I recently celebrated my one year anniversary as a published writer. I thought I would do a series of posts regarding writing your first book and the things I’ve learned along the way. Today’s post is about The Idea.
So, you think you want to write a book? You’ve got this great idea and you can’t convince anyone else to write it for you, so you’re going to have to write it yourself. Don’t laugh… invariably when I tell someone I am a writer, they start telling me about this great idea for a book they have. They end it with “You should write that book.”
Um, no. YOU should write that book. I have too many ideas as it is and can barely keep them straight.
But I digress… so you have your great idea. Step one… write it down. Yeah, seems like a simple thing doesn’t it? Do it. Open a Word doc or write it in a notebook, but write it down.
I have a pretty red notebook where I keep all my book ideas, characters, names I like, titles that intrigue me, and high level outlines. It’s all in one place and it’s portable. It’s old school, but that’s me. If you want to keep it on your iPad, rock on. Just write it down.
When you’re writing it down, boil the idea down to the THEME. What’s a theme? It’s the message of the book or the universal idea that runs through the entire story. For example, “Finding hope after tragedy”, “Circle of Life”, “Coming of Age”, “Love conquers All”.
Write your theme down, too. Why? Because when you are sitting at your computer, pulling your hair out, not sure what to write next, re-visiting your theme can really help you out. It gets you back to what your book is REALLY about. Perhaps, as the characters take over, the book got off track and now you’re stuck. Re-visit your theme and pull the car back on the road.
Good work! My next post will discuss characters. Building them, bringing them to life, and creating character arcs.
Thank you and Happy Wednesday!