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Harry Potter, Alice in Wonderland, Jurassic Park. The list goes on and on of authors with a good story idea that went on to be best-sellers. But how do you get to that level?
Although it’s impossible to know what book will be on the best-sellers list next year, there are three things you can do to help you find and know if your idea’s worth pursuing. Let me explain. 👇
Three Ways to Come Up with a Good Story Idea:
If it was possible to know upfront that your story would sell millions of copies right away, more writers would play the lottery. Knowing what’s going to resonate with readers isn’t something you know when you first start writing a book.
Instead, all you have is an idea and a hunch that it’s going to make a great story. But how do you know if it’s worth pursuing?
1 – You’ve gone through a STACK of ideas.
Finding that award-winning, best-selling, good story idea is like looking for a book in the Library of Congress. Without knowing its title, you’re going to have to sift through A LOT of other books first.
This is why events, like Tara Lazar’s StoryStorm, are so popular with writers. No matter how new you are to the writing business, you need to be coming up with lots and lots of ideas.
Because out of those 30 or 50 ideas or so, you may find 2 or 3 that are worth pursuing. (And if you need help coming up with ideas, read this article.)
2 – Find a unique twist to an already popular concept.
This might feel like cheating. Or you might find yourself thinking that’s not the kind of book you had in mind — you want to create something “new”.
But the likelihood that you will write something that’s NEVER been done before that everyone loves is super slim. It’s just like the fashion industry, writers aren’t creating the wheel from scratch, they’re using proven formulas with fun, creative, and new twists.
Look at Lord of the Rings, Name of the Wind, Game of Thrones, even the newer, Witcher. They’re all essentially the same type of story, but none of them read the same.
And it’s not just fantasies! Even look at series by James Patterson, Daniel Silva, Steve Berry, and Tom Clancy. All of their books could be arguably the same story, but they’re so addictive and thrilling to read, you don’t want to put them down.
That’s how you need to write.
Find what’s already popular among your group of readers. What are their interests and what do they expect out of the genre? Then get creative and find your own unique angle that only YOU and YOUR voice can give them!
3 – Write a really great story.
Obviously, the story will ALWAYS win in the end. Even if you have the greatest idea for a story, if you can’t articulate that with solid writing, it’s not going to get anywhere past your computer.
This doesn’t mean you need a Master’s in Creative Writing or to be born a gifted writer. Writing is a skill that can be learned by anyone. It just takes a lot of practice and discipline to ensure that you learn the craft.
There you have it! Now, go off and brainstorm the next best-seller. Then let me know so I can bet on it. 😉
And if you want more advice, check out these other articles around the blog to help you:
- In need of a new idea? Here’s how to find them.
- How to Know if Your Story Idea is a Bad One
- The benefit of reading comp books and why you should.
- Understand what makes a comp book and why they’re important to know.