Preptober 2021 | How to brainstorm an idea for your book!

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I once read an article that said if you have to spend X amount of hours on a book, you should include the thinking time within that time. Obviously, there comes a point where you really do have to start writing or else there’s no point saying “I want to write a book,” but I think this is a worthwhile consideration. With my previous novel, I spent hours upon hours brainstorming and thinking and daydreaming without writing a single word – and my novel was definitely stronger for it.

Technically, therefore, I feel that NaNoWriMo has already begun. The moment you commit to writing that book, you are taking part in the event itself. From that very first brainstorm, whether its in the notes app of your phone, scribbled on the back of a napkin, or carefully inked into a brand new notebook, you have taken those first steps to be a writer.

But how do writers actually generate those ideas that make best sellers? Neil Gaiman has a very interesting blog post on this topic, and I agree with what he says: ideas come from questions.

The initial spark may come from a picture of a bridge or an article about a crime, or seeing someone walking their dog, but it’s down to you to blow gently on that idea, to get it beyond the initial smoulder to a full on fire.

What if?

“What if” sparks a thousand answers: and those answers are your story. Ask yourself: what if the woman walking her dog was actually an assassin? What if the dog was actually a robot? What if the leaves falling to the ground disappeared into a hologram? What if you saw that woman every day at the exact same time, always wearing a green jumper and yellow Wellington boots – and one day, she was wearing red?

Ideas really can come from anywhere, even just looking out your window – it is what you do with them that makes a story. The idea doesn’t come with a fully formed plot, I’m afraid – that’s the work that you have to put in, and that’s the difference between having an idea and being a writer.

I am so sorry I did not manage to get this blog post up for Friday – life got in the way! but hey, better late than never, and make sure you subscribe to my blog, because I’ve got another Preptober post coming Friday!

Until then,


NaNoWrimo 2021 - Facebook Banner - Design by Andrea Floren

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