Q is for Questions
I don’t know about you, but often, I have more than one story idea floating around in my head. How do we know which one to pursue?
Early on, I’d come up with a great idea and just write it; regardless of whether it would be a hard or impossible sell. Now I examine an idea to see if not only will I love it for the long haul but will it sell. (As much as we can determine that, which really, we can’t.)
What are my goals?
- Do I want to be traditionally published with dreams of hitting the bestseller list?
- Or am I okay with self publishing or not publishing at all? Or going through Lulu and just making copies for your friends and family?
- I’m going to assume that most writers reading my blog would like to be traditionally published and earn some kind of money for their work. No shame in that.
Will the idea be marketable?
- Is the idea overdone? (like vampires or angels) If it is, do I have a different take on it? Or maybe I should just ditch it.
- Do visual scenes come to mind when I think about this idea?
- Will it appeal to a large demographic?
- Will the character/idea provide enough external and internal conflict?
- Can I think of a main story conflict?
- Can I see a place for it in the market?
- Is it the kind of story I’d want to read?
Okay, so if the answer is yes to all or most of those questions keep going.
Can I make the story bigger?
- If I change the setting, would the story be more appealing? (For example, Across the Universe was a small town mystery but up in space.)
- What does my character want and want does he/she stand to lose?
- Is the internal conflict/theme primal? As in love, family, survival…etc.
- Can I make the stakes even higher?
- What are some possible midpoint twists or Act III reversals?
- Can I add murder? Betrayal? Lies? Ghosts? Family problems? Friend problems?
- Does my main character like a certain type of food that I could easily offer at the launch party?
Make lists. Don’t stop with your first idea. Make a list of 20 different ways the story can go. Make lists for all the questions above. Pick the one that sparks magic in your heart.
How do you determine which idea to invest in for the next year or so?