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.

search this site the web
search engine by freefind

Celebrating our 2nd year as one of the...

 Step-by-Step Novel Planning Workbook

NEW! Make Money Writing Nonfiction Articles

"I've read more than fifty books on writing, writing novels, etc., but your website has the most useful and practical guidance. Now that I understand how a novel is structured, I will rewrite mine, confident that it will be a more interesting novel." - Lloyd Edwards

"Thanks to your "Create a Plot Outline in 8 Easy Steps," I was able to take a story that I simply just fooled around with and went willy nilly all over, into a clearly defined, intriguing battle where two characters fight to keep their relationship intact, and try to find a balance in control of themselves and their lives. Thanks to you, I'm not ashamed of the poor organization of my writing." - Nommanic Ragus

"I am so glad I found your site. It has helped me in so many ways, and has given me more confidence about myself and my work. Thank you for making this valuable resource, for me and my fellow writers. Perhaps you'll hear about me someday...I'll owe it to you." - Ruth, Milton, U.S.A.

"I never knew what to do with all the characters in my head, but since discovering Dramatica I am writing again in my spare time. Thank you for making this available. Yes, it is a bit complex, and it does take time, but I love it because it works." - Colin Shoeman

"I came across your website by chance. It is a plethora of knowledge, written in a simplistic way to help aspiring writers. I truly appreciate all of the information you have provided to help me successfully (relative term) write my novel. Thank you very much!" - Leo T. Rollins

"I can honestly say that this is the first website that is really helpful. You manage to answer complex questions in relatively short articles and with really intelligent answers. Thank you for taking the time to write these articles and sharing them so generously." - Chrystelle Nash

"...had no idea that a simple click would give me such a wealth of valuable information. The site not only offered extremely clear and helpful instructions but was a very enjoyable read as well. The education from your wonderful site has made me a better writer and your words have inspired me to get back to work on my novel. I wish to give you a heartfelt thanks for How to Write a Book Now, sir." -- Mike Chiero