10 Steps To Find Your Book Idea & Write the First Draft
- So you want to write a book but the story has evaded you, what are you going to write about? Chances are your subconscious already knows so help it out. First, if you’re a keeper of notebooks go back through those and see if you can find clues. For a long time I thought my story idea came to me in a dream, a bolt from the blue. But looking back through old notebooks I found the idea had been there all along, in different forms perhaps, but with common threads. If I had written more in those notebooks I might have come to it sooner.
2. What are you passionate about? What gets you all fired up? What could you talk about forever? What subjects do you think about most? Make a detailed list.
3. Draw up a list of your favourite books and movies. Note common themes, what you liked about them, and what was missing.
4. Next ask yourself what your dream book would be like? The book to end all books, a real page turner, that would keep you up all night. What themes does it explore? What are the characters like? When and where is it set? Really go wild with this one, detail, detail, detail. Then realise, this is your book!
After this you’re ready to start writing. Don’t believe me? Here’s what you do next…
5. Write a rough outline including an ending. The whole story on a page kind of thing. This doesn’t need a lot of detail, it’s just a guide. The story once written will most likely be different, especially the ending, that’s fine.
Now you have two options…
6. Start writing and let your subconscious lead the way OR write a more detailed outline, do research, plot chapters and then start writing. The first way is mine. I dabbled with the second but it didn’t work for me. If your new to this, like I was at the time, you could try both ways, see what works for you. A word of caution though, don’t get too caught up with research at this time, or anything that will keep you from writing.
7. Give yourself a daily target… I wrote my novel in word with a target of 1000 words every day. Some days I wrote less, some more, but watching the word counter fly was motivating for me.
8. When writers block strikes… Keep in mind that the block is you. You are blocking yourself, we all do it. But we are energy, and energy wants to move. What you need is a writing habit. Get in the habit of showing up and hitting your word count no matter how you feel, no matter how bad it is. You will find that a lot of the time you have to force it. Just do it, you have to.
9. Build a wall… The only kind of wall I favour is a wall of positive energy. Build it high around yourself. You’re going to feel vulnerable, a lot of people, even people close to you will not understand, not support you, will say horrible things, or say nothing. Keep them out as much as you can, surround yourself with positive people, quotes, art, talismans, good luck charms, photos, articles, blogs, books, you name it. Immerse yourself in these things, spend time looking at, reading, absorbing. Let great minds help.
10. Finally, the first draft is the most creative part of the novel writing journey so let yourself go and enjoy it. There is no right or wrong way to do it, it just has to be written. Trust the process, every bit of it. Good luck! xo Jane