Where Do You Get Your Book Ideas?
Posted On: 2015-05-13
by: Bill Platt
This is a topic of interest for both fiction and nonfiction writers.
After all, how many times have you sat down to write and found yourself staring at a blank screen for hours or days?
I will be honest, it has happened to me far too often, and I am a pro.
I have at times struggled to find writing ideas for both my nonfiction and the fiction I have assigned to ghost writers.
Back in the day when I did ghost writing as a profession, it happened much more often.
This should be important reading for you, because as a writer and publisher, none of us get paid until we put words on the page. And we never get paid more for the time we spend staring at a blank page.
The sooner we can find our writing topic, the sooner we can get our writing task completed, allowing us to start earning money on the current project and to move to the next project more quickly.
Nonfiction Article Writing
When I was writing nonfiction articles, it wasn't so much the topic that I was to cover that was the problem, but the angle through which I wanted to tell the story.
When I am writing nonfiction articles, my goal is to find a topic related to what I want to pitch in my author's resource box, but the topic in itself is not enough. I have to know the angle in which I am going to present the information, before I begin to write.
It is not the topic that is going to excite my readers. Instead, my topic will interest them, and my writing angle will excite my readers.
If I fail to excite my readers, I risk losing my readers before they reach the end of my article and my pitch in the author's resource box.
My goal as an article writer is to get you to read every single word I write and to get you to pay closer attention to the pitch in my author's resource box. Because no matter how many people start reading the article, what matters is how many people read the author's resource box at the end of the article and follow the link they find there. :)
Nonfiction Book Writing
I tend to treat my nonfiction books the same way. I don't want you to open my book and skip around reading different sections. I want you to read the entire book, and when you reach the end of the book, I want you to WANT to keep reading what I have written.
If I am successful in my quest, then when you reach the end of my book, you will keep reading through my "More About Me" chapters.
My hope and goal is that if you read the post-content chapters, you will find additional links to other products I have created. And if you are properly motivated to want to keep learning from me, you will follow links and look at other content I have created, and you will buy more of my books and products.
In my mind, a single nonfiction book is not one sale and one sale only. Instead, it is the first sale of hopefully many sales.
Choosing The Writing Angle
Again, the topic will only drive interest in what I have written, but it is the angle that will excite my readers.
The challenge when looking for a writing angle is taking a topic as mundane as home repair, search engine marketing, or writing books, and telling the story in such a way that the topic will become interesting to the reader.
Often times, it is the understanding of human psychology that will help you determine the best angle to use in your story.
More to the point, it is the benefit to be derived from the information that creates excitement in the mind of the reader.
If you can show people why they would want to read every word of what you have written, and you can create, build upon, and deliver an exciting read, then people could almost be in a state of euphoria when they reach the end of your story.
It is that euphoria that convinces people that they need to keep reading / buying more of what you have written.
The bottom line is that you need to be able to create an excitement in reading what you have written, then deliver a final product that leaves your reader satisfied that you have delivered what you have promised.
Fiction Is Only Slightly Different
Some people would argue that fiction is completely different than nonfiction.
Nonfiction is commonly perceived to be some type of teaching, and fiction is simply make-believe.
But, if you think back to your teachers in school, who were the ones who were able to keep your attention best?
Isn't it true that your best teachers had mastered the art of telling a mundane story in a completely interesting way?
The truth is that great fiction writers master the art of telling an interesting story, and the great nonfiction writers do exactly the same.
Those nonfiction writers who can frame their lessons into the structure of a story will attract more readers and achieve more success in the marketplace.
Fiction is no different. It is the writers who can tell the most interesting stories that will make the most money as a writer.
Overcoming Writer's Block
I have found one technique to be far superior than any other technique for overcoming writer's block, in the 15 years that I have been writing professionally.
This might seem odd to some of you, but it works every single time for me.
In order to overcome writer's block, my sure-fire method of breaking the log jam is to start reading.
Interestingly, I don't even have to read material similar to that which I am about to write, in order to be inspired by someone's words.
I remember one time I did that, which is still crystal clear in my mind. I was trying to find my angle to write an article about marketing products on Ebay. I was reading a story about a small town veterinarian, who was dealing with the unfortunate death of an animal at their location. How did one relate to the other? I have no idea, but when reading about the veterinarian, I realized what angle I would use to talk about selling on Ebay.
The human mind is funny that way.
It is not so much what you are reading that will help you; so long as you are reading something, inspiration will come.
When I am trying to find a story to assign to my fiction ghost writers, I achieve inspiration in much the same way. I go to Amazon to read a lot of book descriptions, or I find a long list of fiction writing prompts or story overviews.
After reading a few dozen story ideas, I am often inspired with a new story idea that in the end will bear little resemblance to what I have just read.
Inspiration on Demand
It is in recognition of how many writers have the same kinds of problems as I do that I create most of my books and products.
My mind tells me that there are two areas where most people have problems when brainstorming fiction story ideas.
Those two areas are:
* Basic Story Ideas within a specific genre;
* Story ideas that are strong enough to build a book series.
This is exactly why I have devoted so much time and money in the last year to develop these kinds of resources for my customers.
And perhaps, these types of resources will be as helpful for you as they have been for me.
The Bottom Line
It is helpful for a lot of writers, but not necessary for anyone to use the brainstorming resources I provide to my customers.
There are all kinds of resources available on the Internet that will help you find reading materials that will inspire your next book or books.
The next time you find yourself staring at a blank screen, head off to find some reading materials that might spark your creativity.
FaceBook and Reddit are both good resources, because people are always posting links to stories found elsewhere online.
Find something to read, and soon, you will find dozens of fiction story ideas and nonfiction writing angle ideas penetrating your subconscious.
Bill Platt has been providing training and services to professional writers since circa 2001.
For nonfiction writers, he has created a website (http://nfbullets.com/members/) where he provides hundreds of pages of organized research. With this information, you can in fact build a nonfiction book outline from any of the pages provided. There is also a lot of information provided that would be very useful to fiction writers, because it will let you find details that will make your fiction more interesting.
For fiction writers, he has two websites that will help with story ideas.
The first is (http://fictionplots.com/members/) which provides really detailed story plots written in a series format.
The second is (http://writinglovescenes.com/members/) which provides access to cut-paste-and-edit love scenes to help you write love scenes for your romance books.
If you are looking for basic story ideas that might inspire your creativity, he has just released his first in a series of Kindle books (soon to also be available in workbook format) called, Fiction Story Prompts: 52 Weeks of Story Ideas". This first book is for people searching for story ideas in the Fantasy / Paranormal genres.
If one of these resources looks like it might help you in your writing endeavors, click the links to learn more about those offers.