CHOOSING YOUR NEXT BOOK IDEA: Tips on picking a story idea and sticking with it! [CC]

CHOOSING YOUR NEXT BOOK IDEA: Tips on picking a story idea and sticking with it! [CC]

January 17, 2020 1 By Kailee Schamberger


Are you the type of writer who has ideas
bombarding you all the time for different stories and you have no idea
which to write next? Well this videos for you. Hey there! My name is Katlyn Duncan
and I am an author of books for adults and young adults. I post here on YouTube
twice a week with writing vlogs, writing tips, and all the bookish things. If that
interests you be sure to hit that subscribe button so you don’t miss out.
Now, over the past few years I have been ghost writing along with my regular
contracted projects and it was always inevitable that I was in the middle of a
project or a deadline and I had all these ideas for new books but at that
time I always had the urge to drop everything that I was doing and get
started on that new and shiny project. Now this might not be your exact
situation, but you may have many ideas for novels, or short stories, or any
writing project, and you have no idea which to write next. Now I have some tips
that have worked for me over the years when it finally comes time to pick my
new project and stick with it until the very end.
Tip number one: write down those ideas. Whether it’s a character, premise, logline,
dream, whatever. Jot it down on a piece of paper, or on your phone, or in a special
document on your computer. But make sure this is a quick note. We are just jotting
down the idea right now. We’re not gonna write the book at this moment yet. This
has helped me so much when I’m in the middle of a project. Getting that spark
of an idea down gives me a little relief, and makes me realize that I’m not going
to forget the idea if I don’t write it all at once, and then I’m free to
continue doing what I’m supposed to be doing. My next tip is: let the idea
marinate. Let the idea sit for a little while, so that your mind is able to work
sort of subconsciously on the idea while you are doing other things. Now there’s
no strict timeline on this. I’ve never put a specific time on it for
my own projects. It’s more of I get the idea down, I do what I’m supposed to be
doing, and when I’m ready for those ideas they will be there waiting for me. But
for me. I would say longer is better. Giving my mind time to work out all of
the intricacies of the idea will help make that story a lot stronger. So now
you have your ideas written down somewhere, and you’ve let them marinate
for a bit, now you’re ready to jump in and write that next project. So now what?
There are some important questions I like to ask myself prior to picking one
of my ideas. With the idea list in front of me, I ask myself one by one: Am I
excited to write this story? Now it should be a yes, if not, you may need more
time to marinate on this story. So you can leave it in your document, or on that
piece of paper and move on. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. This story
may still come to you later on, but with this question you’re able to hone in on the
story ideas that you really want to write. The next question I like to ask
myself is: what type of story do I want to write for each of these ideas whether
it’s a novel, a novella, a short story flash fiction, or even a series. I also
have a video about outlining series, if that’s something you’re interested in I
will link above in the cards, and in the description box below if you want to
check it out after this video. Now not every idea that you have will
necessarily be novel-length and that’s okay, but this is just another way to
hone those ideas into sort of what you’re looking for in what you want to
write next. Personally, I like to write novels, but if you’re someone who likes
to write short stories, or flash fiction, or any of those you can look at your
ideas a little differently. You may need only a thousand words or 30,000 words
for your story, while I like to write upwards of 80,000 words for my novels.
And each of the ideas may not stretch that long, so it’s definitely an
important question to ask. The next one is: what genre do I want
to write in? Now I may be a little different here but I like to write wide.
I don’t have a specific genre that I always want to write in it. It sort of
depends on a lot of factors. The next project that I’m going to hopefully be
working on is a young adult thriller that I have been thinking about. I
actually fast drafted it in 2017 and I’m completely revamping it so I know that
my next story is going to be a thriller. This may also be a really quick and easy
way for you to sift through all of your story ideas and pick the genre that you
want to write right now. Now once you’ve answered those questions
you may have one that story idea that’s just jumping off the page at you, and
that’s perfect! Good for you! You’re ready to move on and
write that story. But what if you’re not? What if you have two or three ideas that
are jumping out to you and you have no idea which to choose next? Now, we can dig
a little deeper. So in my process I don’t really like to get more than three ideas
at this point. It gets a little confusing, and I may need to go back to those other
questions and take one or two off my list.
So after I have two or three ideas ready to go, I like to write a short
one-page synopsis for each of the stories. Now try not to spend an eternity
on this part. The whole point is to sort of brain dump the story for yourself
onto the page, so you can actually see the story come to life a little bit. Now
this doesn’t necessarily have to be the perfect synopsis, because it’s not going
to an agent or an editor. I mean, it might if you’re really good at writing
synopsis, but this is more for you to get those thoughts about the story onto the
page. Now for this particular part, I’ll stick with more of the main story
for the one-page synopsis, but I do tell the entire story: the beginning, middle,
and end. To make sure I have all of the important bits in my mind ready to go
which I can expand upon later. I like to start with that inciting incident–
that spark that really brought the story into my mind–as a story I had to write.
Now I know a lot of people don’t like writing synopsis. I mean if you have an
eighty thousand word book it’s so hard to boil it down just a one-page, but my
focus is trying to figure out if there is enough of the story to tell, and if
it’s still compelling for me to write as it was when I first came up with the
idea. Now once you have this one-page synopsis for all of your ideas you
should have one story that sort of jumps out at you as the one you should tell
next. It really should leap off the page at you, but if not, I would enlist the
help of writer friends, or reader friends. Show that person or those people your
ideas. The one-page synopsis is especially important here because along
with honing in on the idea for yourself, asking someone to take time out of their
day to read dozens of pages, versus two or three, is a lot different. Ask them
which story they would want to read. Which one of these stories seems really
compelling to them, and see what they say. I find that friends who are voracious
readers, or also writers are able to see story a little differently and they may
have some insight that you may not see right away. And after all is said and
done, you should have one story that’s jumping out at you. My biggest thing with
this process is making sure this story is one that I am passionate about, and
that has enough staying power until the very end. You are going to spend a lot of
time with this book with the first draft, revising, editing, more editing, more
revising…You get the idea, so make sure it’s an idea that you are willing to
fight in the trenches for, whether you are going into the query trenches in the
traditional publishing path, or you are going to spend a lot of time indie
publishing this book, as you will be in charge of this book at every step of the
process. So I hope these tips give you some insight
to finding out what story you want to write next out of all the ideas in your
wonderful brain. If you have any questions about this method, be sure to
ask me in the comments below. And if you still feel intimidated about
the one-page synopsis, I’ve included a link in the description box below to an
article that I reference constantly when it comes to writing a one-page synopsis.
It’s from Publishing Crawl, and Susan Dennard wrote it a few years ago. And
it’s invaluable to me as a reference for basically every single book that I write.
So if you enjoyed this video, do give it a LIKE, hit that SUBSCRIBE button and a
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upload, and I’ll see you soon!