The pressure of being a professional writer. No, I cannot relate to that, for I am still on the quest to be published. However, I can relate to the pressure of thinking up a novel idea that will lead to becoming a professional author. I mean, doesn’t it seem like all the other ideas are taken? Kids in a survival game. Check. Paranormal romance. Check (And too many of them, I might add). Dragons. Check.
The list seems to go on and on. So after you check the endless lists of books on Goodreads, you feel even more depressed. How will you be the next J.K. Rowling? Christopher Paolini? Suzanne Collins?
Here’s the truth: you won’t be anyone like the people I listed above.
Your story won’t be like Christopher Paolini’s Inheritance Cycle or like Tom Sawyer’s adventures.
Your story will be like… Well, your story.
The question is this: how will you discover this magical, perfect, and unique idea? Stay inspired. How, you ask?
First of all, do not copy authors. I used to do it and am still guilty of it. Now, I’m not saying to not use some of their writing techniques and to not take inspiration from them. I am just saying that to be “the next big thing,” you must have something that has not been done before. All major authors took something that had never been done before and made it brilliant.
Secondly, you must stay positive. Just because it seems as if all the ideas are taken does not mean that it is true. What inspires you? People? Animals? Sports? Pick a topic and expand on it.
For some, a character is the start of an idea. When listening to a Betty and the Jets cover song, I was hit with the inspiration of a new character. I sketched her and stored her away for when I needed a new idea.
For others, the plot comes first and the character second. Perhaps your watch a movie about a historic war and think, What if something different happened?
For me, this is my method:
I often read a book, watch a movie, or listen to a song that inspires me. For The Queen’s Messenger, the plot came first. I was actually working on a totally separate idea. It was about gryphons and a survival game. Oops, I was creating another Hunger Games. So, I took the main character and totally changed the story. For The Reformation Trilogy, I had just read The Inheritance Cycle and The Hunger Games Trilogy. I was on a futuristic, fantasy kick. I saw metallic dragons that were made by riders. Again, I found myself copying Christopher Paolini’s masterpiece. So, I took a golden dragon and came up with Anastasia Knight, Felix Ivanov, and the idea of inventors.
Ideas often come from something. Rarely have I sat on my bed and just thought up a totally unique, spontaneous idea that has never been done before. My advice is this: take what you love most about a book, movie, song, place, or event and make it your own. Don’t try to do what someone has already done. You are you, and you have your own story. So go write, and never stop writing. You fail, try again. Perfect your stories until you are ready. Then, try make your writing debut. The world will love your story, because it will be yours.
Please, comment and let me know where you get your inspiration! Together, we can find the key to being published.
Until next time,