On the Next Great Book Idea

You’re ready to start writing another book. Writing’s a habit, or to some an addiction. Why wouldn’t you be writing? You really, really need to start another writing project. The only problem: finding that perfect idea to write about.

What should your next book be about?

Maybe there are tens of ideas swarming around your head. Maybe you’ve been cataloging them  – storing them away for later reference. There could be many that would make a great novel, and hopefully you’ll get to write all of them eventually. But which one to write now?

Or perhaps you get an idea to write about every time you turn your head. Sometimes you forget them, but other times you actually manage to write them down. But they’re all… mediocre. You could make them work, but something just seems off about every one. How are you to find one good enough?

It could be you’re not like that. Instead, you can’t find a single idea. How can these other people have ideas descending upon them from the heavens? You try and try but can’t come up with anything. Ideas are sneaky creatures which work hard everyday to hide from you. How do you come up with one?

I’ll attempt to answer these here: You know a good book idea when it won’t get out of your head. A single description, a line of dialogue, or the opening scene will be one you always come back to. You’ll find yourself unable to let it go.

But how to find one? Maybe look back through some of your favorite books or movies. Is there a character trait you really like? Maybe you keep getting glimpses of red hair, or a dark ally. Maybe you can still see the facial expression of that stranger passing you. Maybe it’s a raw emotion, or the French accent of a tour guide who suddenly appeared in your mind. Have these things stuck with you? Have you thought about them often?

Write on it. Form a plot around it. You may soon find a whole book unraveling from this single plot point.

I found my next book idea through a random line of dialogue. It popped up into my mind one day out of nowhere.  I just kept hearing it over and over, and eventually knew that I had to write this character. He needed to be in a book. I then began to think of the man who would fit this voice. Funny thing is, he’s not even a main character. The main idea for my book, and he’s not even a major player. Interesting.

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