I have my own personal way of keeping track of story ideas. I sort of came up with the idea because of something Gardner Dozois once said he does. He once wrote online, when asked how he put together his annual “Best of” anthology, that he reads all the stories during the year quickly and then when it comes time to make his decisions he goes back to the list of stories. If he reads the title and remembers what the story is about — if it is that memorable — then it’s good for at least an honorable mention. He goes forward from there to make his final selection of the two dozen or so stories that are reprinted for the year.
Every so often I compile a list of story titles, which are essentially story ideas. I let the list sit for a while, and if some months later I come back and still remember what the idea was about, I know there's probably enough there for potential outline.
I updated my list this morning, after probably the longest gap ever. It was last updated in January 2013. I spent so much time last year working on my latest collection as well as “Letters from Gardner” that I only completed two short stories all year. Nobody noticed because I still had so many stories already written.
I had 31 stories published between 2011 and 2013 (which is one of the reasons "The Clock Struck None" came together like it did), and so my stockpile was diminishing rapidly.
One of the reasons I decided to buy the voice recognition software was to help me pick up the pace – which it has done. I’ve written up some of the stories whose titles sat on that list for over year now, and so I thought it was time to update it.
As has been the case, I can’t recall what I was thinking to go along with some of the titles, and so I know those ideas when strong enough to move forward. But I still have enough stories to keep me busy for a while, 15 to be exact.