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How do you know your story idea is THE ONE?

Since you’re reading a blog about writing fiction, I bet you’ve been blessed with more story ideas than you know what to do with. Or perhaps you have ONE big story idea that you can’t stop thinking about. Possibly both! But how do you know what is the right story idea for you?


Regardless of what non-writerly people might think, a lack of ideas is generally not a problem. There’s so much more that goes into writing a memorable book. Even the greatest idea can get lost in bad writing and lack of direction, which is why not everyone who has an amazing story idea is writing bestselling novels.

When you start writing a book, you really should commit to your story idea and to your premise. These questions will help you choose the idea that’ll keep you writing until the very last page.

Related reading: Where to get story ideasAll vibes and no plot

Does your story idea get you excited about writing?

Sometimes we start working on story ideas that don’t really vibe with us because we think we “should be” writing something different. Maybe we want to be taken seriously as a writer or maybe we somehow believe that certain kinds of stories just aren’t for us.

Your readers are going to notice if you don’t love your story, and they’re not going to love it either. More importantly, you might not even get your story to the finish line if you’re not excited about writing it. I get it, some parts of the writing process are less exciting than others, but overall you should be so in love with your story. Otherwise, you might not ever finish it.

Does your idea feel authentic to you?

Sometimes we have to write things that aren’t really us, often for work or school. Believe me, I know, I’ve written content for online casino sites. But when you start writing a book, it should feel right. It should feel like you.

I’m not at all saying that there’s one genre for everyone, by the way. You don’t have to stick to just one thing to be authentic, and I believe anyone can write in any genre if they want. But whatever path you choose, make sure that you speak with your voice and you don’t leave out integral parts just to fit into someone else’s narrative. (That’s a life tip right there, not just a writing tip.)

Why should anyone care about your story?

Would anyone care about the story you're writing?

This might sound harsh, especially after what I just told you about following your own path. However, if you want to share your writing with the world, your reader needs to care what happens in your story.

Why do we care whether or not Voldemort wins? Because we’re made to care about Harry and because we’ve seen how Deatheaters treat anyone who isn’t like them. (Who knew that J.K. Rowling would turn out to be more like a Deatheater herself, yuck.) Why do we care what happens to Katniss in the Hunger Games? Because we’ve already seen the sacrifice she made for her sister and we’re rooting for her before the games even begin. (Related reading: Beginning your story the right way)

The “So What?” factor might not be obvious to you as soon as you get your idea, but it needs to come to you during the brainstorming phase and no later than that. Writing about the day in someone’s life might be interesting, but it’s not a real story if we don’t care what happens in the end.

Do you have a unique take on your story idea?

It is said that there are no new story ideas left, and while that might sound depressing, it’s actually not a bad thing. Many readers gravitate towards certain kinds of stories, and if you can tap into that, it’ll be so much easier to find people who can’t wait to read your book.

The important thing here is this: do you have a unique approach? A unique point of view? If you write authentically and from your heart – perhaps easier said than done sometimes – you most definitely do. So don’t worry about finding a unique idea that no one else has ever used, just focus on telling the story in your own way with your own voice. (Related reading: Conflict ideas for storiesStory ideas for different genres)

Choose your story idea and stick with it

Now you know what makes a killer story idea and you can start vetting your ideas for the one you actually want to start working on.

If you still end up with multiple ideas, you could start loosely outlining them and see which one you’d like to continue writing. You’ll likely find out that you’re a little more excited about one of your ideas than the others.

And if you’re STILL struggling with choosing after doing that, why not ask your friends or social media followers what they would like to read about? Post a poll on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter and see what others are excited to read about.

What if you still don’t know what to write about?

This post assumes you have more than one story idea to choose from, but what if you simply don’t have any ideas? Or what if none of your ideas actually excite you?

Luckily for you, I created a workbook that helps you mine for your best story ideas. Even if you think you’ve got zero imagination, I WILL help you find those golden nuggets of inspiration from inside yourself. Hundreds of writers have already used this workbook and now it’s your turn.


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