YA Writing

How to Sift those Book Ideas

Yes, we writers are adept at coming up with great story ideas. In fact, our imagination is inundated with them! But, of course, all of them cannot (and should not) translate into a final manuscript. So how do we narrow them down to something worthy of our labor?

Well, I don’t have a one-size-fits-all answer, but this is what I do. I run my ideas through a sieve as it were, based on five (5) crucial criteria:

  1. Is the idea scalable? By this I mean can I develop this into a story that has legs and can carry a full manuscript?
  2. Is the idea unique? Lots of book ideas are not necessarily epiphanies; some might be ‘been there done that’ when you check the shelves of your local bookstore or online retailer.
  3. What about this idea will grab the reader? This one is tricky since tastes change quickly, but the gist of it is will it be of interest to anyone?
  4. Will I stick with it? If I am not all that hot on the idea I am more likely to write 10k or so and walk away.
  5. Is the title catchy? This one is huge for me because I start all good book ideas with a title. If I can’t title it, I can’t write it. And the title must be catchy. Every time I read it out loud it needs to make me smile. If it doesn’t it’s history.

So, once you’ve answered these five questions you can sit down and start creating that next best seller (or at least a book you are sure to complete). Cheers!

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