There is no one answer. It is always best to make your own decisions on what you should be writing. Realize, however, that these are important choices for you and for your career. Not every idea is worth investing a lot of time in. So let me offer three suggestions to guide you.
1 Write the idea down in a full sentence. Not only will this make it clearer, but it will also save you from confusion and mis-remembering later on.
A man discovers keywords he can use to reach and influence large audiences without fail.
An easily cultivated fruit is discovered that makes women more physically powerful than men.
A woman whose lifelong dream is to travel to Mars falls in love right after she gets selected for the mission.
Now, while I believe these are evocative, none of them are as complete as they would be once developed into loglines. Still, they represent sentences that could become part of a regular harvest for a writer. And there's enough to work with in each case.
Typically, I would have 10 to 20 of these collected across a week. Half of them would be struck out the first time I reviewed them. What about the rest?
2 Explore who the audience might be or the genre for any of these ideas.
Sometimes, the answer seems obvious. I usually try to put down three or four different audiences/genre even when all my instincts tell me only the first one that comes to mind could possibly be valid. One trick for getting at least one more audience is to think of it in terms of a horror story. And, if you feel comfortable writing humor, you can consider who might be interested in the story if it were treated as a comedy.
The keywords story above could be written as a political thriller. Powerful forces might compete to obtain the services of this genius. Or could be treated as a fantasy, where the protagonist is, perhaps, a social media version of Midas, turning his keywords to gold. And, of course, there are a lot of ways to go with a comedy of this sort. I primarily would look toward unintended consequences, like badly formed wishes in folktales.
3 Apply 10 criteria to test and score the idea.
These are up to you, and I'd suggest putting together a list of 20 criteria so you have some choice. It would be good to weigh them, with different points available, as well. Not every criterion you work with will be of the same value to you.
Here are some criteria to think of:
- How passionate am I about this idea?
- Does this idea fit in with a genre or other work for which I'm known or have a platform?
- Could I write this now, or what I need to do a lot of research first?
- Would working on this idea help me to grow and develop as a writer?
- Would a successful execution of this idea improve my reputation?
- Does this idea have possibilities for reuse or adaptation?
- Is this idea interesting and distinctive enough to set me apart in a good way from other writers?
- Is this idea promising? Can I think of variations and ways to modify it that might make it significantly more appealing?
- Does my gut say I have to do this?
- Am I the right person to tell this story?
- Am I connected to a network of people who could dramatically improve the idea?
- Does this idea have the potential to make me a lot of money?
- Will this idea put me in contact with people I'd like to meet or establish relationships with?
- Will I be proud to be associated with this idea?
- Does this idea present risks to me? Of abuse? Of lawsuits? Of legal entanglements?
- Could the dramatization of this idea creates positive social consequences?
- Could the dramatization of this idea create negative social consequences?
With all these in mind, here's what I suggest you try at home.
Write down three ideas in full sentences.
Choose one to explore with regard to potential audiences/genres.
Ask 10 criteria questions about the idea and see how it scores. (It's best if you develop your own criteria, but feel free to work with some of those I provided.)
Feel free to reply to this blog with your answers. It might be fun to see how other readers react. And I'll be happy to offer comments.
One more thing to consider when looking at ideas. It's perfectly fine to jump in and write a few pages on a story based on one of your ideas. Often, I'll write whole flash fiction (1000 words or less) stories to better assess the potential of an idea. Effectively, this is a way to implement business's "fail early" strategy for innovation. It can also be fun.