You're all in on this novel writing idea. You're going to do it--you're going to write your first book.
There's just one problem: What will you write about?
Over the past few years of my writing journey, I've chatted with so many people who desperately want to see their name on the cover of a novel, who want to achieve the ultimate goal of writing a book. However, many of these people never accomplish their goal. It's not because they don't want to, they don't have the drive, or they don't have the talent.
It's just that "the" idea hasn't struck them.
So how do you get around this? Unless you're J.K. Rowling who dreamed up Harry Potter on a train or Stephanie Meyer who had a dream about Edward, most of us can't just wait for inspiration to fall into our lap. We have to find it.
I've been fortunate that the idea train keeps on driving through my brain. Right now, I have more ideas for novels than I have time to write. This power for inspiration, however, only unlocked after novel one. Honestly, the more you write and the more confidence you gain, the more you realize that ideas are literally everywhere.
As a new writer, though, I know it doesn't feel that way. Below are my five tips for finding inspiration and ideas to get your novel started.
1. Ask yourself what you find intriguing.
A novel is a huge investment of time. From writing to editing to marketing, you have to be passionate about your subject matter. Ask yourself what you find intriguing or interesting in the world around you. For me, my first novel Voice of Innocence came to be because I was always fascinated with wrongful conviction.
Once you have your topic, try to think of a different angle on your topic. Many books had been written about wrongful conviction, but few focused on the loved one of a wrongfully convicted person. I saw the potential for romance from the idea. Try to think about your topic in a different way, and you just mind find an angle that will work for a new novel.
2. Look to your real life.
While many see real life as humdrum or tedious, there is actually a lot of story potential in the world around you. Keep a notebook with you and jot down ideas, events, people, or places you find interesting. Sometimes even a stranger on the street can inspire your thought process if you're paying attention.
Our own lives can also jump start ideas. One of my novels came to be when I ran into my husband's best friend from elementary school. Just like that, an idea for a new romance came to me. You must be open and willing to see inspiration in order for it to come. Be receptive, be open-minded, and be looking for it. You never know when it might strike.
3. Look to your favorite authors and books.
Let's be clear--I'm not suggesting you plagiarize. If you are going to invest your time in a novel, you want to make sure it is completely your own. However, reading in your genre can serve to inspire you. For me, it's about seeing what "holes" there are in the market.
What are the tendencies of the books in your genre? Can you break those tendencies and still be marketable? Who is being left out in your genre?
These are questions that can create idea possiblities.
4. Free write frequently.
Even now, after publishing five novels, the best inspiration I get is from free writing frequently. Putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboards is the best way to keep the creative juices flowing and the storytelling alive in your own mind.
Don't force yourself to write for a purpose. Let your mind wander. Sometimes, just the act of writing will create inspiration for a new story or book.
5. Give an idea time to breathe.
Found an idea you think might work?
Excellent. Now take the pressure off and give your idea time to generate itself more fully.
The way I know I've found an idea worthy of writing about is that it continues to haunt me weeks, months, even years after I've developed it.
If this is your first novel, obviously you don't want to wait years to start writing. However, give your idea some time. If in a few weeks, it still is something you're passionate about, pursue it. If not, giving it time to breathe may help you develop it and make it more complex.
Developing an idea you feel confident enough to write a novel about isn't an easy task. For some authors, the idea simply seems to fall from the sky, the heavens, or any other transcendent place. For some of us, though, it takes effort to scavenge for the novel-winning idea.
Be patient with yourself, keep your eyes open, and don't be afraid to grasp at straws for a while until you find "the" idea.
All I can tell you is that when you do find it, there will be no doubt that you've found "the" idea you're willing to put your heart out there for.
Enter to win a Then Comes Love Gift Basket! Just go to my Facebook page and like/share the post to enter! If you tag a friend in the comments, they'll also be entered to win an ebook copy of Then Comes Love!
The gift basket includes:
I'll pick a random winner on November 11th!
