Let’s talk ideas and writing books…

A new writer recently joined our writing group. He has talent, but has never attempted a novel. “I want to write a book,” he said. “So how do I get an idea for a plot?”

One of my beta readers asked me a similar question after reading my book Calculated. “Where did you get all of the ideas for this book?”

The truth is everywhere. Everything is story to me. Ideas come out of and through everything: nature, people, books, kids, conversations,a prompt, an old memory, news, history, my own dreams, my breakfast, staring out the window, a bike on the street and a fleeting vision of who rode it.

Classics get me excited and the old imagination starts roaring. I love the oldies. Dickens. Dumas. Dostoyevsky. Zola. Hugo. Stevenson.  The Bible. Seriously – The original Count of Monte Cristo is something like 1200 pages, and I was devastated when it ended. Those characters haunted my dreams and sat at my breakfast table for months.

These days our stories move at much faster pace compared to these older stories, but undeniably they had so much punch and power to draw us in and tweak that inner man so that we walk away wrecked forever with characters who will never leave us. They are worth reading, and studying. (*disclaimer – do not stop reading in your genre. You must do that regularly!)

Back to ideas. They don’t always work, unfortunately. They also need to be revised, and changed. But they also grow, deepen, expand, and develop.

Most of the ideas for my book are formed through revising something I wanted to do that didn’t work. I tried new things, and outlined, and brainstormed, and the longer I wrote I saw the holes in my plot and strengthened it. My plot got more complex and connected. The longer I brainstormed, more ideas came on how to foreshadow and create suspense and mystery.

So. Ideas can come from anywhere but they still need revision. NEXT.

So how do you write a book? After you have studied craft, you do it with these three things: Imagination, motivation, and determination.

Imagination-let your mind fly with your ideas.

Motivation-put aside time for them.

Determination-Don’t give up until its done.

If this scares you, then set your mind to writing one page a day, and before you know it, you will have your first draft and plethora of ideas on how to revise it.

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