You may not be surprised to learn that the first step toward writing a novel is coming up with an idea or concept for your novel. Shocker! But hold on, this is actually more difficult than you think.
When developing your story idea there are a few simple questions you should be asking yourself. First, what makes your story unique?
There’s a common saying that goes something along the lines of, there is no original story. This is true. Your story is going to include tropes and themes that have been covered many many times. So, what makes your particular story unique? There are thousands of stories about vampires, but how is your vampire story different than the many vampire stories out there? Stephanie Meyer, the author of the Twilight Saga, took this very overdone trope and made it her own by modernizing her vampires and making them shimmer in the sunlight instead of being burned by it. She utilized the trope by keeping the idea of a vampire falling in love with a mortal girl as well as other known elements of mythology like the drinking of blood, immortality and mind reading. Think about it.
Second, what is the central theme or moral of your story? Many stories lack this element, but I’m a firm believer that in order to write a good story it needs to be there. This may not be something that has to be decided right out the gate but definitely something to keep in the back of your mind as you write your first draft. What are you trying to say? What is the takeaway for your reader?
Finally, is your story marketable? We writers love to get carried away with our day dreams of epic tales and swash buckling heroes and seem to forget that the publishing industry is a business. Make sure that you choose a genre, that you understand the confines of your genre and that your story fits that genre. You can achieve this by reading. Reading is essential. Know your genre, if you do not the likelihood of your book being published is slim to none. Agents and Editors need to be able to sell your book to the publishing house and if it does not fit in their genre guidelines they cannot sell it. Pay attention to this.
What else do you feel is important to consider when coming up with your book idea? Was any of the above something that you hadn’t thought about before? Let me know by commenting below and until next time here’s an inspirational quote to get you through!
“Borges said there are only four stories to tell: a love story between two people, a love story between three people, the struggle for power and the voyage. All of us writers rewrite these same stories ad infinitum.” Paulo Coelho