Thinking about writing a novel? Perhaps you've had ideas floating around in your mind for a while , vying for attention and taking up your free time as you brainstorm all the possibilities. For a new writer or aspiring writer, it can be confusing to decide whether or not an idea is even worth pursuing. How do you know if it's a good idea? Will it be enough to make a whole book out of? These are the questions you've probably considered while you've been puzzling out whether or not to move forward and commit. If this sounds familiar, you may need a little help determining whether or not to pursue your new idea. Read on for five ways you can determine whether to turn your idea into a book or not.
Evaluate Your Enthusiasm
How inspired are you about your idea? Do you get butterflies when you think about it? Do you dream about it? Live and breathe it? If you can practically see the characters jumping off the page it's a good sign that you're emotionally where you need to be to write your book. If in comparison you feel neutral, mildly interested, or even dread moving forward with your idea then that's a good indicator that you either need more development time or you're not as passionate about an idea as you might want to be. Passion is the fuel that will drive you to stay motivated and disciplined while you write. Book writing is a long-term project with many challenges so if it doesn't feel like you're falling in love with your idea, then it's probably not the right idea to move forward with. If another idea is tempting you and giving you those butterflies it's better to pursue that one instead.
Look At The Big Picture
If the enthusiasm is there, the next step is to look at the big picture. How well do you understand your story? Are there pieces that are still missing like plotholes or worldbuilding? Do you know your story backwards and forwards? f you answered these questions with any level of uncertainty, it means you need to spend more time developing your story before you begin writing. Even if you're a pantser, you're going to need to at least figure out the basics: your setting, characters, your world, your generalized plot points before you're ready to write. This helps you keep track as you're writing and limits errors later on. If you've already been developing for a while and still feel lost it may be because there isn't enough of an idea there to continue on with. You'll have to decide if you can find inspiration for it in order to continue, or if your lack of imagination stems from an idea you're not serious enough about to write. Unsure of which it is? Step away from it for a few days and then try again. If you're still stuck, reevaluate whether or not it's worth it. If it's fighting you in the beginning, it will be twice as hard to drag it with you through the writing process. Another idea may be the better option if you have one that comes easier to mind and the page.
Consider Your Characters
The third thing to consider are your characters. Are they strong enough to tell the story you want to tell? Do they need more development? Can you actively put yourself clearly into their shoes and see their world from their eyes? Sometimes when we start writing a story we find we've run out of steam four or five chapters in, regardless of whether we've written our plotline down or not. The cause could be that your characters aren't dynamic enough to carry the plot you have in mind or it could be that you don't know your characters well enough to describe their perspective. To fix this, try writing a chapter over through another one of your character's perspectives. Did it flow easier? How did it change your story? By answering these questions you can decide once and for all whether your chosen main character is indeed the right one for your story. In this case, don't give up on your idea. Through trial and error you can find the proper way to tell it if you put in some elbow grease.
Do your Research
If you are planning to write in a genre that is new or unfamiliar to you, it stands to reason that without research, you could wind up stuck. If you've written a few chapters and find that you're missing pieces of information such as historical facts or time period details then the solution is to make a note of what you need and then to go and do your research. Without research you won't be able to write say, a historical romance or historical fiction. Or if you do muddle through, chances are it won't be very good. This can also apply to knowledge of a genre in general. If you typically write horror but want to try your hand at magical realism, you may not know how to proceed or handle certain elements of that type of storytelling. Understanding the genre you want to write in can help ensure you succeed in writing your story. Remember, knowledge is the sinew applied to the bare bones of your story. Without it, you may be tempted to abandon your draft. Don't! Instead, take the time to find the facts and learn what you need to do in order to tell your story the way it needs to be told.
Everyone Has What It Takes: A Writer's Guide to the End of Self-Doubt
An insightful guide for any writer who's ever wondered if they're talented, creative, lovable, or worthy enough. Spoiler alert: You are.
As hard as the craft of writing is, the greatest challenges writers face are often within ourselves. Comparison, self-doubt, isolation, and other internal struggles can derail a writer's progress, at any stage in the writing life. Author, essayist, and speaker William Kenower knows these struggles first-hand, and hears them from writers everywhere he teaches and appears. In this candid and encouraging book, he dismantles the myth that some writers have talent and others don't, and shares relatable stories, wisdom, and best practices for reengaging with our passion, following our curiosity, and staying connected to what matters most.
Think About Your Goals
Another reason you could be struggling is a lack of goals. If you haven't decided why you're writing, it could be holding you back. Are you writing for yourself? For a specific reader? Do you plan to publish or is this a hobby project? Knowing for whom and for what purpose can help you guide yourself through the writing journey. Depending on what you choose for your story it's going to alter your action plan which in turn changes how you write. If you're writing because it's a hobby then having a deadline isn't so important but if you plan to publish then a little more thinking and planning needs to go into the process overall. Planning to publish but not having a publishing plan in mind will make it harder to proceed. Unsure of why you're writing? Take a breather and really think on it. Whatever you choose, you can always change your mind so there's no pressure. It's just good to have a general plan so you know how best to approach your story.
Ask A Trusted Friend
Still undecided? Perhaps what you need is a second opinion. Sometimes as writers we lack the confidence we need to go forward. If you struggle with feeling like a "real" writer or you're uncertain about your talent for writing then asking a trusted friend to read over your work can help. When we feel insecure about our writing it can lead to not writing. Receiving feedback and encouragement can be the key to finally gaining the courage we need to write the story we've been dreaming about. A trusted friend can tell you if you're on the right track, can offer aid if you have specific questions, and can provide the emotional lift you need to keep going.
If you're thinking about writing a story but don't know where to begin- just start! There is no "right" or "wrong" way to write, rather it's a process of trial and errors. Finding the methods that work with your creative muse can take time but if you persist and persevere eventually you'll have a beautiful book in your hands.
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