Updated: Feb 25
How easy is it to come up with an idea for a book? A simple question with a non-simple answer. Honestly, it depends on who is being asked. There are varying levels of creativity, and people, that we call creatives. You don't have to necessarily be a "creative" in order to come up with a creative idea. With that said, put away the incense, green juice and vegan ice cream.
Some people are born with the gift, like Thor. And then some people use the faculties they have at hand to produce as if they had the gift all along, like Tony Starks. Is Tony Starks any less of an Avenger? The Thor type of person sees the story in everything. You could sneeze in their face and it would give them an idea for a scene in their novel/screenplay--something we'll come back to later in this post. The Tony Starks type sees creativity in a problem-solution kind of format. The problem being a necessary idea for something they want to create, i.e. a novel. The solution is to sit and think of it long enough until they come up with something. Or, to understand statistically what people fancy and piece together those preferences into an idea. Either way, whether the person is a Thor or Stark, something beautiful can be brought into the world for the reader/viewers enjoyment.
Change the way you look at story building. You do not need to come up with the entire premise for your story all at once. Think of the story as a house. However, when it comes to building this house it's alright to do things out of order. Starting with the foundation and building up is not always the best way. You may start with a door, a window, or even a brick and let that inspire the rest of your house design. What the hell am I talking about, you ask? All you need to come up with a story is one spark; one idea. It could be a scene from the middle of the story, or even just a character. And you use that to craft the missing pieces to the story until you have a completed concept. The minute you apply too many rules to your story it will be killed before it's even born.
Ask yourself this simple question: What matters to you? What really matters to you? Believe it or not, fiction usually has some point buried down in the story. Just because a story isn't preachy doesn't mean that it does not have a message or point. Hell, even G.I. Joe had a point. If you don't believe me then you need to check yourself because you willingly give up free time to read pointless shit and watch pointless shit.
In any event, once you figure out what matters to you, use that conviction as fuel. How can you create a story around this belief? Or how can you weave it seamlessly as a single thread into the overall fabric of the story? Have you ever heard of stories having religious undertones, like The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe? I don't think I ever realized that this was written from a Christian perspective, inspired by the story of Jesus until someone told me. It was just an enjoyable story, as it should be.
Be ready to say, "I do." You have to marry your story, in sickness and health, till death do you part. People do not believe this, but writing a story is emotionally draining. Think about this: You are experiencing everything your characters experience because you are your characters. The only place they exist as you put their trials on paper is in your mind. I can't tell you how many times I've had a heavy writing session that made me want to collapse on the floor. So, be sure that whatever this idea is, it is one that you can dedicate yourself to on a daily basis until it is complete. Oh don't forget the revisions that happen after you complete the first draft...
If you want to drill down further into this and actual actionable steps you can take, watch the video below!