Do you want to write a novel but have no idea what to write about? Not to worry, you are not alone. Look no further. You don't have to leave the comfort of your home, the answer is in your bookshelf.
It's All About You
Write the book you want to read. This is a natural fit. Writers are avid readers and our bookshelves are brimming with treasures that transport us into our imagination. In the era of decluttering, I'm willing to bet those shelves are now home to only your favourites; this reveals EVERYTHING about the type of book you can write.
What's on your bookshelf?
OK...now it's time for you to walk over to your bookshelf and have a peak at the genre(s) that fill those shelves. The rows of books gracing my shelves dip in the mystery genre. I adore the "Queen of Crime" Agatha Christie, Alan Bradly's Flavia De Luce, the precocious 11-year-old sleuth from Bishop Lacey and Canada's Louise Penny's Chief Inspector Gamache who lives in the fictional village of Three Pines. (Can I just say, I'd love to live here and eat buttery croissants and drink steamy cups of cafe au lait at the local bistro).
My shelves are also stuffed with fiction novels set in exotic settings such as...
What are your interests? Make a list. Travel, history, human rights, yoga, cooking are a few of mine. As you can see from the previous section, these interests show up in the type of books I read. i.e. I love to travel therefore, most of my books take place on foreign soil. I also have a BA in History and many of my books are historical fiction. Do you see a pattern in your choice of books? You will, you read what interests you.
This is your starting point. Dig into these interest. You can transform them into a book. For example, my book Tears from the Sea is set in Thailand and off the coast of Myanmar (formerly Burma). My heroine is a sea gypsy whose family dies in the tsunami and she is swept up into the world of human trafficking. Notice how my interests lineup. Exotic setting (travel), tsunami (historical event), human trafficking (human rights violation).
Squash that Negative Voice
After inspiration has struck and you've concluded you would like to write a mystery book about gardening, if a little voice shows up and says, "You can't write a book about gardening, you've never had a garden." I'd like you to squash that little voice. I had too. The little voice came to me and it said, "What do you know about human trafficking? You can't write a book about that."
If I can do it, so can you. DO NOT let this little voice be a creative road block. What you do not know can be learned through research and consulting experts. Venture into the world of the unknown and immerse yourself in pleasure of learning something new. Besides, you never know what you will find, I'm sure you'll discover little gems of information that will help shape your novel's plot.
Your Soul Needs to Eat
Not convinced?! Here's why you should embrace your interests:
1. Writing a book is hard work and requires discipline. As a writer, you will be spending a lot of time alone and in your head. If you're going to embark on this journey you want to enjoy it. How do you do this? You write about something that feeds your soul and, the only way you're going to feed anything is if you're interested in what you are writing. I'll say it again...embrace your interests.
2. If you write about what you are interested in this will become VERY clear in your writing because your passion will shine through. When your creativity is ignited the quality of your work is elevated (Important!).
You've got an idea for a novel, click here for some tips to help you get started.
Happy Writing! What's on your bookshelf?