8 NORTH AMERICAN AUTHORS
8 FRIENDS-TO-LOVERS TALES
Amy K. McClung -Vanessa Morse - Gabbi Grey - S. Hartley
Dahlia Donovan - Lindsay Detwiler - Randi Perrin - Gen Ryan
Unintentional: North American Edition
Their eyes had met a thousand times, their smiles always easy and honest. All it takes is that one moment for everything to change. When their eyes are opened, no longer does "just friends" seem good enough.
All buy links
THE TUES-DATE - Vanessa Morse
Through the years, Adam and Tara have grown to depend on each other and share a love deeper than either is willing to admit. Roommates, best friends, unmistakable soulmates... until one day, one date everything changes.
WHERE SHE BELONGS- Lindsay Detwiler
When Emeline Jackson's life plans crumble, her best friend Brent helps her rediscover herself in their hometown. She didn't come home to find love, but a lot can change in a summer.
JUST WHAT I NEED - Randi Perrin
It started out innocent enough, one friend lending a shoulder for the other to cry on. But when Brad wakes up next to Jules the following morning, it stirs an awakening in him, and he’ll go to great lengths to prove she’s everything he needs.
CARESSA'S HOMECOMING - Gabbi Grey
When Caressa comes home from volunteering as a nurse in Africa, she knows she will reunite with her friend Michael. What she doesn't expect is just how much he missed her and how glad he is that she's finally home.
PATIENCE - S. Hartley
Patience is more than just a song to Madison—it's what her rocker best friend has given her for years. Finally ready to be more than friends, will Cale have any left give?
BENEFITS WITH FRIENDS - Amy K McClung
Zoey makes the ultimate request of her best friend Rex. Though she never imagined the impact it would have on their relationship.
ALWAYS AND FOREVER - Gen Ryan
Hadley and Todd have always been there for each other, especially through their countless dead-end relationships. Will they both finally accept they are destined to be each other's always and forever?
ALL LATHERED UP - Dahlia Donovan
Vi has known her best friend, Geoff, since childhood, though growing up meant being separated by distance and decisions. Neither realizes the impact exchanging postcards will have on their growing feelings. Could it be love?
Rafflecopter Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/ea80a6ed187/
The cover is here for To Say Goodbye! It's releasing September 24th with Hot Tree Publishing. Add it to your Goodreads list today.
Feisty Sophia never shies away from life. Playful, romantic, connected—her marriage was the thing of fairy tales. But when tragedy strikes, Sophia is left to pick up the pieces of her life.
After leaving the army, Jackson is ready to start afresh. But when he returns home, his life spirals out of control.As Sophia and Jackson find themselves in each other, they start to see redemption is possible.
Trying to piece together a new life, they must answer the question: Should they forge a life together and say goodbye to their pasts completely, or should they loyally go their separate ways to avoid heartache?
It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
"Life is a funny thing. We only get so many years to live it, so we have to do everything we can to make sure those years are as full as they can be."
It Ends With Us is the first book by Colleen Hoover I've read...and it won't be the last. She is truly an amazing storyteller, weaving masterful webs of emotions from words on a page. This book made me feel every single emotion known to humanity--I felt sorrow, love, anxiety, fear, anger, and happiness in the span of the pages.
I really can't tell you a lot about the plot without spoiling it. There are so many twists and turns in this book, which kept me flipping the pages. I love the main character, Lily. I really felt connected to her and loved the fact she wasn't a perfect character. She made flawed choices, which made me frustrated sometimes. But it also made me see her as a real human being. None of us are perfect, especially when it comes to love.
I loved details in Hoover's writing. She did an amazing job at tying everything together and creating some really beautiful symbols throughout the book.
This book is in some ways a love story, but it's also about so much more. It's about finding what you want in life, about moving on, and about figuring out the right answers in this crazy thing called life. Most of all, it's about making decisions that will affect you for life.
I loved the depth of this book, the beauty, and the raw emotion it stirred. Hoover did a beautiful job at portraying a side of major issues that few get a chance to understand.
View all my reviews
Author: Lindsay Detwiler
Title: Where Love Went
Series: Sequel to Then Comes Love
Release Date: August 13, 2016
Sometimes unexpected miracles can shift your life off course.
