That’s a common question asked of novelists. With literally thousands of new books released each year, it can seem overwhelming to create a new story idea that will capture people’s attention – so just how do you do it?
At the heart of every story idea is a question: Why? What? How? You don’t have to make up a story, you can simply look around and ask yourself, “Then what? Why did that happen?”
Not convinced? Here are some examples:
- Re-write mediocre stories. Have you ever seen a movie or read a book that you almost loved, but didn’t quite? Figure out how to fix those stories – it could have been what if what had happened? (Then make it happen.)
- Keep writing favorite stories. Have you ever finished a book that you didn’t want to end? Maybe it doesn’t have to – what would happen next?
- Dreams. Some of my dreams are so real that I wake up angry, happy, or scared. When something inspires that much emotion, I write down what I dreamed about. I don’t always remember the details, so I have to figure out how I got into those situations. What inspired the emotions?
- Real life. Don’t underestimate the power of watching or reading headlines or finding an article that tugs at your heart. Don’t research the stories or people though – ask yourself what could have happened to create the situations that stirred your emotions.
The trick to making these techniques work is to make each story your own. Don’t copy anyone else’s character; let their characters inspire yours. Don’t steal their plots; let them give you ideas.
There really are story ideas all around you as long as you’re willing to keep asking, “then what?”
Owner of Write Now Editing and Copywriting Services, Karin Beery has had more than five hundred articles published in various periodicals, in addition to writing her novels. She is an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers, the American Christian Writers Association, and Christian Proofreaders and Editors Network. She is represented by literary agent Steve Hutson at Word Wise Media. You can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, or at her website, www.karinbeery.com.