As you can see from the title, this blog is about how to generate your book ideas because sometimes, we all know what it’s like, you can get into a bit of a slump, or this could be your first book and you really want to make a good go of it but you just don’t know where to start.
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One idea is to look into your local news. I got this idea from Peter James. He is a best-selling thriller writer. I feel very lucky that he follows me on Twitter, and I asked him, because he’s so prolific. This was his top tip for how to come up with book ideas: to look into your local news.
When I did, I could see what he meant, because obviously you can look at national news and you can come up with story ideas from that, but there’s something about local news. It can be storylines that might not make it into the national news, but you can put really good twists on them. So, buy a local newspaper and think of the backstory that was involved in a particular story that caught your eye.
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Travel. This is one of my favorites because I love traveling, and I always find that wherever I travel I always seem to come up with really creative ideas, and that could be going abroad, or in the same country. It’s just when you go somewhere that you haven’t been before, your creative brain just comes up with different scenarios. And if I see a spooky house or think of something, I think, “I wonder what happened here?” Or if I know the story of something, I think to myself, “What twist could I put on it?”
Could it be a paranormal element? Could it be a time travel element? Could it be a romance element? So when you’re next traveling, or even just book a trip in order to come up with some book ideas, just start looking at the world a little bit differently. Look at it as if to say, “Okay, what vibe does this give me? What twists could I put on it with this? What would happen here? What would be a really, compelling storyline?”
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Read books that are basically designed to help you generate book ideas.
Now, I will link some in that I’ve used myself or that I recommend, but some of these, if you look through them, you’ll end up just coming up with so many ideas. And if you literally do all of these ideas together, there’s absolutely no doubt in my mind that you’re going to come up with loads and loads of storylines. And then in future blogs, I’m going to show you how to develop a book idea into a fully blown novel, so don’t worry too much if at this stage you come up with a book idea, you’re not sure how to develop it.
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Add a spin to a story you already know. Say something like the Titanic. What if it didn’t sink? What if Jack didn’t die? What if in Saving Private Ryan, they couldn’t find the surviving brother? You get the idea. Start adding “what ifs.” What if the main thing didn’t happen? Obviously make it so it’s nowhere near the original story, because you don’t want to get sued! It’s just to give you a bit of a framework. We’re not worried about editing at this stage. This is just the creative stage.
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Have a look in your phone, if you’ve been out for the day or just if you were feeling particularly creative, and think to yourself when you look at the photo, what kind of vibe does it give you? When you add a filter to it, like a black and white one, does it make it a bit more spooky? If you took a picture of some flowers, who could the flowers be from, if it was to be a fictional story? If you had taken a picture of a nice view and there was a ship in the background or a boat, who could be on that boat? Who could they be visiting? Are they missing or anything like that? So just look in your phone, holiday pictures or pictures around the town. Let me know what you come up with!
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