A year ago, Amelia, Annie, and Charlotte found second loves in unexpected places. Now, everyone’s life seems to have fallen into place… until a late night knock on Charlotte’s door shakes up everything.
Love rarely goes as planned…
Unexpected news leaves Amelia confused and worried. She loves Owen but is not sure what her future holds, especially with them living the tour life. As the months pass by and Amelia begins to question everything, she wonders if her relationship with Owen can truly last forever.
Sometimes a first love creeps back in…
While helping Amelia sort out her life, Annie finds new problems of her own. A visitor from her past threatens to overturn her relationship with Joe. Annie must make some difficult choices.
As the three women face new complexities in the sequel to Then Comes Love, they learn the fairy tale can fade, leaving you to question everything you thought you knew. However, family and friendship can sometimes be the link you need to find what you want.
On sale for 99 cents
Then Comes Love
An high school English teacher, an author, and a fan of anything pink and/or glittery, Lindsay's the English teacher cliché; she love cats, reading, Shakespeare, and Poe.
She currently lives in her hometown with her husband, Chad (her junior high sweetheart); their cats, Arya, Amelia, Alice, and Bob; and their Mastiff, Henry.
Lindsay's goal with her writing is to show the power of love and the beauty of life while also instilling a true sense of realism in her work. Some reviewers have noted that her books are not the “typical romance.” With her novels coming from a place of honesty, Lindsay examines the difficult questions, looks at the tough emotions, and paints the pictures that are sometimes difficult to look at. She wants her fiction to resonate with readers as realistic, poetic, and powerful. Lindsay wants women readers to be able to say, “I see myself in that novel.” She wants to speak to the modern woman’s experience while also bringing a twist of something new and exciting. Her aim is for readers to say, “That could happen,” or “I feel like the characters are real.” That’s how she knows she's done her job.
Lindsay's hope is that by becoming a published author, she can inspire some of her students and other aspiring writers to pursue their own passions. She wants them to see that any dream can be attained and publishing a novel isn’t out of the realm of possibility.
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Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
"To have endured all the horrors he did, to have seen the worst of humanity and have your life made unrecognizable by it, to come out of all that the honorable and good and brave person I knew him to be--that was magical."
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is probably best described by one word: peculiar. I mean that in the best sense of the word. Ransom Riggs' novel is stunning in its perfect melding of pictures and text into a creepy, memorable, oddly believable story.
Jacob's grandfather's death sparks an adventure that will forever change what he believes to be true. He's always heard stories from his grandfather about peculiar things...but when Jacob starts to research his grandfather's past, he begins to realize even the most unbelievable stories can turn out to be true. He also learns that what he believes is an ordinary life is anything but. As he begins to explore Miss Peregrine and her peculiar ward, he starts to question if he is made for something more.
I liked Ransom Riggs' interesting writing style. He has an eclectic mix of flowing and straightforward descriptions. The vocabulary, the analogies, and the dialogue worked seamlessly to truly create a new world. I loved how he also incorporated WWII into the book, making the book feel more believable. Riggs did a great job at suspending disbelief and really immersing the reader into a believable, logical, yet wonderfully peculiar place. Riggs also did a great job at building the imperfections of the seemingly perfect world created by Peregrine. I like the lack of perfection because it kept it interesting.
I also adored the incorporation of actual vintage photographs with the story. It is eerie how the pictures seem to have been made for the story. I found myself reading more than I planned because I wanted to get to the next picture every time I sat down with this book. It was innovative and something I've never seen in a book of this caliber.
I do think the first hundred pages of the book are a bit slow moving. It took me about a hundred pages to really get absorbed in the book. I understand there was some necessary background that needed to be told, but I wanted Jacob to meet the peculiar children earlier.
Riggs has a talent for storytelling that shines through in this novel. I definitely recommend this book because it opens your mind up to new possibilities while forcing you to explore the question: What does ordinary actually mean?
