We’ve all heard the advice—once you get done with the first book write another one. It’s great advice. After all once you’ve finished a story, gotten through the editing, and sold it there will be people who will want to see more from you. Agents look for authors who have more than one story in them. Give enough stories or a good enough story and people remember your name and will pick up your next book based on your name alone. So even before selling your first novel writing another one is a fantastic idea.
But what happens when you just can’t think of another one? What if things aren’t sparking in your brain and you don’t know where to turn to get that next killer idea?
People say there are ideas all around. At the grocery store. In the way a spouse or child says something. Books. Movies. But how are you supposed to take those ideas and turn them into something you can actually use?
Sure we’re writers, we’re creative, we let things percolate, but sometimes those fleeting ideas just aren’t good enough for a real story.
At least, they aren’t the way they are now. But what if you added to them? Transformed them into something that stunning?
Let’s take an idea of someone walking into a grocery store, grabbing an armful of candy bars and cutting in line to get out. Is this a story?
Yes, though not a very interesting one at the moment. Other than it making you frustrated and perhaps even angry with them, no one cares that person cut in line or why they’re buying candy bars.
But let’s take that person and put them outside the store and then let’s jump in their head. They drive up, running late for a meeting with children.
Still not that interesting.
But what if those children were refugees? Possibly from another planet? What if this was the first time they’d ever been on Earth and this person had to keep them quiet and happy so the rest of the world didn’t find out about them?
That moment in the store may never get put into a book, but it can certainly spark the idea for one. All you have to do is start asking hypothetical questions. Answer them. Think about them. When you get an answer ask more questions. The story will start to take shape, whether it’s Sci-fi, Fantasy, Contemporary, Romance, etc. Every person will come up with different answers to the questions and form a different story. Just don’t let yourself stop asking the questions.
It’s all about seeing things in a different way.
Talking about seeing things in a different way, here’s something a friend of mine came up with the other day. They took an ordinary pepper and turned it into . . .
Kermit the Frog
Oscar the Pepper
Teenage Mutant Ninja Pepper
Hope you enjoyed. I know I did.