtedly the best age to be first exposed to the Cthulhu Mythos.)