View all my reviews
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Anthology Contest + $5 AMAZON GIFT CARD
For a $5 Amazon gift card and an anthology of romances written by 16 authors including myself, read the excerpt below and answer this question: What magical power did the stone have? Send your reply by August 31st. to firstname.lastname@example.org. Only newsletter subscribers are eligible to win, and this contest is not sponsored by Mailchimp or Yahoo. The winner will be announced in the September 1st. newsletter.
Excerpt from The Seashell and the Stone by Debbie De Louise (c) 2016 Debbie De Louise
As Virginia and Stephen made their way toward the end of the boardwalk, the merry-go-round music that drifted along their path changed to a loud cacophony of whistles and horn blasts announcing “the greatest show on earth.” A man on stilts came hobbling toward them, his wide yellow polka-dotted pants flapping in the breeze off the ocean. “Good day, Ma’am. Good day, Sir,” he greeted them. “Right this way to the midway.” He chuckled at his use of words.
Up ahead, Virginia spotted the circus tents lined on the beach and the acrobatic high-wire strung high across two tall poles.
“I guess you need to find the person in charge to ask about selling here.”
Mr. Granger was scanning the crowd seated on folding chairs by the first tent where a magician was performing some tricks to the rapt audience. “Let’s look around first. Would you like to sit and watch the show?”
Virginia was pleased that he seemed more interested in her company than the business that brought him there. “No, but I would enjoy going there.” She pointed toward a tent that displayed the sign, “Madame Marie, Fortune Teller.”
“Are you serious? You know these carnival mystics are not worth the money.”
Virginia felt her anger flare again as it had when he had criticized her for feeding Seashell table scraps. “It’s my money to spend and that’s how I wish to spend it.” Her father had given her a $1 note as well as a few silver coins for carnival expenses.
“Very well.” Mr. Granger followed her reluctantly toward Madame Marie’s tent. The psychic sat behind a round table covered in red velvet. She wore a matching red kerchief in her long dark curly hair. Several rings graced her hands as she sat turning over tarot cards and gazing into a crystal ball. At their approach, she lay down the cards and beckoned them with a smile missing several teeth. Virginia could smell the lady’s foul breath, onions mixed with garlic. She lay down one of her coins, but the woman pushed it away. “For you, I will tell a fortune for free. Please have a seat.”
Mr. Granger stood waiting by the side of the tent as Virginia took the chair opposite Marie. “Why are you not charging me?”
Marie shuffled the cards and placed them face down in a pile. “Direct your energy on the cards and then choose one,” the woman instructed ignoring Virginia’s question.
Virginia followed her directions while Mr. Granger stood with a bored look on his face shuffling from foot to foot.
“Ah,” Marie said as she turned over the card Virginia picked to reveal a man and woman with an angel above them. “The Lovers. How appropriate.”
“Does it mean I’ll be wed soon?” Virginia asked.
“Yes, my dear. There is a special gentleman in your life or will be soon.” She placed the card at the bottom of the deck and tapped the glass ball in front of her. “If you’d like to know more or ask a question, it will be 1 greenback, please.”
“Wait one moment,” Mr. Granger interrupted. “You told the lady your predictions were free.”
The psychic smiled showing her missing teeth again. “The tarot reading is free. There’s a charge for the crystal ball.”
“I guess you have to make money somehow. Come on, Miss Vance, let us move on.”
“Wait.” Virginia did not like being ordered around, and she was curious as to what Madame Marie would see in her crystal ball. She had her fortune told at the circus last year but by a gypsy man. Marie seemed to be new to the troop. “I told you I’ll spend my money the way I wish.”
A fire flared in Mr. Granger’s blue eyes. “You mean your father’s money, but, go ahead. She will only tell you what you wish to hear and what she observes from your reactions. I am sure the Tarot card was planted too. Most young women are looking for love. You don’t have to be a psychic to know that.”
Virginia stood up. As much as she disliked his words, she knew he had a point. None of the predictions made for her last year proved to come true. “Thank you, Madame Marie, but I may return after seeing more of the circus.”
“As you wish.” Marie glared after Stephen as he walked away with Virginia.
