8 tips to turn your ideas into a story, readers will love
So you have a brilliant idea for a book, but you don’t know what to do with it. How do you turn your ideas into a story? Will readers love it or hate it? How do you turn your idea into a book that sells like crazy? I have eight tips for you, whether your idea is fiction or nonfiction.
#1. Clarify your main idea:
Vague concepts don’t translate into great stories. Ask yourself a few questions before you start writing. What do you want the readers to get out of this book? Are you teaching them something? Are you entertaining them? Is there a moral to the story? Check out this post for more information on how to clarify your vision.
#2. Focus on character development:
Whether writing a fiction book or telling your life story, you must focus on character development. New fiction writers tend to make their characters perfect, and then there’s nothing to write. To build believable characters, you must show their flaws. Conflict and chaos make a good story. This concept also applies when you are writing your own life story.
Maybe you want the world to think you were perfect and handled the chaos correctly. I’m sorry, but no one will read that book except your mother. Everyone goes through turmoil. Trials and tribulations develop our character as human beings. So focus on character development whether you are writing fiction or nonfiction.
More info on character development here:
#3. Research what you don’t know:
For years, there’s been a saying that says write what you know. But, if you’ve lived a very sheltered life, you will have nothing to write. I say write what you know and research what you don’t. My first traditionally published book was set in Hawaii. I still haven’t been there, but I spent two years researching everything I could find about the place. When the book came out, I had some native Hawaiians ask me how long I had lived on the islands. It was funny. I’ve never stepped foot there, but that’s the kind of research you need. You don’t have to write what you know. You just have to research it.
#4. Tie story into current events:
If the moral of your story can be tied to a current event in the news, you will find the book will sell like wildfire. Major marketing gurus know that if they can link their products into local news stories, they will sell 100 times better. Maybe your story could tie into an event, a charity, or scientific research in the news. It doesn’t always have to tie into a negative event.
#5. Mind map like mad:
Recently I’ve written an article about mind mapping for authors. I use mind mapping techniques to study my characters and build a well-rounded individual. (I also use mind mapping for marketing my books.) You need to know your characters well enough to pick them out of a lineup if necessary.
This tip reminds me of a crazy story. My first book was set in Hawaii, and the main character was a native Hawaiian man who happened to be a bodybuilder. Years after that book was published, I walked through a theme park with my family, and I nearly flipped out. The very man I wrote and created in my head was walking towards us! I swear it flipped me out.
That’s how well you want to know your characters before writing about them.
More info on Mind Mapping for Authors here:
#6. Write right now!
Stop procrastinating and write the book already! I had one person sign up for my author’s coaching course, and she found all of the assignments in the year-long course kept her from writing. She was surprised when I told her to stop the course and just write. You see, anything can become a distraction if you let it. This author writes profusely but never has been published. Why? After procrastinating over the homework assignments, now she can’t stop editing her work. She’s traded one distraction for another. So while she is an excellent writer, she’s never been published.
While you need to research, mind map, and focus on character development. You must stop at some point and actually scribble things on paper
More information on overcoming procrastination:
#7. Start with chaos:
I took a marketing seminar recently, and they said we have three seconds to stop the scroll on Facebook’s news feed. Wow! How do you attract the person’s attention in 3 seconds?
You might think that is just Facebook, but you have 15 seconds to hook the reader before they close the book if they were holding it in their hands and standing in the local bookstore.
Start your book with conflict that will hook the reader emotionally. If you can tug at their heart enough, they will stick with you.
#8. Research the a-listers:
Research the top authors in your genre and see what topics they cover. This research will give you hot topic ideas. It will also show you what people want. Most of the a-listers have bigwig marketers on their teams. They know what trends are popular and what people want to read. Instead of hiring your own marketing guru, just research the a-listers. They’ll give you a clue.
I hope these tips have helped you take your idea out of your head and put it on paper. Don’t let the idea of writing a book overwhelm you. Writing a book isn’t as hard as you think with all of our modern tools. In fact, it has never been easier to write a book and get it published.
If you would like help with your book, check out my author coaching courses. I also have some one-on-one coaching options available through Patreon.
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