How to select a topic?

Question: How to select a topic? What are my first steps?

Answer: Inspiration can come from a huge variety of sources.

The first thing you should do is start paying attention to what interests you. What kind of books do you like? What types of theme, character, setting, or plot get you intrigued or excited? What issues in society matter to you?

Also ask yourself who you want to write for -- children, women, men, pet owners, etc.?

Start paying attention to the world around you. Story ideas are everywhere -- in the news, in your own life, in the lives of your friends and community, in history. When you read a book or watch a film, ask yourself what you could have done differently to make the story more interesting to you. What twist can you put on a cliched story idea?

Consider keeping a journal of your ideas and reflections on things.

What you are looking for is a idea that won't let go. One that nags at you and demands to be written. Don't worry if finding such an idea takes time. You only need one good idea a year to always have a novel to work on.

While you're waiting for such an idea to come along (and it will eventually), you can also "prime the pump" by playing story creating games.

Some examples...

Rory's Story Cubes...

The "Exquisite Corpse" game...

Magnetic Poetry

Some writers will also draw three random tarot cards, or runes, or I Ching hexagrams, or photographs from magazines, or household items, and use those as the basis for thinking up an original story idea.

You can play these games with friends, as long as no one gets too possessive about the ideas. Remember, it's not the ideas that have value, it's the finished manuscript.

Best of luck

Click here to post comments

Join in and submit your own question/topic! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Questions About Novel Writing.