Four Ways to Come Up with An Interesting Novel Idea

So, you have an overwhelming urge to write a novel, but you cannot seem to come up with an interesting novel idea. This is one of the most frustrating feelings – not only for novice writers but also the more seasoned writers. 

Here is what you can do about it.

Pursue the Right Idea the Right Way

There are some practical things you can do to find the right idea – even the tiniest idea. So, to get an idea, you will want to start the right way, which includes not sitting in front of a white page and waiting for some ideas to enter your mind.

The little blinking cursor, if you are on your desktop, and the white page will do you no good. You will want to literally and figuratively step away from the white page and change your surroundings. Ideally, you will want to take yourself somewhere where it is quieter and where you can sit and think for a while. 

Here is the thing – sometimes, when you are hyper-focused on coming up with an idea to the point where you are heavily thinking about writing, you can actually subconsciously block any new idea from coming in. The underlying reason is that, at this point, your mind is already occupied with a billion different things, so even when a new idea wants to shine through, it simply cannot. 

Think of it in the following terms: you are too tired to sleep where you are ready to fall asleep at any time, but you simply cannot bring yourself to do so. So, instead of getting all worked up about the idea, you will want to get yourself in comfortable surroundings and let the idea get through your mind.

Let Your Shower Thoughts do the Magic 

We all have had shower thoughts, which are the thoughts that occur to us when we are showering and we get an epiphany or extreme clarity on complicated questions. The primary reason why shower thoughts are crystal clear is that your mind doesn’t have to overly concentrate on taking a shower, as it is an automatic action that you can do on autopilot.

So, when you do certain things, such as showering and other chores, such as cleaning, cooking, and laundry, your brain is essentially free to multitask and roam around on its own, which is also when it is at its highest creative level. 

You will want to leverage that kind of mental bandwidth, as this is the ideal space that you need to enable a good idea to come through. Who knows, you might be shampooing your hair, and suddenly, you have an epiphany about an amazing horror story that you would like to share with your audience.

Speaking of horror stories, after you have completed your first draft, you might want to get one of the best horror editors on board before you start pitching literary agents. The underlying reason is that the job of editors is to ensure that your manuscript is free of errors. The editors will also fact-check the plot and highlight grammatical errors. Typically, your book might have to be edited a few times before being sent out to the final proofreader.

After it has passed through all the mandatory checkpoints, your book will be in the best position to be sent out to a literary agent with an outstanding query letter so you can land a great book deal, which is the ultimate dream of every aspiring author. 

Stop Chasing Butterflies

Before we proceed to the next tip, you should know that writing is subjective. This means that there is no right or wrong way to write. One method might work for you, but not your friend or neighbor. The next tip that might help you come up with great novel ideas is to stop chasing ideas and allow the right idea to come to you.

You might think of it in terms of catching butterflies. Imagine a scenario where you are running with a net after a bunch of butterflies, trying to catch one. Of course, you will be the one who will get all worked up and still not catch a butterfly. However, what would happen if you were to stop running after the butterflies and sit until a butterfly comes in your direction and sits on your shoulder. 

If you feverishly chase an idea, it will only get away from you; meanwhile, it will also knock a bunch of other potential ideas down at the same time. 

Read and Think 

When it comes to a practical approach, when you have no ideas whatsoever to the point of becoming overly frustrated, you will want to get comfortable in a reading chair, get some quiet time, and read for as long as you can.

Ideally, you will want to read a book that sparks your creativity or is related to your genre. You might as well read something that you love—a book that has always been a great source of inspiration for you. There is no pressure, so you will really want to take your time and read and think about the content of the book.

Once you have completed what you are reading, close the book and sit for a while, allowing yourself to soak in all the information and your feelings about the book. Sit for half an hour and even one hour to give your brain some time. Don’t rush into picking up your phone and checking your social media, as this is definitely not going to help you. 

The practice is to sit and let your mind wander and let yourself be surprised about what comes to you. Now, even if your mind doesn’t come up with anything, you might want to think of this as just another occasion where you spend quality time reading what makes you happy.

Nonetheless, you will want to perform this practice regularly as this is essentially a healthy exercise for any writer you will be engaging with reading and thinking about writing instead of sitting down and staring at a blank page.

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