Sunday, 2 February 2014

The Idea

All Writing Starts with an Idea. 

If you're very lucky, the idea strikes hard, in the middle of the night. And you wake and scribble down a story and bang, that's it, you're ready to go. Like me, when I had a dream of a girl, fighting in a forest. (You can read more about my dream, and what it led to here)

There might be a 'what-if' moment:
  • What if a whole planet is sentient? 
  • What if the world was just a computer programme? 
  • What if a necklace could destroy it's wearer's heart? 
Sometimes there's a feeling of 'tell-me-more'. Alexander McCall Smith developed Precious Ramotswe after meeting an extraordinary woman.

If you're short of material, idea generators are available on line or in writing magazines. Tumblr has a few, such as WriteWorld  and there are plenty of images on Pinterest

Your idea becomes the premise of your novel. It's the 5 minute plot summary, the elevator pitch.

You can do a lot with a premise; you can elaborate it into several paragraphs, into a short story, into a novel. Randy Ingermanson has an interesting technique called the Snowflake Method. I've played with this concept, and while I quite like it (see my post on Planning Your Novel) I haven't yet extended it from basic premise into full blown plan.

Just remember, that an intriguing idea is only that. You need characters and conflict to make a novel.  Also, you need patience.

Finally, some people advise to check there's a market for your idea before developing it into a novel.

Personally, I think: Markets are fickle. Write what you like.

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