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How to tell when you have a good idea for a story

In her short ebook, “2K to 10K: Writing Faster, Writing Better and Writing More of What You Love,” author Rachel Aaron shares tips on how she went from writing two thousand words per writing session to ten thousand. For more details, see Carly’s earlier post.

In Aaron’s chapter “How I Plot a Novel in 5 Easy Steps,” she says that Step 0 is deciding whether the idea you have for your story or novel is the idea that you really want to spend your time on. How do you know if it is?

1.  You can’t stop thinking about it. You’re doing the dishes or some other menial chore and you find yourself totally lost in your thoughts about your story. Or, you’re at work and can’t seem to focus because your antagonist is whispering in your ear about his evil plans for your main character.

2.  Your characters are beginning to speak on their own. I’ve been focused more on my business this year and distracted by some family emergencies, but I can tell I’m ready to focus on my novel again because my characters are becoming impatient with me. On a recent business trip, my protagonist practically shouted at me to TELL HER STORY and then she whispered, “Oh, by the way, I’m a Gemini, not a Leo!”

3.  You can see your book as complete. You can imagine the front and back covers. You can see it thrilling your readers and flying off the shelves. You see it as finished.

4.  You can easily explain to others why they would want to read your story. You’re excited about it and can’t wait to share that excitement with others.

In fact, one of the most important tenants in knowing whether or not you have a good story is that you MUST HAVE FUN. If you’re not having fun creating and playing in the world of your story, then go back to Step 0 to see if this is the story you really should be writing. 

Aaron says that once she’s met the above criteria, she knows she’s ready to commit to writing and finishing the story.

To learn about her five steps to creating a plot, read her e-book–it’s a quick, helpful read and costs less than a dollar.

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