• Delia Iaboni

How to get inspiration to write a novel

Go out and look for inspiration, don't wait for it to come to you. A story idea can be found in anything from your own story to something you've read in a history book, and there are endless stimuli out there. Look for the core of a premise in newspapers and magazines, in photographs and paintings, even in your own dreams. But don't sit back and wait for inspiration: you'll miss out on a lot of rich ideas.

Use the character as a starting point for story ideas. We all know interesting people, perhaps with terrible flaws or a backstory you can only guess at, and it doesn't take much work to put them in a fictional situation where their personality alone will create drama and tension. Then there are the people you see on the bus, working at the chip shop, standing around like your local MP... What do you think motivates them? What if they had a change in circumstances?

Carry a notebook with you at all times. It may sound strange in this digital age, but it's by far the most effective way to jot down ideas that pop into your head, snippets of conversations you overheard in the kitchen at work, quick sketches of characters you'll have forgotten five minutes later. .

Work on developing your ideas for the story. A flash of inspiration is just the beginning. Does your premise stand up to scrutiny once you've looked at it from all angles? Perhaps the idea would work better for a single scene in his novel instead of being the main theme? All the best writers have a lot of failed premises behind them and don't stick rigidly to a half-formed idea.

Read novels, constantly. Nothing stimulates the mind more than reading the work of other authors.

Do not forget that, in the idea stage, you are not limited by anything. There is absolutely no reason why your novel can't be set in the past, the future, an alternate universe, or your own dream hybrid of the three. There have been great novels about rabbits, seagulls, wizards, ghosts... The fictional world is your oyster. And you can even write from the point of view of an oyster if you want.

Don't dismiss an idea because you think it's dumb. A lot of great books have sprung from the most ridiculous premise.

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