How to Think Up Book Ideas

Photo credit: mathieuhervouet on Flickr
While for some writers book ideas pour endlessly out of the universe, for others coming up with an idea they want to write can be a little more complicated.

I fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum, closer to the "complicated" end. For me, book ideas are a little harder to come by than my friends who often have more than they know what to do with, but on the other hand it's been over a year since I've really struggled to think of a book idea. Which is fine—everyone works differently and has different writerly seasons and all that.

But for those who find it a little more challenging to come up with book ideas, this is for you.

  • Ask, "what do I want to write about?" I'm very much a list person, and my "what do I want to write about?" list is easily my favorite to work on. Right now my list includes lots of Latinx, chronically ill, and nonbinary characters largely because I want to read much more of those characters having adventures with leads me to...

  • Consider what books aren't out there enough that you want to read. This is actually what lead me to come up with the Beyond the Red trilogy. I wanted YA on another planet that included a POV of the natives from the world, plus all the things I love reading about—monarchy, fantasy politics, sci-fi tech, etc—and from there the story grew. I also love doing this because it pretty much guarantees you're going to love whatever you end up with. :)

  • Pay attention and ask questions. Sooo many stories start out of questions, and a great way to figure out which questions to ask is to pay attention to the world around you. Whether that means consuming art (movies, books, music, TV shows, games, etc.), keeping on top of current events, experiencing new things or places or something else, story ideas can come out of everyday experiences if we let them.

  • Consider what you loved about your favorites. Whether it's masterful world building, a certain type of character, a feeling you had while watching/reading, or something else, a great way to learn is to take note of what makes you love your favorites. Then, when you're ready to write your own, consider how to apply those lessons into your writing and sources of inspiration.

So those are a couple tips for coming up with book ideas—what would you add to the list?

Twitter-sized bite:
Struggle to come up with book ideas? Author @Ava_Jae shares 4 tips for brainstorming ideas. (Click to tweet)

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