How do you know when an idea is worth writing an entire story about and actually finishing it?
I think in the first few years of my writing, that was the question I asked the most. I had ideas all over the place and it was pretty much a hobby to start stories, make up characters, and then move on to a new set of each.
My sister deserves part of the credit for my writing today (The funny thing is I'm not sure she knows!) because one day in high school she looked at me when I was talking about writing and said "but you never finish anything."
And maybe she meant to be inspirational (cue cheesy inspirational music here!) and maybe she meant to be an obnoxious little sister (haha, um...the more likely option =D...). But when she said it, I knew she was right. I didn't ever finish anything.
I "finished" (in quotes because I went back a few years and many conferences later and did a major rewrite) my first manuscript within a year of that possibly unintentional challenge she had issued. And suddenly what had seemed impossible (seeing a story through from beginning to end) was something I KNEW I could accomplish.
I don't finish everything I start now. Sometimes inspiration will strike and I'll see a scene, or I'll come up with a character, and I'll open a word document and just jot down whatever ideas exist. Maybe I'll use it later. Maybe I won't. BUT since my sister's words, I have finished everything I've intended to finish.
I think we need to have the freedom to put down ideas that we have. But again, there's that balance, where sometimes you just have to sit down in the chair and finish what you've already started, promising yourself that you'll come back to that distracting new idea later.
How do you sort through ideas and decide which stories you're really passionate about telling?