The Art of Choosing Your Next Story Idea

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Got a sure-fire best-selling story idea in your head? Great. Start writing!

Got fifteen or twenty sure-fire best-selling story ideas in your head? Not so great. At least until you determine which idea to use. And therein lies the challenge – picking one idea from the many promising ones.

This decision can quickly turn into a quagmire of wasted time and worry – but it doesn’t have to with a little soul searching on your part. Consider the following information when choosing the best story idea for your next project.

Intent of Book

Define the purpose you want your next book to fulfill to determine which story ideas can provide the most creative fulfillment. Do you want it to be your publishing debut or to fill a specific place in your publishing plan? Or does this future project have another purpose?

Most Important Idea

Identify ideas you are most passionate about. Your passion is critical to maintaining the interest and energy required to complete a final draft. The passion you inject into a story will show and carry over to the reader.

Most Original Idea

There’s nothing new under the sun. This adage is true for ideas as well. But you may have an original take on a common theme or topic that makes the idea unique. Explore what you have to offer in terms of perspective, experience, and knowledge to make an age-old idea shine like new again. 

Most Developed Idea

Ideas are like fine wine, some mature rather quickly, and some require additional fermentation. Select ideas that are fleshed out in terms of conflict and setting and characters to easily steamroll into a first draft.

Idea With Most Conflict and Highest Stakes

Consider ideas with strong conflict to drive plot and build tension as well as high stakes with emotional impact for a solid story. 

Idea With Strongest Hook

Sometimes all that is needed to hook a reader is a single sentence that sparks their interest. If you have an idea that grabs a reader in fifteen to twenty words, less work may be needed to flesh a powerful premise into a compelling draft. 

Idea With Most Interesting Characters

Explore ideas with unforgettable characters that drive the story in an engaging and compelling manner.

Ideas That Best Support Brand

Gravitate toward ideas in the same genre to build your brand. Writing for a new genre in effect puts you in the same boat as a “new author,” as existing readers may not follow you across genres. Sticking with ideas that draw from the same readership pool makes you and your books more marketable. 

Ideas With Most Marketable Potential

While the market should not determine your every step as a writer, having a good understanding of where the market is and where it is going is a good way to determine your next story. Unless you have some fresh twist or perspective to offer, avoid ideas that have been done to death. Beating a dead horse is painful for both horse and reader.

Ultimately, there is no right or wrong way to choose your next book idea. Go with what feels right and trust that your work will pay off in the end.

Do you have a topic you would like us to cover? Let us know about your suggestion. 


About Author

IDABEL ALLEN is the author of Headshots, Cursed! My Devastatingly Brilliant Campaign to Save the Chigg and Rooted: A Washed in the Blood Tale. When not burrowing in the written word, Idabel is generally up to no good with her family, dogs, and herd of antagonistic cows.

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