What to Write Next

So you’ve come to the end of your book and are staring at the blank computer screen, wondering what to write next. It’s a difficult choice. Should you stick with what you have a natural talent for, or should you veer off on to new territory?

If it is too overwhelming to consider writing a new story or you have no ideas to draw from, consider a writing prompt. It might help. Or, take a look at your favorite novel booksand try mirroring it for a bit. Change the characters, the setting and soon your creative juices will start running and voilà you’ve got a brand new story on your hands.

If you choose the wrong scenario, you could end up wasting time and getting frustrated with your efforts. Depression and drinking will set in – not a good combination.

Factors that can help you to decide what story idea to pursue next:

Is Your Premise Strong?

If your premise is weak, you won’t get far. The same holds true for a great premise which leads nowhere. You want characters that don’t just populate the novel, but enhance it and bring it life.

  • What are they looking for?
  • Who’s against them?
  • What type of life are they living?

Love the Whole, Not Just Parts

So you have a great character, or a terrific premise. It’s not enough if the reason they’re doing what they’re doing does not make enough sense or is not juicy enough to carry you through 80,000 words. Your story must have the depth, emotion and high stakes to carry the novel to its logical end. You may love the interaction between your two main characters and with others, but unless you can give them problems to sink their teeth into, it will not be interesting enough.

Will you get bored with them halfway through?

Blow Your Mind

downloadIs this story clawing to get out? Do the first words flow out of you with a mind of their own? If you are struggling to see them clearly, you have a problem. If they jump out fully formed like Athena did from Zeus’ forehead – chances are you have a winner. If you just feel lukewarm and have no passion for the story, look for something that will drive you to staying up late and just getting all those thoughts down as quick as you can.

Vibrant Characters

Do your characters have vim and vigor? Are they unique, memorable? Will the reader understand them and/or care? Do they have major stakes in the game? Who else will be affected?

Does the Story Feel Right?

Sometimes we get so attached to a story idea, we feel we must go with it. After all, we’ve invested time in thinking about plot, characters and the obstacles they must overcome But, listen to your inner self. If your instincts tell you this is not the right book for you, go with it. Choose another story idea that has more meat on it, or to which you more suited.


2016 Spring Writing Classes for Beginners and Advanced

Creative Writing 101 – Tues. afternoons April 12 – June 28 in Oakville

Crafting Your Novel – Wed. afternoons April 13 – June 29 in Oakville

Crafting Your Novel – Thurs. afternoons April 14 – June 30 in Oakville

For more details click on the links or email beverleyburgessbell@gmail.com


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