“If you really want to know your future,” he said as they passed several more tents, “I have something that can help.”
“Whatever do you mean?”
“I was not exactly honest with you about my occupation.” Virginia felt excitement flood through her at the thought that Mr. Granger was about to share the information she sought without her having to resort to any of her tricks to pry it out of him.
“Let’s sit on a bench for a moment,” he suggested guiding her away from the crowd.
He seemed to hesitate briefly as if he regretted his haste in revealing what he was about to say. Then he reached into his trouser pocket and retrieved a translucent stone. For a second she thought it was a Cape May diamond, the crystals that resembled the real jewels that Cape May residents and visitors searched for along the beach. However, they had not spent any time on the sand, and he had just arrived in town.
“You may have wondered why I did not bring along my merchandise to show the circus leader.”
Her eyes were focused on the glittery stone. “I thought they were too heavy to carry on our walk.”
“I would’ve at least brought a sample.”
“But what is that you have in your hand?”
“This is the reason I’m here. I’ve been following carnivals and circuses along the East Coast to offer my services, and this stone is one of my tools.”
“Your services?” This was more intriguing than she expected. “What exactly are your services?”
He smiled and, unlike Madame Marie, exhibited perfect white teeth. “I’m a psychic. A genuine one, but I need the stone to aid me. It was passed down to me from my father who received it from his own father. I believe it was originally found by my great grandfather.”
Virginia was not convinced. “Are you saying that rock guides you in telling the future?”
His smile deepened, and she saw a dimple appear in his cheek. “I guess that’s a way of putting it. If I rub the rock and ask a question, the answer appears in my mind.”
By Sara Schoen
@SaraNSchoen @Limitlessbooks #RagingFire #GuardedSecretsSeries
Release Date: August 18, 2016
Book 4 of Guarded Secrets Series
Cover Artist: Cover Crush Designs
CIRA agent, Spit Fire, has a mysterious past...
No one knows what she went through before joining the agency, and that's how she wants to keep it. She survived and managed to walk away, or did she? Even after establishing a life at the agency there’s something she can’t let go of—the need for revenge. She fights to keep innocent lives safe, but in her world, safety is only an illusion.
Especially when Camden Cardoza reveals her worst nightmare has come true…
Her stepfather, now under the alias of Harley Sanchez, is the new leader of the Cardoza Cartel. Harley knows she’s an agent and he’ll be expecting an attack from CIRA, but he won’t expect her to come alone. Spit Fire isn’t willing to risk losing any more lives to the Cardoza Cartel. She’s determined to put an end to Harley once and for all. Not only to avenge those she’s lost, but also to give others a chance to live. After all, he ruined her life and now she’s hell bent on returning the favor.
Revenge and the need to protect the other members of CIRA has always been her first priority.
For Spit Fire, this is her life and her family.
Family…that was always the problem
His Confession is now available on KINDLE UNLIMITED! The Black Door Trilogy! By S.Valentine. His Confession is available on Kindle Unlimited! – A world of sex, secrets & seduction. #KU #Romance Need a new sexy romance series? Meet Darion Milano! Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2apXZfO Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2ar6K6p Her Confession OUT Aug 30th – A world of temptation, truths & ultimate tests. Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2aKBnWU Their Confession COMING SOON – A world of decisions, desires & deepest fears. *** His Confession blurb: When Gabriella Woods finds matches to a gentleman’s club in her fiancés pocket, her suspicion’s require a search for answers. At the club, she realises, it’s not her fiancé’s fidelity that can’t be trusted… It’s her own. The owner, Darion Milano comes into her life--daring, intriguing, and unpredictable. Unable to get him out of her head, against Darion’s explicit warning, Gabi begins a torrid affair. No longer fighting the urge to enter the depth of his dark and mysterious lifestyle, she indulges in his deepest desires. They became the most exciting, wild, infatuated couple everybody knew. Until his confession changes everything. Her heart is telling her to stay. Her instinct is telling her to run. She can never match his outrageous ex-wife, and become the fun fearless woman that he craves, or can she? Will jealousy intensify their passion, or destroy their relationship?
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